October 28, 2017, 10:09 pm
On the heels of their third straight loss, the 1-4 Kings look to get out of their funk against the 3-2 Wizards on Sunday.
Coach Dave Joerger and the Kings will have their hands full against one of the most potent offenses in the league as Washington is averaging 112 points per game on the year; good for fifth best in the NBA.
The amount of offense that the Wizards produce has little to do with their shooting beyond the arc, however, as the match up will put two lower-end three-point attempting teams against one another.
The Wizards are 21st in the league with 24 threes attempted per game while the Kings are second to last in the league with just 22 hoists.
At the helm for the Wizards is John Wall, the four-time All-Star who is currently averaging 22.2 points and 10.6 assists. Last season, they escaped two overtime games against the Kings with victories.
Wall had a tough time against the Kings in the first game. While the stat-line showed 19 points and 11 assists for Wall, he also had 11 turnovers and 6-for-16 shooting. In the second game, Wall was under much more control as he dropped 25 points and 12 assists and had only two turnovers.
Bradley Beal scorched the Kings in the two games, averaging more than 34 points and six three-pointers per game. Beal will be a tough assignment for Sacramento and especially for Buddy Hield if Joerger keeps him in the starting lineup.
That starting lineup will see a bit of a change as it was announced on Saturday that George Hill and Zach Randolph will rest. Hill had a pair of tough games, only putting up two points against the Suns on Monday and six versus the Pelicans Thursday.
It’s expected by many that rookie De’Aaron Fox will get his first-career start in Hill’s place. Fox has put up decent numbers early on in the season and leads the Kings in scoring and assists with over 14 points and five assists per game. Fox has also challenged opposing point guards with his speed and ability to get to the basket. Running the offense to start a game will is a different challenge for the 19-year-old, so it’ll be interesting to see how he handles it.
With Hill having the day off, it also opens up the door for Frank Mason to see an extended period of time on the floor. Mason’s only action this season was in a blowout loss to the Nuggets. That game was the second of a back-to-back and Joerger kept most of his players’ minutes very limited.
Kelly Oubre, who put up a double-double against the Kings last season, has seen a big increase in minutes this year. Oubre has started four of the first five games for the Wizards, taking full advantage of the open spot with Markieff Morris on the sidelines. He’s bumped up his minutes from 20 a game last year to 36 so far this year, and is averaging 12 points per game for Washington.
The man expected to have first go at defending Oubre could be Randolph’s replacement, Skal Labissiere. Labissiere put up 11 points in just 15 minutes on Thursday and will look to show Joerger he deserves crunch-time minutes. Labissiere has found himself on the bench down the stretch as Joerger has looked to veterans, such as Randolph, to close out.
It will be a big day for the Kings’ youth and could be a sign of what’s to come in the very near future. With the Wizards, it’ll be a challenge as the Kings take on a team fully expected to contend in the Eastern Conference.
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Buddy Hield
SF – Bogdan Bogdanovic
PF – Skal Labissiere
C – Willie Cauley-Stein
Zach Randolph (rest) – OUT
George Hill (rest) – OUT
Harry Giles (knee) – OUT
HOW TO WATCH
When: 3:00 p.m. PST (6:00 p.m. EST)
Where: NBC Sports California