Sacramento Kings Friday game wrap: Warriors come to Sacramento hand Kings a 119-104 loss

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by Jordan Chapin

Sacramento – Friday night at the Golden 1 center, the Sacramento Kings returned home from their longest road trip of the year and were welcomed back by the the World Champion Golden State Warriors. Even with the return of Willie Cauley-Stein, Golden State handed the Kings their 35th loss of the year in a 119-104 Warriors victory. After winning three of their last four games, Sacramento came into the contest with a little momentum, but it was raining three balls in the Golden 1 Center, and not in favor of the Kings.

Sacramento came out of the gate hot, and started the game on a 20-7 run  led by Justin Jackson’s eight points in the first quarter. It didn’t take long for Golden State to close that gap with the help of Kevin Durant’s 17 point first half. The Warriors led 58-52 going into the locker room at halftime.

During the third quarter, Sacramento trailed as much as 14 points, but they continued to keep their heads above water as the Splash Brothers combined for 17 points in the period. Trailing 87-79 with 9:47 left to go, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield rattled off seven straight points, including back-to-back steals and cut the lead to just one, but that’s as close as the Kings would get to retaking the lead. KD put the team on his back scoring 13 points in the last 10 minutes of play, finishing his night with 33 points while shooting 12-for-17 from the field.

Even though the Kings forced 25 turnovers, it was not enough to overcome a stellar shooting night from the Warriors. The season series is now tied at one game a piece, and the Kings will not see the Warriors again until March 16th at Oracle Arena. The Kings have an opportunity to bounce back quickly as they will face the Dallas Mavericks Saturday on the second night of a back-to-back.

Sacramento Kings

Star of the Night: Justin Jackson

Jackson finished his night shooting 7-for-13 from the field for 17 points. He totalled 33 minutes for the game, but in those minutes he looked very aggressive, knocking down a couple three balls, and hitting his floaters from inside the paint. De’Aaron Fox on what he has seen from Justin Jackson, “Lately, he’s been great, his confidence has been up, he’s playing a lot, he’s making shots, something we know he can do.” Jackson was two points away from tying his career high.

Key Stats:

  • Forced 25 turnovers(19 points)
  • Shot 44.2% from the field and 40% from 3-point range
  • Led the game by as much as 13 points, but trailed as much as 17
  • Had six players in double figures, including all five of their starters
  • Six lead changes

Golden State Warriors

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Star of the Night: Kevin Durant

Durant continued his all-star campaign with 33 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. KD hit shots when they mattered, scoring 17 in the first half, and 13 in the fourth quarter to seal the game for the Warriors. Durant killed the Kings from behind the arc shooting 6-for-7 from downtown and finished hitting 12-for-17 from the field overall.

Key Stats:

  • Shot 17-for-33 from 3-point land
  • Had nine turnovers in the second quarter, which is a season high in TO’s for a quarter
  • Zaza Pachulia grabbed a game high 13 rebounds
  • Splash Brothers combined for 43 points
  • Out rebounded the Kings 51-33

Kings Press Row Podcast for 12-13-17: A split at home and back on the road again

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De’Aaron Fox was not afraid to go up against the veteran DeRozan (Photo Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com)

Host: Charlie O

  • A look back at the home games with Toronto and Phoenix

  • A look ahead at a very tough four-game road trip to Minnesota, Toronto, Philly and Brooklyn

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Buddy Hield directs the offense against the Raptors (Photo Jordan Chapin SportsRadioService.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kings make a huge comeback in Milwaukee but lose to Bucks 109-104

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Randolph drives on the basket Photo USA Today Sports

by Charlie O. Mallonee with Jordan Chapin

If you turned off the Kings – Bucks game after watching for just four-minutes and 15-seconds, you know the score was Milwaukee 14 and Sacramento 0. The Kings entire starting lineup had not scored a point and were sent to the bench after just three-minutes and 10-seconds of playing time. So, to see the final score be Milwaukee 109 to 104 for Sacramento must come as a great shock to you.

Even more shocking to you who turned off the game may be the fact the Kings cut the Bucks lead to just one-point with 1:43 to go in the game. The Kings never held the lead in the contest but they had a legitimate chance to win the game with under two minutes remaining to play.

