October 29, 2017, 5:34 pm
The Wizards showed no mercy on Sunday, dismantling the young Kings 110-83 at the Golden 1 Center.
Sacramento went scoreless for the first 4:49 of the game, looking stagnant on offense and missing some easy shots around the rim. Bogdan Bogdanovic managed seven points on 3-of-4 shooting in the first quarter alone. John Wall, who came into tonight’s contest shooting 19 percent from three, nailed three 3-pointers in the first quarter alone lighting up De’Aaron Fox in his first career start.
It wasn’t just Wall lighting up the Kings in the first, as a team the Wizards shot 6-of-8 from three, leading to 35-point quarter to start the game.
The Kings went through a similar scoring drought in the second quarter too, going 3:30 without a field goal. There was no motive or structure offensively. Sacramento took too long to get into their offensive sets and the Wizards were shutting them down before they could even get going. Good teams will continue to take advantage of the Kings being disorganized, and it could lead to many more scoreless droughts for this young team.
The defense wasn’t much better either. Dave Joerger was notably frustrated with the defensive effort. Lacking effort on defense can sometimes be a common trend for young teams, but this roster has the pieces to at least be decent on that side of the ball.
The Kings were down by as much as 31 in the second quarter. They encountered yet another dry spell from the field, going four minutes without a bucket near the back end of the second. We’ve seen it in patches prior to this game, but it was magnified against a good Wizards team that almost took down the Warriors on Friday.
Finally, when the second quarter was all set and done, Washington carried a 63-32 lead going into halftime with the Kings shooting just 28 percent from the field; easily the worst half of basketball so far for Sacramento.
It wasn’t possible for the Kings to be any worse through two quarters. Scoring 32 points in 24 minutes is miserable. This won’t be the last time we are subject to watching this kind of basketball with a young squad like this, we were expecting it coming into the season. Games like this give these guys a lot to learn from, and you can bet they’ll be drilled with game footage following this one.
Now, for the second half.
The Kings showed signs of improvement in the third quarter, but an improvement on the first half isn’t much of an improvement at all. Bogdanovic and Skal Labissiere were the two best players on the floor for Sacramento. Without them, it could very well have been an uglier second half.
They trailed 60-88 through three quarters, and at this stage it was already about making adjustments for the upcoming road trip. Jumpers were falling a bit more frequently in the third. The offense was a still a mess, it was more so players hitting shots that they weren’t hitting earlier in the game.
Sacramento actually won the third quarter 28-25 which is a small victory in an otherwise painful game to watch.
The fourth quarter went mostly as expected. There was little energy in the building at that point and it was mainly guys trying to earn playing time moving forward. The Kings went through another lengthy drought without a field goal, this time the drought lasted almost five minutes.
Georgios Papagiannis and Jakarr Sampson managed to get some playing time to close the game but they were unable to do anything noteworthy.
The Kings took the fourth quarter 23-22. While they did have an edge on the Wizards in the second half, a slim edge at that, it was heavily overlooked due to how poor they were in the first half, so a stat like this was practically irrelevant.
With that loss, Sacramento now falls to 1-5 on the season which slots them at 14th in the Western Conference. They now hit the road to play the Pacers (3-3) in Indiana on Tuesday.
Assists: Wizards 28, Kings 13.
This is a huge disparity, and it certainly points to the lack of offensive coordination the Kings have right now. Having so few assists, or getting beaten by such a significant margin in this category means there is no structure on offense. The Kings had multiple dry spells where they didn’t make a field goal so it’s no surprise to see their assist totals so low.
Three-point shooting: The Wizards shot 50 percent from outside.
Washington were 17-34 from beyond the arc on the night. The Kings have always had a reputation for allowing a high volume of 3-pointers and that reputation was on full display tonight. John Wall isn’t a good outside shooter, but you still have to show a level of respectability for a player of his caliber. For a guy who was shooting 19 percent from outside coming into this game, to go 5-of-6 from three on the night is unacceptable. It’s certainly a game De’Aaron Fox can takes notes from.
