Kings

Response to adversity opens Kings, Golden 1 Center to national conversation

Response to adversity opens Kings, Golden 1 Center to national conversation

SACRAMENTO -- Gavin Maloof once described a potential downtown Sacramento arena as “a beacon of light, shining bright.” Vivek Ranadivé likened the idea of Golden 1 Center as the modern town square, cathedral or communal hearth.

On Friday, Ranadivé might have finally found the best way to describe his $500-plus million arena in the center of Sacramento’s downtown core. Speaking to the Sacramento Bee, Ranadivé said, "you can't always dictate what the stories are that are being told around the fireplace."

Thousands of protesters surrounded Ranadivé’s fireplace on Thursday evening. They locked arms and barred fans from coming in the building as the Kings faced the Atlanta Hawks.

In one night, Golden 1 Center was transformed from the home of the Kings, to something much more. It became the meeting place for the protesters to vent their frustrations after the officer-involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, a 22-year-old African American from South Sacramento.

The Kings’ first reaction was to protect the fans that had entered the building. They locked down the arena and cleared everyone from the massive windows that highlight the grand entrance. The limited number of fans allowed in the building were treated to seat upgrades and unlimited free food.

After securing the safety of the fans inside, the team chose a specific course of action. Instead of pointing fingers at protesters who likely cost the franchise hundreds of thousands of dollars, they allowed Golden 1 Center to become the heart of Sacramento.

It’s not always going to be about basketball or concerts or Disney on Ice. For Golden 1 Center to become what Ranadivé envisions, it has to be a place for everyone.

Instead of shunning the protest and turning their ire towards the thousands outside, Ranadivé had his defining moment, not just as an owner, but as a leader in the Sacramento community.

“The Kings recognize your people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that,” Ranadivé said from center court. “We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand before you; old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment.”

His postgame speech was humble and showed a different side of the Kings’ Chairman. It was also a moment for the franchise to become part of a larger conversation that is facing nearly every community in America.

To turn a blind eye to social injustice and civil unrest would violate the spirit of what Golden 1 Center was created for. If it is truly the fireplace of Sacramento, then there has to be an open invitation - not just for basketball, and not just for protests, but for all that a community has to give.

The Kings aren’t asking for games to be interrupted on a regular basis. But the team’s handling of the situation has opened the door for Golden 1 Center to become the communal meeting place they hoped it would be when they broke ground.

Kings' Harry Giles goes off for 30 points in G League debut for Stockton

Kings' Harry Giles goes off for 30 points in G League debut for Stockton

With minutes tough to come by, the Kings sent rookie Harry Giles III to Stockton to get some reps with the team’s G League affiliate. He debuted Sunday afternoon, and put on a show.

The 20-year-old big scored 30 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including 2 for 3 from 3-point range. In his 23 minutes of play, he added four rebounds, two assists and a steal in Stockton’s 120-106 loss to the Agua Caliente Clippers.

Giles struggled with foul trouble early, picking up three of his four personals in the first half. He also turned the ball over three times, but it was an otherwise solid first showing. 

After sitting out last season, Giles has struggled to find a home in the rotation this season in Sacramento. Lost in a crowded frontcourt that includes Nemanja Bjelica, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos and rookie Marvin Bagley III, Giles posted 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game in his first nine appearances this season. 

One positive, three negatives from Kings' 101-86 loss to Lakers

One positive, three negatives from Kings' 101-86 loss to Lakers

It wasn’t pretty. Not at all. The Kings couldn’t hit a shot on their home court. They looked taxed mentally and in the end, the fell to the Los Angeles Lakers by a final of 101-86 on Saturday night. 

De’Aaron Fox continued his breakout sophomore season, but there wasn’t a whole lot else to like as the Kings stumbled in front of their home crowd.

Sacramento currently stand at 7-6 on the season after the loss to LA.

Here is one positives and three negatives from the game. 

POSITIVES

Swipa The Snipa

Coming into the league, there was concerns about Fox’s ability to shoot from the perimeter. He’s done a nice job of quieting those conversations early in Year Two.

Against the Lakers, Fox attacked the rim on multiple occasions, but his shooting from long range kept the Kings in the game during the first half. 

Fox knocked down 3-of-6 from deep and is now shooting 41 percent from 3-point range on the season. He shot with confidence and was one of the few Kings players to put the ball in the bucket. 

On the evening, Fox scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebound in the loss. This was the seventh time this season that Fox has cracked the 20-point plateau. He managed the feet just five times in 73 games as a rookie. 

NEGATIVES

Dribble, Dribble, Dribble

When the Kings are at their best, they move the ball all over the court and find the open man. That is not the style of basketball they played against the Lakers. 

The Kings over dribbled and tried to play hero ball all evening. The results showed up in the box score. Not only did the Kings’ offense come to a complete standstill, but they finished the night with just 11 assists and 19 turnovers.

The ball got sticky and it cost the team any chance of coming away with a win. The issue looks like an anomaly. Sacramento came into the night third in the league in assists per game at 25.5. 

Either the Lakers figured out some magic pill to stop the Kings’ ball movement or the home team had a rare bad night on the offensive end. 

Bricks

The Kings haven't had any issue putting the ball through the hoop this season, until Saturday evening at Golden 1 Center. Coach Dave Joerger pointed to mental fatigue following the game and he’s likely on to something.

Against a sub-par defensive team, Sacramento’s ball movement came to a standstill. They forced shots, over dribbled and turned the ball over. 

On the evening, the Kings shot just 34.8 percent from the field and 24 percent from long range. They turned the ball over 19 times and scored a season-low 86 points. 

This wasn’t the brand of basketball that the Kings have played through the first few weeks of the regular season. 

Cold night

Buddy Hield has been played extremely well to start the season, but he struggled against the Lakers. He managed to post 12 points and added four rebounds in 25 minutes of action, but he struggled to hit a shot.

Known for his ability to knock down a shot, Hield hit just 3-of-17 from the field against LA. The Lakers' length on the perimeter appeared to bother the Kings’ leading scorer.

Even when Hield found open looks from the perimeter, they clanged iron. Hield came into the game a 45.5 percent shooter from behind the arc, but hit just 1-of-6 from 3-point range in the loss.