February 11, 2018, 1:21 pm
Sacramento will have a tough task in front of them Sunday night when they try to snap a 12-game losing streak at the Target Center.
The Kings will be somewhat familiar with the Wolves’ roster from their matchup against them in mid-December. Minnesota won that game decisively, but the Kings will head into tonight’s game with a much different looking group.
Sacramento is in the process of handing more responsibility to their younger players, and while the inexperience will certainly hurt them against a team as good as the Wolves, their athleticism will make them a pesky group to deal with.
De’Aaron Fox had some struggles guarding Damian Lillard in his last game, but his play in recent weeks has been encouraging to say the least. Fox is starting to use his speed to his advantage on a more regular basis and figures to be a tough matchup for Jeff Teague.
One of the key concerns Sunday will be handling the Wolves’ frontcourt. The size of Karl-Anthony Towns and Taj Gibson will be a clear advantage, and Gorgui Dieng gives Tom Thibodeau a similarly-physical player to utilize as a backup.
Willie Cauley-Stein will be the player tasked with stopping Towns, and while he is the team’s best candidate to do so he was not able to contain him in their last matchup. If Cauley-Stein is locked in defensively, the Kings will have a much better chance to steal a win.
The Kings will also be working with much less depth than they had a few weeks ago. There had been an opportunity in past matchups to exploit the fact that Thibodeau plays his key players heavy minutes, but recent roster moves and a few injuries will make that tough tonight.
George Hill, Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson were all casualties of the Kings’ roster moves at the trade deadline, but the team may not be getting much of a contribution from their newly added players.
Joe Johnson has since been bought out by the team, and Iman Shumpert will be sitting with a foot injury. Bruno Caboclo may see the court, but he hasn’t been exposed to much at the NBA-level and isn’t likely to provide too much at the beginning of this tenure with the team.
Sacramento will want to head out of Minnesota with the win, but they have made it clear that their focus will be on development. The good news there is that the Kings will need some big performances from their young players to pull off the upset.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Garrett Temple
SF – Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF – Zach Randolph
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Frank Mason (heel) – OUT
Skal Labissiere (shoulder) – OUT
Iman Shumpert (foot) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When: 4:00 p.m. PST (7:00 p.m. ET)
Where: NBCS California