Bogdan Bogdanovic – 15 PTS, 3 REB, 4 STL (7-of-9 FG)
Bogdanovic was the best player on the floor for Sacramento, yet he only played 23 minutes. This may be a case of Dave Joerger being Dave Joerger, giving veteran guys minutes over the kids. We’ll see how the rotation pans out moving forward but Bogdanovic deserves close to, or over 30 minutes a night.
Frank Mason – 11 PTS (5-of-10 FG)
Mason played 21 minutes tonight and took full advantage of it. He came out aggressive and displayed his knack for scoring the ball. The only criticism would be to try and play within the offense a bit more, but when there’s no structure on offense it’s hard to follow tune to that. Mason proved he can contribute when given minutes.
Malachi Richardson – 10 PTS (3-of-7 FG)
Malachi Richardson was able to spread his wings today with extra playing time on offer. He forced it a bit at times and only shot 1-of-5 from three, but he showed promise as a guy who can create his own shot. He’s got some work to do defensively, but Richardson may be looking at rotation minutes down the road.
Kosta Koufos – 7 PTS, 10 REB (4 OREB)
Koufos missed some bunnies early on, shots that he normally makes. He was most effective on the glass tonight, reeling in four offensive rebounds. You can probably point this towards the fact the Kings only shot 39 percent from the field so there were plenty of opportunities for Koufos on the glass. A solid game nonetheless.
May 26, 2019, 4:01 pmBrook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have multiple decisions to make when free agency starts but re-signing Brook Lopez is a priority, according to Malika Andrews.
The Bucks will likely lock up Khris Middleton first and then will have to decide on Malcolm Brogdon. He is a restricted free agent, but keeping him may vault Milwaukee into the luxury tax. After those two, Lopez is a priority over the other pending free agents such as Nikola Mirotic and George Hill. The Bucks won't have Bird Rights on Brook Lopez meaning they'd only have the mid-level exception to offer him, and if they go into the luxury tax, the mid-level exception drops from about $9 million to about $5 million. He'd almost certainly be taking a discount to stay in Milwaukee, but it's still possible he remains a Buck.
Source: Malika Andrews on ESPN
May 26, 2019, 3:53 pmNick Nurse - Team - Toronto Raptors
According to Peter Yannopoulos, Nick Nurse will be the coach of Team Canada this summer at the World Championships in China.
Nurse will be succeeding Hornets assistant coach Jay Triano, and will be in a similar position that Gregg Popovich has with Team USA. Nurse has had a meteoric rise since being the innovator of the Raptors new offense in 2017-18 as an assistant, to being promoted to head coach, to making the NBA Finals and now being named Team Canada's head coach.
Source: Peter Yannopoulos on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 11:48 amOG Anunoby - F - Toronto Raptors
The Raptors are expressing optimism that OG Anunoby will be able to see the floor for their NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
Anunoby's size and defensive versatility could make for a very valuable weapon against the Warriors' small-ball lineups. That being said, he has been out for nearly a month and a half, and the Raptors' eight man rotation has hit its stride in the crux of this playoff run. It remains to be seen if he will make it back, but in the event that he can, there is no guarantee that he will be able to crack meaningful minutes in Toronto's tight rotation.
Source: Ryan Wolstat on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 11:19 amMichael Porter Jr. - F - Denver Nuggets
As a symptom from his back surgeries, Michael Porter Jr. developed drop foot, and will wear to a leg brace to help stabilize it when he makes his professional debut in Summer League according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
Drop foot makes it hard for one to lift the front part of their foot and is a common symptom of back related ailments, of which Porter Jr. has had two surgeries to address over the last year and a half. Porter Jr. remains an unknown commodity with a laundry list of health concerns as an NBA player. There has been some recent success with young guys being able to bounce back in big ways after suffering year-long injuries, but Porter Jr. will remain a mystery until we see him on the court for his inaugural season.
