Kings open the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday with a 89-85 loss to Suns

by Charlie O. Mallonee

LV score

Summer League is about development

The Las Vegas Summer League is about player development and not about wins and losses. Yes, the players and coaches like to win. The fans love wins, but again the goal is the development of young players.

Teams this season are also looking for players to fill roster slots 16 and 17. These are also known as the “two-way” roster players. These players will make one rate when playing in the G-League (officially the NBA Gatorade League) and the NBA minimum rate when playing for their NBA team.

As of today, the number 16 and 17 roster spots for the Kings are empty.

Players are also looking for roster spots on G-League teams. The Kings G-League franchise is the Reno Bighorns. The NBA is in the process of turning the G-League into a true minor league system to feed players to “the association”.

The bottom line is there are many story lines to watch in Las Vegas over the next 11 days.

The Game

LV espn

The game itself was entertaining. It was a close contest that featured some very talented basketball plays and some very ugly, “we are still learning” plays. There were a few “dust ups” and even some technical fouls.

The were 17 lead changes and the game was tied 14 times. Sacramento’s biggest lead was 6-points while Phoenix held an 8-point advantage at one point. The Suns out-rebounded the Kings 41-39.

The Kings posted 11 assists and turned the ball over 14 times. The Suns turned it over 17 times and had 12 assists. Each team had eight steal.

The Kings had one glaring advantage and it was in blocked shots. Sacramento blocked 9 Phoenix shots while the Suns blocked 4 Kings field goal attempts.

Kings

LV FOX

  • De’Aaron Fox — It was the “D-Fox” show a number of times in the game, but he is the number one draft pick and isn’t that what you want to see? There was a beautiful Kentucky to Kentucky assist to Labbissiere that led to a nice layup. A cross-court pass to Hield let him glide in for an easy two. Fox finished with 4 assists, 5 steals and let’s not forget his 18 points (7-16 shooting). He also demonstrated his breakaway speed multiple times.
  • Justin Jackson — The number 15 overall draft selection did not start the game but he made the most of his 26 minutes coming off the bench. He shot 7-for-11 from the floor (2-4 from 3PT range) for a total of 18 points. Jackson does not demand the ball but puts himself in the right spots to score if the ball comes his way.
  • Buddy Hield — The second-year guard is joining his new teammates in Vegas to tune up for the new season. Hield scored 16 points in 24 minutes of playing time. He shot 6-for-16 but was 0-for-6 from long range. Hield did have two very impressive drives to the bucket which could be a very nice addition to his game.
  • Skal Labissiere — The big forward appears ready to pick up where he left off in April for the Kings. He scored 10 points in 28 minutes. Labissiere was 4-for-9 shooting while adding two blocked shots and one steal.
  • Malachi Richardson — The shooting guard who missed the last part of the season due to injury started the game. He was able to play 24 minutes. Richardson posted 8 points shooting 2-for-7 including a 3-point basket. He looked a little rusty but it will not take him long to get back up to speed.
  • Georgios Papagiannis — The big center got the start and played 28 minutes. His stats speak to the dichotomy that is “Papa G”. He scored no points (0-3 shooting). It is so frustrating watching him not being able to put-back close shots off rebounds. He led all rebounders with 11 and had 2 blocked shots. Papagiannis uses his size so well in those areas. He also added 2 assists and 1 steal. The key is to remember he is still young and under development.

LV Jackson

Suns

  • Marquese Chriss — The Sacramento area native made it hard to watch him because it is obvious that he is developing into the player his was projected to be when he was drafted by and then traded by the Kings. With a bulked up body, he scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in 33 minutes on the floor. Chriss was 5-for-17 shooting but he made his way to the free throw line 13 times where converted 9 shots. He just bulls his way to the basket. When you watch him, keep saying Labissiere, Richardson, Papagiannis, Bogdanovic over and over again because that is who the Kings received in that trade.
  • Josh Jackson — The number 4-overall draft pick had a very nice first game for the Suns as he scored 18 points. The forward from Kansas shot 6-for-17 (0-2 3PT) grabbed 8 rebounds and had 2 assists in 34 minutes of playing time. He even showed that he can make the midrange jumper that the experts say he needs to add to his game.

