March 26, 2017, 4:36 pm
It looked as though it was going to be a sour week for the Kings dropping their first two games. However, they bounced back in a big way to close out the week with an impressive win over the Clippers in Los Angeles. One thing is for sure with this group, they are going to be fun and exciting moving forward; the future is bright.
The Kings’ first game of the week came against the Bucks and things didn’t go to plan for Sacramento. A strong second quarter (44-26) helped propel Milwaukee over the Kings with a final score of, 116-98. The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo could not be stopped posting 32 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 40 minutes of action while Greg Monroe shot a tidy 5-of-6 off the bench for the Bucks. Buddy Hield stood out for the Kings with 21 points on 8-of-16 shooting and Tyreke Evans put forth his best efforts dropping 18 points off the bench.
Sacramento had a matchup with familiar foes the Golden State Warriors on Friday but the talent gap was just too large as the Warriors trumped the Kings, 114-110 in Oakland. Steph Curry had one of his better games of the season compiling 27 points, seven rebounds, 12 assists and six steals in 33 minutes. Buddy Hield notched a career-high 22 points with four long-balls while Ty Lawson managed 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting. Skal Labissiere also deserves a mention posting 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in 27 minutes off the bench.
The Kings concluded the week by shocking the Clippers in Los Angeles with a, 98-97 win. Willie Cauley-Stein had the game winner after an offensive rebound and put back with 1.8 seconds remaining; Chris Paul’s shot at the buzzer was too strong. Sacramento erased an 18-point deficit and went on a 22-3 run in the fourth quarter to complete the upset. Overall, this was the best the Kings have played since the All-Star break. Buddy Hield was again a factor dropping 11 points in the fourth quarter. Darren Collison had 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and Anthony Tolliver was superb going 5-of-6 from three.
Takeaway from the week
Despite the fact that they have gone 4-12 since the All-Star break, the Kings’ team chemistry has been shining bright. Even during blowout losses the bench is always on their feetcheering their teammates on. It was on full display in Sunday’s win over the Clippers as down the stretch the whole bench was on their feet for the entirety of the final two minutes and even the coaches were all up, beyond excited during Sacramento’s 22-3 run.
It’s enlightening to see. Those moments alone provide proof as to how ‘together’ this team is despite all they have been through this season. It gives everyone hope and makes people believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel for Kings fans. Sacramento has an unbelievably good young core to build around moving forward, and that talent base is only going to grow larger with the Kings in line to receive two lottery picks in the upcoming NBA Draft this summer. Not to mention the fact that they have oodles of cap space too, but we all know about Sacramento’s troubles recruiting top-tier free agents.
As mentioned earlier, the future is bright for the Sacramento Kings. A core of Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere is exceptional; let’s not forget guys like Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson too. This season has been long and grueling. But it feels different going into the offseason this time around, it finally feels like there is a sense of direction and a solid platform to move forward.
Player Power Rankings
Note: These rankings are based on each player’s performance from this week, not on the entire season.
#1 – Buddy Hield (Last week: #4)
After a brief hiatus Buddy Hield is back at the top. He continues to grow with each game he plays and the game seems to come so easy to him. This week he managed a career-high 22 points against the Golden State Warriors who are undeniably one of the best teams in the league. In three games he averaged 19.3 points on 47.6 percent shooting which is impressive for any player let alone a rookie.
#2 – Willie Cauley-Stein (Last week: #2)
Cauley-Stein continues to be among the Kings’ best players post All-Star break. In three games this week he complied averages of 10.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks on 63.6 percent shooting from the field. As well as scoring the game winner against the Clippers, he also tied his career-high in rebounds with 14.
#3 – Darren Collison (Last week: #8)
He certainly bounced back after his rough week last week. Collison went off against the Clippers dropping 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting. For the week he averaged 14.5 points on 68.8 percent shooting from the field in two games of action. He is one of the veteran leaders on this team and his contributions, as well as his leadership is crucial down the stretch for this young group.
#4 – Garrett Temple (Last week: #3)
It’s an ever so slight drop for Mr. Temple this week but his influence on and off the court remains pivotal. He brings it on defense every night and was a huge factor in holding Jamal Crawford to just 2-of-12 shooting on Sunday. Even if he does struggle offensively his defensive contributions keep him near the top of the rankings each week.
