• 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:

    De’Aaron Fox

    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.

    Half-court offense

    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.

    PROJECTED STARTERS

    PG – De’Aaron Fox

    SG – Buddy Hield

    SF – Justin Jackson

    PF – Skal Labissiere

    C – Willie Cauley-Stein

    INJURY REPORT

    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)

    Where: N/A

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