• The Sacramento Kings got off to a hot start in the first half against the Lakers, but the team was unable to maintain that hot start through the second half in a 128-123 loss.

    The game was really a tale of two halves, with both teams resting plenty of their starters in the third and fourth quarters.  With the Lakers already playing their third game of the preseason and the Kings heading to Seattle for a game tomorrow, it’s not too shocking to see both teams go deep into their benches.

    Even with plenty of players sitting, there were more than a few positive signs for the Kings.  The team received some great contributions from their young core, and the offense looked exactly the way the team has repeatedly said they want it to.

    Below are some of the key notes from the loss:

    Fox heats up

    De’Aaron Fox was dominant in his short stint against the Lakers, draining multiple threes and finding plenty of opportunities in transition.  Not only was he able to provide plenty of scoring for the team, but his energy and pace helped create opportunities for the rest of the players on the court as well.

    Fox was confident with his shot and was seemingly unstoppable at times from behind the arc.  The Kings will want to start seeing big games like this more regularly this season.

    Jackson and Labissiere struggle

    Justin Jackson and Skal Labissiere both struggled to live up to expectations last year, and neither player has done much to turn that around this preseason.

    Jackson was completely unable to make an impact on the game tonight, a fairly consistent theme for him throughout his time in the NBA. Labissiere didn’t struggle quite as much as Jackson, but he appeared unsure of himself and fouled out just a few minutes into the third quarter.

    Jackson should be able to find minutes last year without much small forward depth on the roster, but both players likely needed a strong preseason to carve out a decent spot in the rotation.  If they aren’t able to turn things around, they could find themselves buried on the bench in the near future.

    Hield finds his shot

    It wouldn’t be fair to say that Buddy Hield struggled in the opening game of the preseason, but he wasn’t nearly as effective as he can be.  Thursday night’s game in Los Angeles was a much different story for him.

    Hield managed to find good looks for himself from behind the arc both on and off the ball. Beyond his contributions as a shooter, he also looked much more comfortable than usual attacking out of the pick and roll.  Without a clear go-to scoring option on the roster, the Kings are surely hoping that they can rely on Hield to create from himself and others this upcoming season.

    Bagley makes an impact

    Marvin Bagley looked like a completely different player in Los Angeles after struggling to make much of an impact in his debut.  Bagley worked hard to get good position inside offensively, and did a much better job of using his elite athletic ability to finish at the rim and snag rebounds.

    There were certainly a few rookie mistakes throughout, but overall Bagley looked much more like the player the Kings likely thought they were getting with the second overall pick.

     

Fantasy News

  • Kevin Porter Jr. - PG-SG - Cleveland Cavaliers

    The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced that they have officially acquired the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr.

    This trade was confirmed on draft night but it has now officially gone through. Porter Jr. figures to see opportunities off the bench as a score first guard for a Cleveland team in desperate need of bench production in his first season. He'll get his first look with his new team in Summer League.

    Source: Marc Stein on Twitter

  • Stanley Johnson - SF - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have opted to not extend a qualifying offer to Stanley Johnson, making him an unrestricted free agent according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

    This doesn't come as much of a surprise. Johnson struggled to make much of an impact both in Detroit and in New Orleans this season, despite possessing defensive upside that has been mired by his inconsistencies elsewhere throughout his career. He's still 23, and should find an offer elsewhere for next season. Wherever that may be, he will have a long way to go before he will become fantasy relevant.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Derrick Favors - PF - Utah Jazz

    According to Shams Charania of the Athletic, Derrick Favors will field calls from several interested teams and act as if he will be an unrestricted FA, a sign that he doesn't expect the Jazz to pick up his team option.

    Favors has gone on the record indicating that he'd love to return to Utah, but it appears that they are interested in allocating the 17 million he would have made, elsewhere. Favors has always struggled to maximize his fantasy potential playing next to Rudy Gobert, and perhaps a situation with a less clogged paint could do more for his value.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Thomas Bryant - C - Washington Wizards

    Thomas Bryant has been given a qualifying offer from the Wizards, making him a restricted free agent.

    Bryant surprised last season, coming from obscurity to finish with top-125/100 value (8/9-cat). That despite Scott Brooks toying with his minutes. If the Wizards can keep Bryant around last season's workload he'll easily be a steal in fantasy leagues, though we're obviously hoping he takes hold of the starting job.

    Source: Fred Katz on Twitter

  • Romeo Langford - PG - Boston Celtics

    The Celtics start Summer League practice this weekend but first-round pick Romeo Langford will not be cleared for full contact.

    Langford is recovering from right thumb surgery, which is not expected to have any significant long-term effects. This is just the Celtics taking it easy on their new rookie. Hopefully he's cleared before Summer League ends, otherwise we'll get our first look at him in preseason.

    Source: Adam Himmelsbach on Twitter

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    The Blazers, Lakers and Celtics are among the teams that will be interested in free agent Enes Kanter, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

    Portland knows Kanter well and would surely like to have him back after his admirable work filling in for an injured Jusuf Nurkic, while playing through his own serious ailments, in the playoffs. The Celtics could use a ferocious rebounder to replace Aron Baynes and are barren at the center spot with Al Horford's departure, while the Lakers are lining up cost-effective depth with their roster almost completely empty. Kanter might not replicate his Knicks numbers, but he'll be a standard-league asset no matter where he lands.

    Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

  • Cheick Diallo - PF - New Orleans Pelicans

    Cheick Diallo will be an unrestricted free agent after the Pelicans decided not to extend him a qualifying offer.

    Diallo has solid per-minute output but the playing time has never been there for him in New Orleans. He's got talent and good work ethic, but the league is flooded with available big men at the moment. Hopefully Diallo lands in a spot where he can continue his development.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Nikola Mirotic - PF - Milwaukee Bucks

    Nikola Mirotic is another player on the Mavs' list of free agent targets, per Brad Townsend of the Dallas News.

    Mirotic is not as high on the list as Patrick Beverley, but the Mavs see the stretch forward as a potential fit. While Mirotic ended the postseason out of the rotation for Milwaukee, he's going to be a hot commodity given his floor-spacing and should hold solid standard-league value no matter where he ends up.

    Source: Dallas News

  • Tobias Harris - SF - Philadelphia Sixers

    The Clippers, Mavs, Nets, Nuggets, Wolves, Kings, Grizzlies and Pelicans are expected to be interested in Tobias Harris once free agency opens.

    The Clippers are the most surprising team on the list, but only because they dealt Harris unexpectedly last season. Even so, the team and player had success together and the relationship wasn't necessarily damaged by the deal. Harris is one of the top second-tier free agents available and should have his pick of competitive offers. The Sixers are said to be confident about re-signing him, but they won't be able to do so without a fight.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Julius Randle - PF - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Bulls are expected to indicate "early interest" in Julius Randle, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

    Randle is coming off a career year and is looking to cash in. The Bulls have plenty of space available and won't be in the mix for max players, so there's definitely a fit salary-wise if Chicago can get in on Randle before other teams pivot off the top players. It would be a pain for fantasy players however, as Randle joining a frontcourt that already features Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. would put a cap on each player. The Knicks and Nets are also interested in Randle, and we'll hear about more suitors in the coming days.

    Source: The Athletic