Up next

The Kings will be back in action on Sunday night when they will play the Memphis Grizzlies. Game time is 7:00 p.m. PDT and can be seen on NBA TV. Memphis is 1-0 after beating the Wizards in their first game.

Images from NBA.com and ESPN

Kings: Vinsanity comes to Sacramento

By Charlie O. Mallonee

carter-randolph
Zach Randolph and Vince Carter are teammates again in Sacramento

The Sacramento Kings knew their young roster needed some veteran experience to help guide them through the upcoming NBA season and to give them a chance to be competitive in the west. First, it was the signings of point guard George Hill and power forward Zach Randolph that brought maturity to the team.

Now according to ESPN reports, veteran small forward/shooting guard Vince Carter’s agents are announcing their client has signed a one-year contract with the Kings worth a reported $8-million. The 40-year old Carter will be entering his 20th season in the NBA in 2017-18.

Carter entered “the association” in 1998 when was drafted in the first round (fifth overall) out of the University of North Carolina by the Golden State Warriors. He then was traded plus cash to the Toronto Raptors in a Draft Night trade that saw the Warriors receive the number four overall pick Antwan Jamison in return.

This is another part of getting the band back together for Joerger 

Every coach desires to have the key people from his previous team join him in a new situation, but that is not always feasible. When Dave Joerger found out he would not be returning to the Memphis Grizzlies as head coach, he barely had time to go find a new job and bring assistant coaches with him to Sacramento let alone try to transfer player personnel.

Dave Joerger now has two key veterans from his days in Memphis on his roster in Sacramento with the addition of Carter. Carter joins Zach Randolph who is expected to his special “Z-BO” brand of toughness to the front line of the young Kings team.

Joerger knows how to develop young talent. He earned his way to an NBA head coaching job by spending years coaching young players in the CBA, D-League and then as an assistant in “the association”. Joerger really likes to have inexperienced players learn by observation as well as by instruction. He has some strong talent for them to watch in Carter, Randolph and Hill.

Carter was a key figure for Memphis in ’16-’17

Carter played in 73 games last season – his most appearances since 2013. He averaged 8.0-points per game to go with 3.1-rebounds per game in 24.6-minutes per game. The Grizzlies used him at small forward the majority of the time.

Carter shot 39.4-percent overall in 2016-17. He shot 41.8-percent from 2-point range and 37.8-percent from beyond the 3-point line. His eFG% was 50.8-percent. Carter added an average of 1.2-assists, 0.8-steals and 0.5-blocks per game. He turned the ball over less than once per game (0.7).

Carter is a “long distance” shooter. Of his 490 field goal attempts last season, 303 of them came from a distance of at least 20-feet away from the basket. 175 of those attempts came from 25-29 feet away from the bucket. Carter will help the Kings spread the floor.

They are going to miss “Z-BO” in Memphis

50
No other Memphis player will ever wear No. 50

The Memphis Grizzlies have announced they are planning to retire the number 50 jersey worn by Zach Randolph who has just become a member of the Sacramento Kings as a free agent. Randolph was in Memphis for eight seasons.

In a tweet, Grizzlies majority owner Robert Para said that number 50 “will never be worn by another member of the Memphis Grizzlies.” He also thanked Randolph for helping turn a lottery team into a playoff contender and helping to make the team a model of community service.

Randolph will be the first Memphis player to have his number retired in team history.

Kings add to the coaching staff

Ricci
Phil Ricci is now an assistant coach for the Kings

Phil Ricci has been hired to be an assistant player development coach for the Sacramento Kings working on head coach Dave Joerger’s staff.

Ricci has a resume that includes almost twenty years of coaching and playing time at the professional and collegiate levels. He played in the NBA Development League (now the G-League) and overseas.

This is a homecoming for Ricci who attended high school in Galt and played basketball at Delta Community College (Stockton) prior to going to Oregon State.