Kings

NBA Gameday: Rudy Gay 'a go' vs Clippers; Chris Paul likely to play

NBA Gameday: Rudy Gay 'a go' vs Clippers; Chris Paul likely to play

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings return to their home floor trying to wash the taste of Wednesday’s embarrassing 107-102 loss to an injury riddled Miami Heat team. They face a Clippers team that is struggling with injury woes as well, but they are hoping for the return of All-Star Chris Paul after a four-game absence.

Los Angeles is without All-Star power forward Blake Griffin for a few more weeks after another injury setback. Griffin has missed 10 straight after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in mid-December and the Clippers have struggled to a 4-6 record without him.

Veteran forward Rudy Gay has missed four straight and 10-of-11 games with a right hip flexor strain, but it appears he’s ready to make a return to the court.

“I’m going today, I’m a go,” Gay told CSN California as he left the floor and headed back to the team’s locker room.

Gay, 30, has played in 24 of the Kings’ 35 games this season, posting 18.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in 33.6 minutes a night.

OPENING LINE

Clippers by 3

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Kings shooting guards vs. J.J. Redick -- Redick is a nice complimentary player against most teams, but he seems to find a way to hurt the Kings every time these two teams play. Ben McLemore has started 14 of the last 15 games for Dave Joerger at the shooting guard position, but he’s scored in double figures just once over that stretch and he was benched during the second half of the Kings loss to Miami. Afflalo has had a nice resurgence over the last two games, but the answer might be veteran Garrett Temple who is the best defender of the lot. If Redick gets loose, this could be a long night for Sacramento.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 15-20, fourth place in Pacific

Clippers: 24-14, second place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SF Rudy Gay (right hip flexor) listed as questionable, but he told CSN California that he intends to play.

Clippers: PG Chris Paul (hamstring) is likely to play, PF Blake Griffin (knee) out,  F Brice Johnson (back) out.

SERIES HISTORY

The Clippers lead the season series 1-0 after dispatching the Kings 121-115 at Golden 1 Center on Nov. 18. During the Sacramento-era, the Kings hold a 69-64 advantage and they lead the Clippers 113-87 all-time.

QUOTE

“I’m very disappointed, the most disappointed I’ve been this season. This is a game we have to win. After a big game in Denver to get that eight seed and then come in here against a decimated Miami Heat team that’s coming on a back-to-back as well - so that’s no excuse. This is a game we have to get. We’ve just got to get it. We can’t lose games like this. I just hope it doesn’t come back to bite us.” - Garrett Temple following the Kings’ loss to the Heat

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic re-injures left knee, needs another procedure

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Associated Press

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic re-injures left knee, needs another procedure

SACRAMENTO -- After a week of speculation, the verdict on Kings shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic’s knee is in.

For the second time this offseason, the Serbian is heading for a procedure on his left knee after an MRI revealed a minor injury. The timetable for his return is unknown at this time.

Bogdanovic re-injured his knee Monday while playing for the Serbian national team in World Cup qualifying. He felt discomfort in the knee during the first quarter against Estonia and left the game early. Once Bogdanovic was back in Sacramento, the Kings medical staff evaluated the 26-year-old wing this week and determined that action was needed.

According to the Kings, Monday’s procedure will be performed by Dr. Riley Williams in New York, and Bogdanovic is expected to make a full recovery. The team will send an update when more is known.

Bogdanovic averaged 11.8 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game for Sacramento in his rookie NBA season.

Zach Randolph: Kings training camp profile

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USATSI

Zach Randolph: Kings training camp profile

No one was more consistent on the offensive end for Sacramento than Zach Randolph last season. He fought back father time as long as possible and then finished the season as a spectator when the Kings went young.

Nothing is guaranteed in season two as a King for Randolph. The 37-year-old forward cashed in with the Kings, signing a two-year, $24 million deal in 2017. He’s owed $11.7 million this season, making him difficult to move via trade.  

The Kings plan to go young this year from the opening tip. That doesn’t bode well for Z-Bo, who is nearly twice the age of Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles III. 

Strengths

Randolph is a legendary tough guy that brings a grit and a personality to the floor. As he’s advanced as a player, he’s focused more on his perimeter game, extending all the way to the 3-point line where he shot an impressive 34.7 percent last season. 

Still a reliable scorer in the post, the Kings turned to the 17-year NBA veteran on countless occasions last season to help steady the ship. Randolph shot 63 percent at the rim and 50.9 percent inside of 10 feet last season. 

While he struggles to get off the floor, Randolph still managed to post 9.5 rebounds per 36 minutes last season by positioning and using his strength on the blocks.

On the defensive side of the ball, Randolph’s physical limitations hurt the team in transition and against quicker players. He can still hold his position in the post, but as a defender, he’s not a great option.

Weaknesses

The Kings went out and drafted a Ferrari to play the point guard and then paired him with a mack truck. Randolph is too slow to play in the uptempo offense the team hopes to transition to this season and would be better suited playing for a team that place a more methodical half court game.

As his game has moved away from the basket, Randolph’s field goal percentage and free throw attempts have steadily declined. He posted 2.2 assists per game last season, which is well above his career average, but he’s not a natural passer. 

Father time is undefeated. Randolph is stationary on both ends of the court. He can still score in bunches and get a rebound when you need it, but he can’t defend more athletic fours.

Path to Improvement

There is no way to turn back the hands of time. By adding the 3-point shot, Randolph extended his NBA career for few extra seasons, but even that has its limitations. 

The only path for improvement this season for Randolph is taking on an even larger role as a leader and locker room influence behind the scenes. With a fleet of young bigs, the Kings need Randolph to become more of a coach than a player and help teach the ins and outs of being a professional and the finer nuances of NBA post play. 

Projection

This is a complex situation. If the primary focus was just on wins, Randolph could still play 18-20 minutes per game and put up numbers. The Kings are going to run and gun and it’s hard to imagine Z-Bo keeping up. 

Bagley, Giles and Willie Cauley-Stein are the future and the present. Nemanja Bjelica fits the role of stretch four and Skal Labissiere is going to need some minutes as well. It’s a crowded front line and we haven’t even mentioned veteran Kosta Koufos. 

Z-Bo started 57 games and played 25.6 minutes per night last season for Dave Joerger. It would be shocking to see that again this year. Things can change, but Randolph’s court time should be limited this offseason barring a series of injuries or a complete collapse of scheme.