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


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


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.

Legal experts explain why Luke Walton's accuser didn't speak to investigators


Legal experts explain why Luke Walton's accuser didn't speak to investigators

The NBA and the Sacramento Kings announced Friday the conclusion of their joint investigation into former Los Angeles TV reporter Kelli Tennant's allegations of improper sexual conduct against coach Luke Walton. 

In a press release sent by the Kings, the investigation found insufficient evidence to support Tennant's claims against Walton and the case is considered closed unless new evidence becomes available.

The Kings said that Tennant, through her counsel, chose not to participate in the investigation, despite numerous attempts.

But legal experts told the Sacramento Bee they weren't surprised Tennant and her legal team declined to sit down with investigators. 

“Lawyers generally don’t like it when their clients tell their stories multiple times,” Northwestern University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer said. “I’m not surprised she decided to opt out.

Laura Beth Nielsen, a sociologist and legal expert at Northwestern who has studied the #MeToo movement also wasn't surprised. Nielsen says independent investigations of sexual harassment and assault cases by big companies such as the NBA have a reputation of taking sides of the employee. 

Nielsen described it as "a sort of circle the wagons, we want to have a defensive posture." 

According to the Kings, more than 20 individuals, including Walton, were interviewed during the course of the joint investigation, which was led by Sue Ann Van Dermyden, from the Sacramento law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, and Elizabeth Maringer, senior vice president and assistant general counsel of the NBA.

Tennant, at an April news conference, said that Walton sexually assaulted her at a hotel room in Santa Monica when he was then an assistant coach on the Warriors. 

Walton has denied the allegations. 

“I am 100% focused on coaching the Sacramento Kings, and energized to work with this incredible group of players and coaches as we start the preseason,” Walton said in a statement. "I will have no further comment."

Kings' Harrison Barnes makes final Team USA roster for FIBA World Cup

Kings' Harrison Barnes makes final Team USA roster for FIBA World Cup

Team USA will feature one member of the Sacramento Kings after all in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, as the final roster was made official Saturday.

Both Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox were among the finalists before both withdrew, citing a need to prepare for the 2019-20 NBA season. 

Barnes has competed for Team USA before, as he was part of the national team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

There is, however, one more Northern California connection on the World Cup roster. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown played his one season of college hoops at Cal.

This team is a far cry from the initial roster projections, as just about every marquee player offered the chance to play seemed to withdraw from consideration due to injury or desire to rest, as the tournament will end just a few weeks before the start of NBA training camps.

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Barnes has started two of the three games during Team USA’s training trip in Australia, which included the program’s first international loss in more than a decade Friday night. 

Even with so many great players declining the opportunity to represent the Red, White, and Blue in the World Cup, Team USA is still favored, so look for Barnes to be bringing back some hardware to Sacramento.