The Game Summary

The Kings starting five did not score a point in the opening quarter of the game. They scored just 16-points in the first-half which is lowest scoring total for a starting five in the NBA since 2014. Buddy Hield scored 13-points for the second-unit and Zach Randolph put up 12-points to help keep the Kings in the game.  Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 19 points, Eric Bledsoe put 16 in the books and  Khris Middleton scored 14 points to lead the Bucks to a 63 – 52 lead at half-time.

The Kings had to start the third quarter without Willie Cauley-Stein who strained his lower back. The injury was not deemed serious but the team wanted to be cautious and sat him on the bench for the second-half.

The Bucks came out in the third-period and caught fire just like they had at the beginning of the game. They opened up a 20-point lead twice in the quarter with eight-points from “the Freak”, five put up by Middleton and five recorded by Brogdon in just over three-minutes on the floor. At the end of three-quarters, the Bucks held an 88-76 lead.

In the final period, it was all about the second-unit for the Kings once again. The Kings were led by Bogdon Bogdanovic who led the Sacramento scoring with nine-points. “Bogi” showed the world he is not afraid to take charge when the pressure is on. Buddy Hield added six-points while Frank Mason III and Z-Bo each put up four-points.

The Kings outscored the Bucks 28-21 in the final quarter but the opening runs by Milwaukee in the first and third periods proved to be too much and the Bucks won the game 109-104.

The Kings made a great comeback but it was not enough for Coach Joerger

Outstanding performers

Kings

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Mason III played strong for the Kings on Saturday night Photo USA Today Sports
  • Zach Randolph led the Kings scoring attack against the Bucks with 22-points. He went 10-for-15 from the floor.
  • Buddy Hield jumped back in the scorebook in a big way with 19-points. He shot 6-for-12 from the field and hit 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point line. Hield also grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists.
  • De’Aaron Fox overcame a poor early start to record 14-points. He shot 5-for-10 from the floor while hauling in six rebounds and distributing three assists.
  • Frank Mason III had another amazing game. The second-round draft pick showed again why many thought he would go late in the first-round. He put up 13-points and added three assists in the effort to overcome the Bucks early onslaught.

Bucks

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“The Freak” put up 33-points for the Bucks vs the Kings Photo USA Today Sports
  • “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo was the game’s leading scorer with 33-points, 13-rebounds and five assists. The 22-year old is simply amazing.
  • Khris Middleton recorded 25-points hitting 9-of-15 shots from the floor. He went 3-for-5 from 3-point land.
  • Eric Bledsoe – who has found new life in Milwaukee since his trade from Phoenix – scored 19-points while converting 9-of-10 opportunities from the free throw lines.

Team Stats

Sacramento (7-16)

  • SAC hit 37-of-77 attempts from the floor for 48.1-percent field goal shooting (which would usually mean a win)
  • The Kings went 11-for-24 (45.8-percent) from behind the 3-point line. Again that percentage would normally be associated with a win.
  • The team converted 19-of-21 (90.5-percent) chances from the charity stripe. See the Bucks stats to realize why those numbers are not that impressive.
  • The Kings had 20 assists and 15 turnovers. That is far below the desired 2:1 assists to turnover ratio that is the goal in the NBA.

Milwaukee (12-9)

  • The Bucks shot 49.3-percent from the field (34-for-69). They hit just 6-of-19 (31.6-percent) from behind the 3-point line.
  • The Bucks really helped themselves from the free throw line. They hit 35-of-42 chances from the stripe in the game.
  • The Bucks use the Fast Break to perfection as they outscored the Kings 13-2 on the break in the game.

Up Next

Kings

The team flew home after the game and will head back on the road on Tuesday when they will travel to Cleveland to get ready for a game of Wednesday with the Cavaliers.

Bucks

Milwaukee will return to action on Monday night in Boston versus the Celtics.

One last note

Justin Jackson who is on assignment with the Reno Bighorns of the G-League scored 26-points, grabbed six rebounds and added three assists on Saturday night.

Kings Press Row Podcast Week 7 in the NBA

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hosts Charlie O Mallonee & Jordan Chapin

  • Week 7 in the NBA brings some interesting match ups for us to watch on NBA TV

  • The Kings send three players to Reno to get some playing time

  • SAC wins 2 and loses 2 in week 7

  • Week 8 brings a brutal 4 game trip to the schedule for the Kings

  • Charlie O and the Chap break it all down for you

Kings: Big changes in the front office as Scott Perry joins the Knicks as GM

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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Scott Perry NYK Gen Mgr. Photo NBA.com

Just as everything appeared to be on the way to stability for the Sacramento Kings — BAM! — big changes have been announced in the front office operations for the team. Executive vice-president for basketball operations Scott Perry has been hired by the New York Knicks to be their new general manager. Reports have Perry receiving a five-year contract.