Source: The Denver Post
May 26, 2019, 11:04 amJonas Valanciunas - C - Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas said that he wants to see who the Memphis Grizzlies hire as their next head coach before deciding on his $17.6 million player option.
Valanciunas saw his role increase in Memphis after being traded from Toronto, and actually played to compete with the Grizz trying to win enough games to convert their, at the time, low-end lottery pick to Boston. Valanciunas made it clear that he doesn't want to return to Memphis if their plans are to pivot to a rebuild and not compete again next year, saying, "I want to know, how we gonna look in 82 games. I don't want to be a tourist. I want to win.". The Hoop Ball favorite will be hard pressed to find a situation that will give him as much run, and fantasy value, as Memphis did, making this a decision fantasy owners everywhere should monitor.
Source: Dontas Urbonas on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 10:06 amKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetekounmpo to just .353 shooting from the floor with an offensive rating of 89.4 when guarding him in the Eastern Conference Finals.
This is needed to emphasize just how dominant of a defensive player Leonard really is. For reference, Giannis shot .578 from the floor with an offensive rating of 121 through the regular season. A total swing of nearly 23 percent and 32 less points per 100 possessions is preposterous for any player, especially an MVP caliber offensive juggernaut in Antetokounmpo. Keep these numbers in mind as the debate over Leonard being the league's best player continues to heat up.
Source: Micha Adams on Twitter
May 26, 2019, 1:17 amKawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard posted a monster line in Saturday's 100-94 Game 6 win, scoring 27 points with 17 rebounds, seven assist, two steals, two blocks and six turnovers.
Leonard put the Raptors on his back and carried them into their first NBA Finals appearance. After losing the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals the Raptors stormed back to take the next four to seal the series. Kawhi has been simply marvelous for this team and found a way to crank it up another notch, averaging almost 30 points per game this series. He was all over the court this game and dominated the Bucks from inside the paint. A 4th quarter dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo punctuated this dominance and sent the hometown crowd in a frenzy. The Raptors will try to keep their hot streak going as they face the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
May 26, 2019, 1:14 amGiannis Antetokounmpo - F - Milwaukee Bucks
While Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year supermax contract worth over $247 million, ESPN's Malika Andrews is reporting that the 2020 playoff run could swing whether or not Antetokounmpo stays with the Bucks long-term.
The Bucks have three of their starters and two key bench pieces heading into free agency this summer, so they might have to make some bold choices to keep the necessary parts around while also improving the team on a budget. It's possible that this is the Antetokounmpo camp's way of encouraging Milwaukee to empty the wallet and keep the current group together, but it goes against what Giannis has said publicly about the team and city from day one. The Bucks were eliminated mere hours ago but we're already having this conversation. The NBA news cycle is perpetual.
May 26, 2019, 12:59 amKyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors
Kyle Lowry posted a solid line in Saturday's Game 6 win scoring 17 points while adding five rebounds, eight assists, three 3-pointers, one steal and only one turnover.
After a pedestrian series against the 76ers, Lowry stepped it up against the Bucks, averaging almost 20 points per game in the Eastern Conference Finals. He did a great job making smart plays for the Raptors and they will need him to continue to operate at this high level as they head off into the NBA Finals next week.
May 26, 2019, 12:48 amMarc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors
Marc Gasol scored six points, all from behind the arc, in Saturday's Game 6 win, adding three rebounds, two assists and a block/steal in 26 minutes.
Gasol continues to do what the Raptors ask of him though the years of grinding in the paint for Memphis are long gone. He has adjusted his game play and now acts as a facilitator for the rest of the team. Gasol continues to split time in the post with Serge Ibaka (25 minutes, nine points) and will see his minutes fluctuate based on the Raptor's offensive scheme heading into the NBA Finals.