• The Sacramento Kings return to action Sunday afternoon, playing the final game of their current five-game home stand against the Utah Jazz. This will be the team’s first game since their loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

    The Utah Jazz have built on of the more imposing defenses in the NBA over the last few years, and are now healthy enough to emerge as one of the more threatening teams in the conference.  Utah is currently fourth in the conference, and are looking to make some noise in the postseason.

    The Kings have struggled tremendously since trading Cousins, but it hasn’t been all bad.  Plenty of young players on the roster have stepped up and shown what they can do when given the opportunity, giving the organization a few building blocks moving forward.

    Here are some notes heading into the matchup:

    • Skal Labissiere has been a great boost off the bench in recent games, and even found himself in the starting lineup against Brooklyn.  The start didn’t lead to an increase in minutes, but it did serve to show the type of faith that Dave Joerger has in his young forward.  Labissisere is one of the most talented players on the roster, and could find himself playing far more in the future.
    • Gordon Hayward is in the middle of the best season of his career, often operating as a point-forward for the team.  Hayward is the team’s most dangerous offensive player, so beating the Jazz will have to start with slowing him down.  Arron Afflalo will likely be asked to guard him early on, but it will take a full team effort to get that done.

    The Kings have last their last three games, and much of that has been due to a stagnant offense.  Utah’s defense won’t help that situation at all, but there’s hope that the time off can help remedy it somewhat.  Either way, this should be a good learning opportunity for the team’s young talent.

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