Kings

Ty Lawson practices with Kings on Monday after 'personal issue'

Ty Lawson practices with Kings on Monday after 'personal issue'

SACRAMENTO -- When the media doors opened to the Kings practice facility at the new Golden 1 Center Monday afternoon, point guard Ty Lawson was on the floor with his teammates. It’s been a rocky 72 hours for the 28-year-old after he missed a team flight to Kentucky, but he’s survived for the moment and will remain part of the Kings roster.

“Ty had a personal issue and that stuff is non-basketball related,” coach Dave Joerger said.

“There is no situation,” Joerger continued. “It’s in my hands. The decisions that were made of the plane and all that stuff, that’s on me. It’s a personal issue, I think has been very inaccurately reported.”

Lawson, who has a history of off the court issues, was brought in late during the offseason to support one of the soft spots in the Kings roster. Starter Darren Collison is scheduled to miss the first eight games of the 2016-17 season due to league suspension.

While it’s a minor distraction during the preseason, it appears that Lawson’s teammates are ready to support him and move forward.

“It’s a family situation, this is a family and when you say family in the huddle, you don’t just mean it, you’ve got to show it,” veteran Matt Barnes said. “He’s going through stuff right now off the court. I reached out to him because I’ve been through everything off the court personally. We’ve been talking a lot lately and this is something we’re going to help him get through because he’s a very important member of this team. Family is most important for us and we realize that sometimes it’s bigger than basketball.”

After six successful seasons in Denver, Lawson bounced around the league last season, playing 53 games for the Houston Rockets before getting waived late in the year. He joined the Indiana Pacers for the final 13 contests of the year and even made seven playoff appearances.

Known for his speed and quickness, the Kings have been optimistic throughout camp that Lawson can start in Collison’s absence and provide a major spark off the bench once Collison returns.

Fresh off a 3-year, $35 million contract, Lawson was signed to a non-guaranteed, league minimum contract with Sacramento. The Kings have policies in place for situations like this, but according to general manager Vlade Divac, the code of conduct is team wide, not specific to Lawson.

“It’s a team policy, you can’t just create one policy for one guy,” Divac said following Monday’s practice. “Everybody has to be a pro. Everybody has to behave the way we would like to represent this organization. So that’s how we are going to move forward.”

According to the Kings, “We have made it clear to all our players and employees that there are standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization - on and off the court.”

While Divac said Lawson wouldn’t be suspended by the team, he left the door open for a possible fine by the team. Lawson’s explanation to team officials has extended his stay with the team, at least for now.

The Kings roster remains at 18 players, with cuts expected later this week to get to the league maximum of 15. Four players, including Lawson, opened camp in a battle for the lone remaining roster spot. Before his latest indiscretion, Lawson was considered a lock to not only come out of camp with the team, but to play a major role for the retooled roster.

Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III 'gets it' in early part of first NBA season

Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III 'gets it' in early part of first NBA season

The Kings didn't have many bright spots in Tuesday night's loss to the Denver Nuggets, but rookie big man Marvin Bagley III was one of them.

The No. 2 overall pick in June's draft scored a game-high -- and new career-high -- 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting on Tuesday. Seven of those points came in the fourth quarter as Denver rested its starters, but Bagley still played a game-high 32 minutes. It was just the second time he's crossed the 30-minute threshold in four NBA games. 

"Every chance I get to be on the court and learn, I'm taking that," Bagley told reporters in Denver on Tuesday. "I can't take it for granted. I gotta give it my all every time I step out on the floor, no matter what the score is. I love playing this game, and I think I'd be cheating myself if I didn't go as hard as I possibly could. ... That's just my mindset going into every game."

That mindset impressed his coach. Dave Joerger said in his postgame presser that Bagley has responded well to instruction in the early days of his career, and has the right attitude. 

"He's a talented guy, fun to coach," Joerger said. "He's playing -- we're down 20, he's out there. He gets it. Whatever time that was, he loves being out there, and I really respect that about him. ... He loves every minute that he gets out there, and I think that's really cool." 

Sacramento is likely in for quite a few nights like Tuesday. Vegas oddsmakers set the Kings' over/under on wins at 25.5 this season, the lowest in the NBA.

If his first four games are any indication, Bagley will still embrace the opportunity. 

Kings takeaways: Three things we learned in 126-112 loss to Nuggets

Kings takeaways: Three things we learned in 126-112 loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Never in doubt. The Kings walked into Denver, and looked every bit the part of a young team searching for an identity. The Nuggets didn’t help with that search, running over the Kings for a 126-112 victory to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Denver’s starting backcourt of Gary Harris and Jamal Murray torched the Kings for a combined 37 points in just under 45 minutes of action. Nikola Jokic was on his way to a triple-double before sitting out the fourth quarter.

Sacramento struggled, but there were a few encouraging performances. Marvin Bagley, Justin Jackson and Frank Mason all gave the team a spark off the bench, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Here are three takeaways as the Kings fall to 1-3 on the season. 

Deplorable defense

The Nuggets are really good, but the Kings made them look like contenders. Denver attacked Sacramento’s interior defense, and the visiting team had no answer. 

With Jokic running the show, the Nuggets dismantled the Kings, shooting 52 percent from the field and 37.9 percent from long range. The numbers would have been even worse if the Nuggets hadn’t gone to the bench for the entire fourth quarter. 

Justin Jackson sighting 

After struggling in the Kings’ first two games, Justin Jackson has looked more comfortable coming off of coach Dave Joerger’s bench. He posted a solid 11-point, five-rebound, three-assist night against the Thunder on Sunday and he built off of that game Tuesday in Denver.

Jackson drilled 3-for-5 from long range on his way to 17 points. He looked confident with his shot and was one of very few bright spots in an otherwise rough performance by Sacramento. 

Bagley building

Being a rookie isn’t easy, but Bagley is taking each game as an opportunity to improve. The 19-year-old big scored 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting and added nine rebounds and three assists on the evening.

In addition to putting up strong offensive numbers, Bagley blocked five shots. He’s a work in progress on the defensive end, but he’s shown that he can be a rim protector, especially in one-on-one situations.