#5 – Anthony Tolliver (Last week: #5)
Tolliver remains at number five this week and he can thank his tremendous performance against the Clippers for that. He recorded 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three and his ability to knock down shots, almost on demand, is what kept the Kings in it. Like Temple and Collison, his veteran presence has been crucial for the Kings since the All-Star break and he has also had a big hand in the development of Skal Labissiere.
#6 – Ty Lawson (Last week: #9)
He only played one game this week but he was exceptional in that one game he played in. As mentioned earlier, Lawson had 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field (2-of-2 from three) in 24 minutes on Friday. Lawson will likely spend some extended time on the sidelines to close out the season due to rest purposes.
#7 – Skal Labissiere (Last week: #1)
Skal free falls down the board a bit this week but he was still decent at times. His most impressive game came against the Warriors where he had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on 5-of-11 shooting. He was decent against the Bucks too but he really struggled matching up against Blake Griffin on Sunday. He went just 1-of-7 from the field for two points and was in foul trouble all night.
#8 – Georgios Papagiannis (Last week: #6)
You could argue that Papa G should be higher, but he was a bit up and down this week. His 12 points, four rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 21 minutes on Sunday was his best outing, especially against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. He continues to block shots at a respectable level to with 1.7 per game this week alone.
#9 – Tyreke Evans (Last week: Injured)
Evans had a great game against the Bucks, but he also had a miserable game against the Clippers so it was a mixed bag for him. He got the start in Los Angeles but managed just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. He looked lethargic at times and disinterested which is probably why he only played 21 minutes on the night. Evans won’t be playing much down the stretch.
#10 – Ben McLemore (Last week: NWT)
McLemore wasn’t with the team last week due to the birth of his first child. When he did see the court he was decent with his most notable game coming against the Warriors where he had 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting. He’s at the edge of the Kings rotation and will likely remain there moving forward, barring injury.
#11 – Arron Afflalo (Last week: NWT)
Afflalo also missed last week due to personal reasons. He played in two games this week and dropped 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting against the Bucks. He may play some solid minutes from time to time but don’t expect too much of him for the remainder of the season.
#12 – Langston Galloway (Last week: #10)
Galloway remains at the bottom this week but he did show his stuff at times. He shot 57.1 percent from three this week which is his only notable stat worth mentioning. One thing is for sure, he isn’t shy to shoot but that’s not necessarily a bad thing at this point in the season.
Injured: Rudy Gay (Achilles) and Malachi Richardson (hamstring).
Not enough minutes: Kosta Koufos.
July 11, 2020, 1:36 amStephen CurryPG, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry was limited to just five games in the 2019-20 season because of a left hand fracture.
Curry was a consensus first-round pick and was set to post some crazy numbers without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson soaking up shots, but an unfortunate injury destroyed the plans for the Warriors and fantasy GMs everywhere. He finished as a top-25/30 per-game player, while his total value landed him around the top-390 mark. Expect Curry to come off draft boards in the first round again next season despite this lost campaign.
July 11, 2020, 1:32 amMarquese ChrissPF, Golden State Warriors
Marquese Chriss revived his career with the Warriors in 2019-20, averaging 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in 20.3 mpg on .545 shooting.
Chriss flashed strong fantasy potential when he was being given minutes as a potential core player for the Suns, but he's been an afterthought since. The injury-riddled Warriors provided Chriss a great proving ground and he may have played his way into their future plans. Following the trade of Willie Cauley-Stein and the perpetual absences for Draymond Green, Chriss was able to string together a handful of weeks as a top-60 option. He might not reach those heights again but there should be no complaints about a top-135 campaign from a player who looked to be on his way out of the league entirely just a year ago.
July 11, 2020, 1:29 amKy BowmanPG, Golden State Warriors
Ky Bowman took advantage of a wave of injuries in Golden State, surpassing all expectations en route to top-225/250 fantasy value (8/9-cat).
Bowman made 45 appearances and 12 starts, largely because so many other Warriors were sidelined. He had a few flirtations with standard-league value when he was the last PG standing but Bowman really didn't do much more than chip in assists. He shot .417 from the field and .308 from deep to go along with 7.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals and 0.7 triples in 22.6 mpg.If Bowman is this fantasy-relevant next year, it'll mean that things have once again gone awry for the Warriors.
July 11, 2020, 12:52 amChasson RandlePG, Golden State Warriors
Chasson Randle made three appearances in the 2019-20 season, averaging 13.5 mpg while on a 10-day contract with the depleted Warriors.
