October 4, 2018, 2:56 pm
The Sacramento Kings will look to maintain their perfect preseason record Thursday night when they head to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.
Wins and losses are almost irrelevant during the preseason, but starting out with a win over the Suns on the road surely felt good for the Kings. Head coach Dave Joerger is likely more focused on preparing for the season and developing the young guys than winning games, but beating the Lakers will always be something the team and their fans can enjoy.
Also notable is the fact that this will be the Kings’ first time facing LeBron James as a Laker. James is sure to make this a tough matchup for the Kings, but they should still have a chance to pull out another win heading into their preseason home opener. Below are a few of the key things to watch for Thursday night:
More Big Lineups?
One of the more notable moments in Monday night’s preseason opener was Dave Joerger opting to play a lineup with Frank Mason and four centers. It’s unclear just how much the team plans to use these lineups, but based on comments from Joerger after the game we should expect to see them at some point in the future.
Without much need to win now, the Kings can play larger lineups in an effort to see how viable they truly are while also creating some much-needed playing time for the team’s young big men. With that said, the Lakers are likely to play small and fast, so the Kings may not find much opportunity to run out these lineups Thursday night.
Marvin Bagley III
Marvin Bagley had some encouraging moments defensively in Monday night’s win, but he wasn’t able to showcase his scoring ability or high-level rebounding. Bagley finished the night with just seven points and two rebounds in 24 minutes of action.
Bagley is going to take time to develop offensively, but it will be important to see him be a factor on the glass early in his career. This year isn’t going to be about winning, but Bagley will still need to be somewhat productive to find major minutes in a crowded frontcourt.
The Lakers have allowed 25 offensive rebounds through their first two preseason games, so the opportunity should be there for Bagley to make an impact.
Justin Jackson’s development
Justin Jackson had a great showing in Summer League following a slow opening game and is likely hoping that that trend continues in the preseason.
Jackson was unable to score in 19 minutes of action against the Suns, and only took three shots in the game. He will need to be more aggressive when looking for scoring opportunities if he wants to take advantage of his opportunity this season as the Kings’ only true small forward.
The reality here is that nobody stops LeBron, so it’s certainly unfair to expect that from a young team. Either way, it will be crucial for the Kings to play smart team defense and provide plenty of help.
Willie Cauley-Stein is probably the team’s best option to guard James, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see him on the court any time James is out there. The Kings have almost no chance of stopping James, but the team will need to limit his opportunities and make him work hard for his buckets if they’re going to win.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Buddy Hield
SF – Justin Jackson
PF – Skal Labissiere
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Kosta Koufos (hamstring) – OUT
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Knee) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When: 7:00 p.m. PST (10:00 p.m. ET)
Where: NBA TV