SACRAMENTO -- Who doesn’t like a good track meet? The Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards both pushed the tempo and hoisted a bunch of 3-pointers Friday evening at Golden 1 Center.
In an entertaining display of offense, the Kings came out on top by a final of 116-112. The loss dropped the Wizards to 1-4 on the season and if their post game comments are any measure, they are in complete disarray.
Sacramento is enjoying some early season success. With the win, the Kings improved to 3-3 on the season and they are carrying some momentum into a four-game road trip beginning Monday in Miami.
Here are two positives and two negatives as the Kings climbed back to .500 in a win over the Wizards.
It’s hard not to like what you are seeing from Nemanja Bjelica. The 30-year-old Serbian is one of the few veterans getting floor time for the Kings and through the first six games with the team, he’s been an unexpected surprise.
Against Washington, Bjelica went off from long range, knocking down 6-of-10 from behind the arc on his way to 26 points. He’s not the most athletic player, but he understands the game and seems to always be in the right spot.
The former Minnesota Timberwolve added 12 rebounds, giving him back-to-back double-doubles. On the season, he is now averaging 13.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and three assists in 26.3 minutes as the Kings’ starting power forward.
He’s also shooting 60.8 percent from the field and an incredible 57.1 percent from 3-point range on 3.5 attempts per game. His true shooting percentage is 73.7 and he’s posting an offensive rating of 141 versus a defensive rating of 110.
Don’t overlook Buddy
The Kings are young, exciting and on plenty of occasions, completely out of control. While De’Aaron Fox and Willie Cauley-Stein are being lauded for their breakout performances, third-year guard, Buddy Hield, is having a very nice start to the season as well.
Hield scored 22 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out a pair of assists in 35 minutes. With Fox in early foul trouble, Hield even played some point guard on offense and was asked to defend the speedy John Wall on the defensive end.
The early returns are good on Hield. He’s averaging 17.2 points and five rebounds in 30.5 minutes a night. He’s shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point range and 50 percent from the field overall.
Buddy’s being asked to do a lot right now with Bogdan Bogdanovic on the shelf. With Bogi scheduled to return after the four game road trip, Hield’s role will shift, but his production might even improve.
The Kings are running and gunning and it’s a lot of fun to watch. They also lose focus on occasion and make mistakes. Against the Wizards, Sacramento turned the ball over 19 times as team, which led to 19 points for the Wizards.
In a growing trend, rookie Marvin Bagley struggled with the turnover bug, giving it away a team-high five times. Most of his turnovers were on travel calls and the replays confirmed the mistakes. He’s given the ball away 14 times over the last four games, which is a big number for a post player.
The 19-year-old old big still managed to score 11 points, grab eight rebounds and block a shot in 23 minutes of action, but he has to do a better job of taking care of the ball.
Production at the wing
Consistently inconsistent. The tandem of Justin Jackson and Iman Shumpert have been all over the board so far this season. One night, Shumpert will hit for 26, the next game, Jackson is dropping in 17 points.
Against the Wizards, neither player could find the basket. Shumpert started and played 17 minutes after missing the previous game with a hip issue. He went scoreless during his time on the court, misfiring on all four of his shot attempts. He managed to grab six rebounds and block a shot.
Jackson shot 1-of-7 from behind the 3-point line, mostly on wide open looks. Fox is getting his shooters clean attempts, players like Jackson and Shumpert need to knock them down. On the plus side, Jackson grabbed five rebounds, dished out a pair of assists and finished with two steals in 29 minutes off the bench.