Who are these Kings? It’s only preseason, but Sacramento’s young core looks like they are ready to compete, despite every NBA expert betting against them.
Against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday evening, the Kings gave a gritty performance, but struggled to manufacture points late as coach Dave Joerger turned to a group of NBA hopefuls. The end result was a 128-123 loss on the Staples Center floor. With the defeat, the Kings now sit at 1-1 in the exhibition season.
There is a lot to like from the Kings’ first two games of the preseason schedule. They push the tempo and show plenty of promise. They’ll be tested again Friday evening when they play on the second night of a back-to-back in Seattle against the Golden State Warriors.
Here are three quick takeaways from the game...
De'Aaron Fox is ready to take a leap
No disrespect to LeBron James, but the Kings’ second-year point guard was the best player on the floor. He dominated early, hitting his first four shots, including a pair of triples.
Fox played defense, pushed the tempo on his way to a 18-point, five-assist game in just 17 minutes. Joerger sat him in the second half to give Frank Mason and Kalin Lucas a longer look.
There has been a buzz in Sacramento about Fox’s development. He’s looked great all summer and appear ready to take a huge leap in year two.
More Harry Giles, please
The Kings have a pair of rookie ready to make a splash. Giles put on a show for Sacramento, running the floor, hitting the jumper and feeding the no-look pass.
Joerger is going to fight the urge to play this kid major minutes early. By mid-season, he’ll give in and let the former No. 1 overall prep prospect run wild.
Giles scored 14 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out three assists. For the second straight game, the 6-foot-10 center fouled out, but that is to be expected as he works himself back into playing shape.
We have a Marvin Bagley sighting
Bagley struggled to make an impact in his first preseason game, but that wasn’t the case against the Lakers. The 19-year-old stepped up on the big stage, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and a block in 32 minutes.
Bagley is getting comfortable, which is good for Sacramento. He’s a player that can make a tremendous impact without having the coaching staff run a bunch of plays run for him.
It’s early, but Bagley’s confidence is growing. He has yet to see major court time with Fox, which could be a very interesting duo long term for the Kings.