Kings

Three takeaways from Kings' 128-123 preseason loss to Lakers

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USATSI

Three takeaways from Kings' 128-123 preseason loss to Lakers

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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.

Kings vs. Mavericks live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

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NBC Sports Bay Area staff

Kings vs. Mavericks live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

The Kings will continue on the road as they face the Mavericks in Dallas on Sunday evening. 

The Kings (15-13) have a bit of a battle ahead of them with the Mavs riding major success at home (13-2) and there is the return of Dirk Nowitzki. 

But, there's De'Aaron Fox who has been sensational. He's coming off a strong performance during the 130-125 loss to the Warriors on Friday finishing with 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and two steals.

Here's how you can watch Kings-Mavericks, as well as NBC Sports California's pregame and postgame coverage, live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 4 p.m. PT on Sunday, Dec. 16 (pregame show starts at 3:30 p.m.)
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app

Was Marvin Bagley over Luka Doncic right for Kings? NBA exec weighs in

Was Marvin Bagley over Luka Doncic right for Kings? NBA exec weighs in

Sunday was supposed to be the day that fans got to see Marvin Bagley III and Luka Doncic on the same court for the first time.

That notion was derailed by a knee injury to the Kings’ rookie big man, so all eyes will be on Doncic instead.

Bagley and Doncic likely will be mentioned together throughout their careers. The Kings passed on Doncic with the second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, choosing Bagley over the European phenom.

Drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the third overall selection, Doncic was dealt to Dallas on draft night for the rights to Trae Young and a future first-round pick.

Doncic is off to a great start in his rookie season, ranking second on the Mavs in scoring per game at 17.8. He’s a high basketball-IQ player who’s acting as Dallas’ primary ball-handler when he’s on the court.

Why the Kings passed on Doncic has been asked and answered quite a few times. Vlade Divac and his group believe Bagley is a player with a higher ceiling than Doncic. 

Sacramento’s front office also believed Bagley was a better fit for the team they have assembled, and they were comfortable taking the gamble on the 6-foot-11 big out of Duke.

Speaking to a rival NBA executive who had Doncic rated higher on his draft board than Bagley, he can see why the Kings made the move they did. 

This exec has been impressed with Bagley’s ability to get off the floor, and his second jump is even better than advertised. Coming into the draft process, the exec had concerns over Bagley’s defense, but he now believes that aspect of the evaluation process might have been overblown.

He likes the way Bagley moves in a crowd and the way he aggressively gets to a spot. He sees a bright future for the Kings’ rookie.

When evaluating Doncic, the executive says he still loves what he sees. He had the Slovenian-born guard as his No. 2 overall prospect.

He also agrees that Doncic might not have been a great fit with the Kings. With De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic already on the roster, adding another ball-dominant player might not have worked. 

The two will be linked for a long time, and it’s too early to tell who will have a better career. Doncic is off to a great start, but his experience playing overseas had him better prepared to step into the league and perform. 

As a big, Bagley likely will take a year or two longer to fully develop, but his size, speed and athleticism are elite, and he has star potential.