Perry joined the Kings front office on April 21. The Kings could have told Perry no because he was under contract and told the Knicks to go look elsewhere for a new GM. The fact the team did not block Perry from interviewing for the NYK job says a great deal about the organization’s respect for him as a person and as an executive.

There are some that are questioning the Kings decision to let Perry walk away from the team including two NBA executives that were quoted in the New York Post on Friday:

“It’s a little strange, getting fired in Orlando, then going to Sacramento and they’re willing to let him go so soon after a few months,’’ an NBA executive said.

The SacKings front office was the target of criticism

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Divac and Stojakovic

In 2016, the Kings could not get top lottery picks to come to Sacramento for tryouts and interviews. Agents viewed the organization as being in disarray and it was almost like if they avoided Sacramento their clients would not be drafted by the Kings.

There were also rumors that NBA executives were frustrated because they could not get call through or calls back from Kings executives in the front office. The lack of a traditional front office structure appeared to hurting the Kings ability to get things done operationally.

Sacramento had also been criticized for having the smallest scouting staff in the NBA. Experts felt the Kings needed to see more college talent to be successful in the draft.

Perry received much of the credit for the Kings draft and free agent signing success

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Analyst have given the Kings very positive reviews for the job they did in the 2017 draft. Virtually everyone loves the selection of point guard De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the number five overall pick. Most experts approve of the team taking SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina), PF Harry Giles (Duke) and PG Frank Mason III (Kansas) in the draft with their other picks. Some have said Mason might be one of the “value picks of the draft”.

“One of the top evaluators of talent in the NBA,” said one NBA executive who has worked with Perry. “The evidence is Sacramento’s free agency this year.” New York Post July 14, 2017

Sacramento then went to work signing three veteran free agents to play for a team stacked with young players. George Hill gives the Kings a veteran at point guard while Fox and Mason develop their skills at the NBA level. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter who played for Dave Joerger in Memphis were signed to play and mentor.

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Scott’s leadership was credited as being a major factor in why the Kings were able to pull things together so well in the all-important player acquisition period. The addition of analytics expert Luke Bornn along with the added experience of another year of working together for Vlade Divac and his staff also added to the success of draft and free agent signing period.

Perry is going to be trying to revive a franchise that is in shambles

NYK

One the major problems the New York Knicks have to overcome is their owner. James Dolan who has a history of making questionable decisions when it comes to his NBA team. On draft night in June, he was in Manhattan playing with his blues-rock band while Phil Jackson and his staff made the choices on who the future players for the Knicks would be.

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James Dolan NBA owner or rock star?

Of course just days later, Dolan and Jackson parted ways in a very public break up. If Dolan was planning on replacing Jackson, why did he wait until after the draft? The bottom line is that it is just another in a long line of bad decisions made by Dolan when it comes to his NBA franchise.

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Knick, Cavalier, Rocket?

The other major problem that Perry faces in his first days with the Knicks is what to do with Carmelo. Anthony has been making noises about being willing to accept a trade to another team like Houston or Cleveland. His salary and what the Knicks will want in return pose a real problem for the team to actually move Carmelo out and really begin a true rebuilding process.

Perry will work for the Knicks former general manager Steve Mills who will now be the team’s president.

Kings get cash and a future second-round draft pick but what about “Hamilton” tickets?

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The Kings will receive an undisclosed amount of cash and a future second-round draft pick as compensation for releasing Perry to sign with the Knicks. Cash? Overrated. Second-drafts picks can be helpful in closing trades.

But Vivek and Vlade, what everyone wants is tickets to “Hamilton” on Broadway. Think about the promotion your marketing team could have put together with a block of “Hamilton” tickets for the week the Kings play the Knicks and Nets in New York. Broadway and Basketball: it would have been a spectacular promotion.

If you do anymore deals with the Knicks or Nets, they must include tickets to “Hamilton”.

