It wasn’t always pretty, but the Kings opened their preseason schedule with a victory Monday evening at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix. The youth movement was on full display as no player over the age of 25 stepped foot on the floor for Sacramento in the 106-102 win over the Phoenix Suns.
Newcomer Yogi Ferrell led the way for the Kings, knocking down six three-pointers on his way to a game-high 26 points. Willie Cauley-Stein went for a double-double and Harry Giles III added 14 points, six rebounds and three assists before fouling out.
No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton dropped in 24 points and 10 rebounds in his preseason debut for Phoenix. Josh Jackson added 17, while T.J. Warren went for 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting off the Suns bench.
Here are three takeways from Sacramento's win.
Go big or go home
The Kings have a ton of bigs and Dave Joerger is going to use them. He went to a three big lineup in the middle of the first quarter, turning to rookie Marvin Bagley III to play some small forward. And then Joerger took it to the next level.
Unconventional. Crazy. Fun. Joerger turned to a lineup featuring point guard Frank Mason with Bagley, Giles, Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere. He didn’t stay with the group long, but the fact that he would even try the experiment is saying something.
Go with what you got.
Put your money where your mouth is
Cauley-Stein made headlines with his “I’m ready to get paid,” statement during media day. Monday in Phoenix, he took the first step to making that a reality. The fourth-year pro out of Kentucky posted 14 points and a team-high 12 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. He turned the ball over a few times and let rookie Deandre Ayton get loose, but these are the types of numbers that earn the big bucks.
One preseason game down, 5 more to go ... plus an additional 82 regular season games. Getting paid will take consistency.
The plan this season is to push the tempo and take full advantage of the team’s youth. In the preseason opener, point guard De’Aaron Fox hit the gas pedal and the bench combo of Ferrell and Mason didn’t let up when they came in the game. Fox finished the evening with 12 points and five assists. Ferrell chipped in 26 points on 6-for-9 shooting from long range and Mason added 11 and three assists in the win.
If the Kings are going to succeed this season, they need their point guards to push the tempo all night, every night.