Randle has bounced around the fringes of the league for the last three seasons, and we're expecting to see him pop up in the offseason as a training camp signing next year. He managed top-420/400 value (8/9-cat) thanks to 1.7 assists and 0.7 steals per contest, so needless to say Randle shouldn't be a fantasy target going forward.
July 10, 2020, 11:50 pmKevon LooneyPF-C, Golden State Warriors
In what amounted to a lost season for the Warriors (but not if you factor in the high lottery selection that comes with it), they received little from the likes of Kevon Looney and Draymond Green in the front court.
Looney was never healthy in 2019-20, managing just 20 games and ending with meager averages of 3.4 points and 3.3 boards per contest. It was a similar story with Draymond, as the Warriors finished their season with the worst winning percentage in the league. Looney is on the Warriors' books for one more season in 2020-21, the end of a three-year pact he signed prior to the 2018-19 season. He's going to cost them about $5 million and a trade or a buyout is possible, especially if the Warriors opt to select a big man in the draft. Looney's days of fantasy relevance have come and gone, as he ranked 360th in 9-cat on a per-game basis.
July 10, 2020, 11:22 pmJuan Toscano-AndersonPF, Golden State Warriors
Juan Toscano-Anderson made his NBA debut this season for the Warriors after much of their depth was traded to the T-Wolves prior to the deadline in February.
Toscano-Anderson unfortunately sprained his ankle during the Warriors' final game of the season on March 10, but prior to that he had played significant minutes for the team in February and March. He spent most of the season in the G League with Santa Cruz. There's no telling whether or not he will be on the Warriors in 2020-21, but he has no fantasy appeal moving forward, wherever that may be.
July 10, 2020, 10:56 pmDraymond GreenPF, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green battled through an injury-plagued season in 2019-20, managing 43 games and finishing with per-game averages of 8.0 PTS, 6.2 REB, 6.2 AST, 1.4 STL and 0.8 BLK in 28.4 MPG.
Green's heart, which everyone knows is a key part of his game, simply wasn't in it this year in the wake of yearlong injuries to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson and the departure of superstar Kevin Durant to the Nets. He put up Draymond-like numbers when he was on the floor, but head coach Steve Kerr opted to sit him any chance he got as Green dealt with a multitude of injuries of his own. On the fantasy side, Green finished 78th in 8-cat and should regain most of his old form when the Warriors' depleted roster is replenished for 2020-21. Look for him to get back to 100 percent as his extended layoff continues.
July 10, 2020, 10:43 pmDragan BenderPF, Golden State Warriors
Dragan Bender played 16 games for the Warriors in 2019-20 prior to the league wide shutdown and performed quite well (averaging 9.0 points, 5.9 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.2 threes in his nine most recent outings) in the absence of both Draymond Green and Kevon Looney.
This solid play included a 23-point, seven rebound effort in what turned out to be the Warriors' final game of the season on March 10, a 131-107 drubbing at the hands of the Clippers. Blowout losses like that were a common sight for the Warriors this year, as they closed out the season with the worst record in the NBA. Bender was in the middle of a second 10-day deal with the Warriors when the COVID-19 pandemic paused the sports world, so it remains to be seen if he is in their plans for 2020-21. Conventional wisdom would lead one to believe it is unlikely the Warriors bring back Bender, but crazier things have happened and it is impossible to forecast the Warriors' 2020-21 roster at this juncture.
July 10, 2020, 10:09 pmJordan PoolePG, Golden State Warriors
Rookie guard Jordan Poole played 57 games for the Warriors this season, averaging 8.8 PTS, 2.1 REB, 2.4 AST and 1.3 threes in 22.3 minutes per contest.
This is more NBA action than the Warriors would have liked Poole to get during his rookie year and they probably hoped he'd be able to get more run in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors. That's still a possibility, as the return of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry and the extensions of fellow guards Damion Lee and Mychal Mulder make it likely that Poole will see time with Santa Cruz in 2020-21. Poole was a late first-round pick of the Warriors out of Michigan just last summer.
July 10, 2020, 9:50 pmAlen SmailagicPF, Golden State Warriors
19-year-old Serbian rookie Alen Smailagic (6-foot-10, 215 pounds) played 14 games during his rookie season, averaging 4.2 points and 1.9 boards in 9.9 minutes per game.
The production from the young Serbian this season (383rd in 9-cat) wasn't important to the Warriors for development reasons and he spent the majority of the season in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors anyway. The Warriors will definitely play it slow with Smailagic, but his name is one to know moving forward.