October 8, 2018, 3:16 pm
After two encouraging games to open up the preseason, the Kings were brought back down to earth by the defending champs in their third matchup. While losses like that can be demoralizing, the team should have a shot to right the ship Monday night against Maccabi Haifa.
While their talent cannot be completely overlooked, Maccabi Haifa does figure to be the Kings’ easiest opponent of the preseason. The Kings will still need to execute, but their athleticism alone should cause some real problems.
Monday night’s game is by no means an automatic win, but the team will have a good chance at a confidence-boosting win heading into the final stretch of the preseason. Below are some of the key things to watch for Monday night:
Fox has been as good as any fan could have hoped to this point in the preseason. He had some struggles in Friday night’s game, but overall his confidence and improved jump shot have been encouraging heading into the regular season.
One slight concern has been his lack of attempts from the free throw line. Fox has just two attempts through three games and will need to generate far more opportunities for himself going forward.
Spacing issues have kept Fox from driving as much as he should, but he still needs to find ways to draw contact in transition and in pick and roll sets. A game against Maccabi Haifa should present a decent opportunity
Additions to the rotation
Yogi Farrell and Nemanja Bjelica have both been upgraded to probable for tonight’s game, and both figure to get a decent amount of playing time if they’re ultimately cleared to play. While Farrell has already seen time in the team’s first preseason game, Bjelica has yet to suit up for the Kings.
While neither are sure to play at the moment, it’s not exactly clear how they will impact the team’s rotations if they are cleared. Skal Labissiere and Justin Jackson have both struggled during the preseason, so it will be interesting to see how much, if at all, these two see their minutes reduced.
The Kings have had success this season when they’re able to push the pace, but the offense has struggled to generate good looks in half-court settings. While some of this can be attributed to inexperience, poor spacing and ball movement have also contributed.
Playing in transition certainly highlights the strengths of this team, but they won’t be able to take the next step until they can run a coherent offense when the game slows down. Adding veterans like Bjelica and Farrell should provide some relief, but the team will need to start making adjustments in the near future.
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
Iman Shumpert (calf) – OUT
Nemanja Bjelica (knee) – PROBABLE
Yogi Farrell (thumb) – PROBABLE
HOW TO WATCH
When: 7:00 p.m. PST (10:00 p.m. ET)
February 16, 2019, 11:50 pmHamidou Diallo - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Hamidou Diallo puts his stamp on the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest by beating Dennis Smith Jr., John Collins, and Miles Bridges.
Diallo arguably delivered one of the greatest performances in Slam Dunk Contest history by jumping over the seven-footer Shaquille O'Neal and throwing down a vicious elbow dunk. He left the crowd mesmerized and gave them a moment to remember in an otherwise lopsided contest. As incredible he might be tonight, fantasy owners shouldn't really give him a look unless they're in deep leagues.
February 16, 2019, 9:37 pmJoe Harris - G/F - Brooklyn Nets
Joe Harris was scorching hot during the entirety of Saturday's 3-point shootout as he bested Stephen Curry with 26 made three-point shots in the final round.
Harris put an end to Curry's storybook ending of winning the 3-point contest in his hometown of Charlotte by besting him and Buddy Hield. It's no surprise that Harris was a dark-horse candidate entering the contest since he's been hot all season long from behind the arc, making 47 percent of his shots. In the past week, Harris has been rewarding his owners with top-20 value with averages of 22.7 points with 4.7 threes per game on 67.6% shooting. If you could sell high on him, now would be the perfect time.
February 16, 2019, 9:07 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum clinched the Taco Bell All-Star Skills Challenge by draining a half-court shot to beat Trae Young in the finals of the competition.
Tatum sealed the deal in this one and is responsible for one of the most exciting finishes in Skills Challenge history. For the past month, Tatum has been posting Top-40 value with 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 46 percent from the field. He's currently cruising as an early-middle round guy and should be even better once the Celtics find their footing.
February 16, 2019, 8:45 pmJayson Tatum - F - Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum clinched the All-Star Skills Challenge by draining a half-court a half-court shot to beat Trae Young in the finals of the competition.
Tatum sealed the deal on this one and is responsible for one of the most exciting finishes in Skills Challenge history. For the past month, Tatum has been posting Top-40 value with 16.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.1 blocks and shooting 46 percent from the field. He's currently cruising as a early-middle round guy and should be even better once the Celtics find their footing.
February 16, 2019, 4:24 pmHasheem Thabeet - C - Oklahoma City Thunder
Hasheem Thabeet worked out for the Rockets, Raptors and Pistons while the teams were in Charlotte for All-Star weekend.
Thabeet was the second overall pick in the 2009 draft by the Grizzlies and was quickly one of the biggest busts in NBA history. He was the highest overall pick to be sent to the then D-League until Anthony Bennett secured the top spot. Thabeet is somehow still only 31 years old, and 7'2" centers can certainly provide value in today's NBA, but it's unlikely Thabeet finds his way back into the league. He's currently playing in the Japanese B-League.
Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 4:04 pmDirk Nowitzki - F - Dallas Mavericks
Dirk Nowitzki said he has not made any final decision on if this is his last season.
"I haven't said this will be it," Nowitzki said, "I'm going to wait and see the last couple of weeks, how my body feels and if I continue to see improvement and I'm still having fun, we'll see." While Dirk has been treating this season as a retirement tour, there's still a chance we see him playing next season.
Source: Brad Townsend on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 3:58 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis (left shoulder contusion) said he is unsure if he will play in the All-Star game on Sunday.
Davis said the plan is to play, but we will have to wait and see if he's feeling okay. He's certainly not worried about saving himself for the second-half of the season.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 12:26 pmKyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics
Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) says he is healthy and plans to play in Sunday's All-Star game.
Irving missed the Celtics' last two games but fantasy owners shouldn't expect him to miss any more with the current injury. Terry Rozier was a hot pickup when Irving initially went down but now goes back to being a handcuff. Irving has put up top-10 per-game value this year with no holes in his fantasy game but he has already missed 11 games. He has missed at least 10 games in seven of his eight NBA seasons so this is something fantasy owners should already be used to.
Source: Gary Washburn on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 12:22 pmAnthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis said that the Celtics are on his list of preferred destinations.
Moreover, Davis added "they were never not on my list," though he also confirmed that the initial reports of his list including the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers and Bucks were true. Initially it had been said that the Celtics are not a preferred landing spot, and Davis' dad would rather his son play elsewhere. It sounds like everything is on the table now that his push to end up on the Lakers has failed, as Davis also said "all 29 teams" (sorry New Orleans) are on his list. Get ready for more updates on AD's thoughts as the season rolls on.
Source: Tim Bontemps on Twitter
February 16, 2019, 10:29 amNikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets have agreed to extensions with president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and GM Arturas Karnisovas.
The Nuggets haven't reached the playoffs in the last five seasons but will surely end that streak this year. Their abundance of talent and depth currently has them in second place in the Western Conference although Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas have all been injured for much of the season. Their draft choices and player development over the years has been a big catalyst for this as one could look at Nikola Jokic and the breakout seasons of Jamal Murray, Torrey Craig, Monte Morris and Malik Beasley, all of them having been with Denver since their first day in the NBA.
Source: Denver Post