SACRAMENTO -- Three down, three to go. After a drubbing at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings look to get back on the winning track during the exhibition season. They’ll face Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli Liga Leumit team, hungry to make an impression.
The Kings are trying to find their way. They have youth and talent, but they need it all to come together quickly. They’ve had a few bright moments through three games, but they’ve also had issues on both ends of the court.
Maccabi Haifa comes to Golden 1 Center with a familiar name. Former Stanford Cardinal and NBA wing, Josh Childress, highlights the roster. The 35-year-old hasn’t played in the league since 2014, but has just under $40 million in career earnings stateside.
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Here are three things to watch as the Kings attempt to put on a show in front of their home crowd.
The Kings looked bad against Golden State. They struggled to defend and they shot just 34.7 percent from the field. Finding consistency is a very difficult task for a young player to learn. When you throw a dozen or so young players together, chaos often ensues.
Maccabi Haifa isn’t exactly a world beater. The Kings have an opportunity to work on their execution and Dave Joerger can continue to experiment with his roster. The plan is to get out and run on every possession. That doesn’t mean that they can forget about defending on the other end.
With guard Bogdan Bogdanovic sitting out, the Kings need Buddy Hield to take a huge leap in his production. This is his third season in the league. He’s an elite shooter and projects as a high-end scorer.
So far in the preseason, Hield has struggled in two of the three games. His defense against Klay Thompson wasn’t starter level. If the Kings are going to compete this season, Hield has to bring it, at least until Bogdanovic returns.
Feed the bigs
So far, Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III have impressed. Giles is second on the team in scoring at 15 points per game and he’s third in rebounding with six boards a night. The Duke product has struggled to stay out of foul trouble, but that’s typical of a young player.
Bagley is up and down, but he’s fourth on the team in scoring with 11.3 points per game and his 7.3 rebounds a night rank second behind Willie Cauley-Stein.
At some point, these two are going to need to carry more of the load. The coaching staff should test them by running the offense through one or the other on each play. It’s not an easy task, but if these two are the future, force them to perform.