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

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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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

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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

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  • 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

Sacramento meets their new Kings

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The four new Kings react to being drafted by Sacramento

Kings head coach Dave Joerger talks about his new players

De’Aaron Fox explains why he is happy to be in Sacramento

De’Aaron Fox is also going to be a star off the court

Frank Mason III brings experience to the Kings

Justin Jackson has won a National Championship with North Carolina

Apologies to Justin for the bad lighting but I wanted fans to hear his comments

Harry Giles tells the media  and fans he is healthy and ready to play

SacKings Podcast: Ben Stram of FANRAG Sports grades the Kings 2017 NBA Draft

by Charlie O Mallonee

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The 2017 NBA Draft is history and now it is time to evaluate how well each team did in the draft. The Kings turned three picks into four selections by trading the 10th pick to Portland in exchange for the number 15 and 20 selections. Was that a good move by the Kings?

NBA Draft expert Ben Stram of FANRAG Sports  breaks down the Kings selections and gives the team an overall grade for their choices.

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Did he like the selection of De’Aaron Fox at number five?

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Point guard De’Aaron Fox is now a Sacramento King

What did Ben think of trading away Zach Collins for the 15th and 20th picks?

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Is Harry Giles worth the risk of dealing with his injury riddled past?

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Will Justin Jackson be an impact player?

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Justin Jackson the Kings #15 overall draft pick

How will Frank Mason III fit into the Kings youth movement?

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Kings second round selection Frank Mason

We also asked Ben who lives in the Chicago area about the impact of the Jimmy Butler trade to the T-Wolves?

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Ben also gives a grade to the 2017 NBA Draft as a whole.

If you are a Kings fan, this will be 18-minutes and 30-seconds well spent. Enjoy.

Kings get their point guard at #5 plus turn three draft picks into four

Vlade Divac summarizes the Kings 2017 NBA Draft

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival
Point guard De’Aaron Fox is now a Sacramento King

The Sacramento Kings entered the 2017 NBA Draft on Thursday night hoping that Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox would still be available when they had the opportunity to make their selection with the number five pick. “Lady Luck” smiled upon the Kings and Fox was still on the board when they went on the clock. There was never a doubt that the Kentucky connection with Sacramento was going to continue as the Kings made Fox the newest member of  the “Sacramento Royalty”.

There had been many rumors that the Lakers were considering Fox over Lonzo Ball at number two. Many analyst feel that Fox is a more well rounded player than Ball. Ball is seen as a “true” point guard but Fox is more “well rounded” player who can create his own offense when necessary. The Lakers went with Ball despite the baggage that comes in form of his father.

There had also been rumors that Phoenix would take Fox and then move Eric Bledsoe – with whom they have been less than thrilled with over the past two seasons – on to another team. In the end, Phoenix drafted to their need – which was a shooting guard – and selected Josh Jackson out of Kansas.

The Kings were able to draft their point guard of the future which they have wanted for sometime. Fox has the elite size and wingspan that NBA teams are looking for in a point guard today. He is not only a play-maker but Fox can be a force on offense. He averaged 16.7 points per game for the Wildcats.

Fox is a strong mid-range shooter who suffered from behind the 3-point line for much of the season. With a great deal of hard work, Fox greatly improved his 3-point shooting production late in the season and in the NCAA Tournament.

Fox is also known for his rebounding. He is considered to be an outstanding rebounder for a guard.

Had the Kings not moved up from number eight to number five in draft lottery, De’Aaron Fox would have not been available to Sacramento. A little luck is always a good thing.

Turning three draft picks into four

The Kings held the number ten pick in the draft. They had that selection as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade so getting a player of value was of great importance to the Kings.

The Kings did not have a burning desire for any player who was projected to go at number ten. Instead of wasting the selection, Sacramento made a deal with Portland to get the 15 and 20 selections in the draft in exchange for the 10 pick.

Number 15 pick

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Justin Jackson the Kings #15 overall draft pick

The Kings went to the ACC for their pick at number 15. Small Forward Justin Jackson from North Carolina was the Kings choice with their second selection in the first round.

Jackson- a junior –  was the ACC player of the year while helping lead the Tar Heels to a National Championship. He also was a consensus First Team All-American and ACC Player of the Year.

Jackson is known for having a diversified game on offense and a high basketball IQ.

And with the number 20 selection …

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Harry Giles – is he the next Chris Webber?

The Kings went “high risk – high reward” with the number 20 pick. They chose 6-foot-10 forward/center Harry Giles out of Duke.

Prior to enrolling at Duke, Giles was predicted to be the number one draft pick this season. An ACL surgery (his third knee surgery) and missing the first 11 games of his freshman season lowered Giles stock in the draft.

Scouts compare a healthy Giles to Chris Webber. How could the Kings not take a chance on him?

This is a roll of the dice that has the potential to have a huge payoff.

The second round selection

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Kings second round selection Frank Mason

Sacramento had the fourth (34th overall) selection in the second round. The Kings went with experience by selecting senior combo guard Frank Mason out of Kansas. He was a consensus Player of the Year and a First Team All-American.

The four-year Jayhawk player posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds during his senior year at Kansas. He led the Big 12 in 3-point shooting percentage at 49-percent.

How did the Kings do in the draft?

Most analyst are giving Sacramento high marks for their moves in this year’s draft. The experts seem to really like the Kings move to trade the number 10 pick to add two first round picks at number 15 and 20.

All of the experts love the Kings selection of Fox. Virtually every draft analyst believes Fox will be a star in “the association”. They also believe that if Giles can get healthy he could be the steal of the draft.

Grading the Kings draft

Ben Stram of FANRAG Sports will join me on our Sacramento Kings podcast to grade the Kings 2017 draft. That podcast will be available beginning on Saturday June 24 at 8:00 a.m. on SportsRadioService.com.

 

Rumor: Kings have a Fox crush; willing to trade two #1 picks to move up in draft

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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According to a report from Chad Ford of ESPN, the Sacramento Kings really see De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky as their point guard of the future. The Kings have been looking for a point guard they can build around since trading away Isaiah Thomas in 2014 (the Thomas trade was made by the previous basketball operations management).

Fox – a “one and done” star point guard – was a standout at Kentucky for John Calapari averaging 16.7 points per game and 4.6 assists per game. He is a 52-percent shooter from 2-point range but just a 25-percent shooter form 3-point land. To his credit, Fox’s 3-point shooting did improve considerably late in the season and during the NCAA Tournament.

Because of his talent and speed, Fox is most often compared to Kentucky basketball great John Wall now of the Washington Wizards. Who wouldn’t want the next John Wall on your team? However, how many championships has John Wall won? That would be none. He has helped lead his team into the playoffs but the goal is also a ring and a banner.

What is Fox worth?

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The real question is – how much is too much to give up for a player like Fox? Two number one draft picks is too much for a team like the Kings. They have so many needs and having two lottery picks in the most talented draft in decade is not a situation to be squandered. Sacramento needs depth and they have the chance to add young talent that they can have under team control for years to come.

There are two top rated point guards that will be available when the Kings select at number five if Fox is gone. Dennis Smith out of North Carolina State who averaged 18.1 ppg and 6.2 apg will almost certainly be there, and maybe the most intriguing player in the draft will also be there as well.

18-year old point guard Frank Ntilikina who plays in France and who is the “darling of Europe” will be available. Ntilikina is 6-foot-5 “pass first” point guard. He was the European junior player of the year. At just 18, Ntilikina is not considered NBA ready and he is seen as a high risk/high reward selection, but who doesn’t want a 6-foot-5 point guard?

In order to take one of these two point guards, the Kings might need to select them a little higher than they are currently ranked. There is no problem with that. Sometimes, you have to draft for need instead of just drafting the next best player available. That type of creative thinking would allow the Kings to keep both of their lottery picks.

Why are the Kings so concerned?

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The Kings are getting nervous because the Lakers are making noise about not taking Ball (would you want to deal with his father?), Philly really needs to think backcourt players, Phoenix has interest in Fox (why they would draft another guard would a mystery but they are the Suns).

The danger for the Kings is they are about to become the Chicago Bears of the NBA Draft. Every team would like to have two lottery picks and might be willing to entertain a deal. Sports professionals everywhere are laughing at the Bears because the 49ers snookered them out of an extra draft pick for nothing. The Kings need to be very careful not to make the very same mistake.

Who can the Kings get with the number 10 pick?

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The Kings are projected to have some very interesting possible selections at the number 10 spot. Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen has been projected to be there. He has been labeled as a Ryan Anderson type player. Center/power forward Zach Collins from Gonzaga is seen as a 10 pick. The very talented small forward Justin Jackson from North Carolina could be there at number 10. If Rudy Gay opts out, the Kings will need someone at the three spot. Jonathan Issac out of Florida State is also a possibility.

On June 22, the Sacramento Kings have the opportunity to change the fortunes of the franchise for the next decade. The brain trust in the basketball operations department led by Vlade Divac cannot afford to take a swing and miss. They must hit a home run with both of their lottery draft selections on that franchise changing night.