Kings will move G League Team from Reno to Stockton for 2018-19 season

G League (3)

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings announced on Monday their intention to move their G League franchise  – the Reno Bighorns – to Stockton for the 2018-19 season. This move would have their development team just 45 minutes away from Kings offices, coaches, training and medical staff. This also follows the pattern of the majority of teams in the NBA which have relocated their developmental league teams to within an hour driving distance of their organization’s main facilities.

“Our NBA G League team has been an incredible asset to help prepare players for NBA action and bringing the team closer to Sacramento will allow us to continue to build on that success and increase efficiency to this valuable development tool,” said Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. “Kings fans in Stockton will now have an opportunity to see the next-generation of NBA players each week.”

Skal Labissiere

The Kings have taken full advantage using players from the Reno team over the past two seasons. In 2017-18, the team sent several of its rookies to play with the Bighorns to gain some experience which they put to good use at the NBA level. Skal Labissiere and Malachi Richardson (now with the Toronto Raptors) both benefited greatly from their time with the Bighorns.

This season has seen the addition of the “two-way” players who can be on the NBA roster of their parent team and then must spend the remainder of their time playing in the G League. JaKarr Sampson and Jack Cooley have both made substantial contributions to the Kings during the regular season. Sacramento also signed Nigel Hayes from the Westchester Knicks to a two-year contract.

sac sampson
Kings “two-way” player JaKarr Sampson

The Bighorns sent three players to three other NBA teams this season. David Stockton – who has also played for the Kings – was signed Utah Jazz. Reggie Hearn went to Detroit and Aaron Harrison was signed by the Mavericks.

Stockton is a very interesting choice because of its tremendous growth potential. With Bay Area housing prices soaring, people are willing to endure longer commutes in order to be able to buy a home. Stockton is projected to a desirable locale because of its freeway access and rail service to the Silicon Valley. That means potential fans for the G League team that could be cultivated into Sacramento Kings fans.

Stockton already has a very strong track record of supporting minor league sports teams. The Stockton Ports have played baseball in California League since its beginning in 1941 and are currently an affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Stockton is also the home of the Heat of the American Hockey League who are affiliated with the Calgary Flames. The Heat and the G League team will share the same arena.

“It is my honor to welcome the Kings organization to Stockton and I look forward to watching NBA G League action at the Stockton Arena,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. “The Kings have been known for their tremendous impact in the community and we’re excited to have their support as we continue to reinvent Stockton.”

A four-time All-America City winner, with honors as recently as 2017, Stockton is California’s thirteenth largest city. Stockton Arena is located in the heart of the city’s downtown waterfront and entertainment center. The venue opened in 2005 and includes 24 luxury suites, seating for up to 12,000.

The Kings G League basketball operations will be headquartered at Kings former practice facility in Natomas next to the old arena. The business operations for the new team will be housed at the arena in Stockton.

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.



  • 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


  • 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 and ESPN

The NBA D-League comes to Sacramento for one night only

by Charlie O. Mallonee


SACRAMENTO–There was a time if you did not make the roster of an NBA team going overseas to play basketball was really a players only real option. Yes, there was the Continental Basketball Association that ultimately gave way to the NBA Development League, but the money was not good and the chances of moving into “the Association” were slim to none.

Now that players are being drafted after just one year of college basketball experience, the need to have player development teams similar to the system baseball uses has become a necessity. Rather than losing control of players to teams in Europe and Asia, NBA teams are establishing a true player development system of their own.

There are currently 22 “D-League” teams and the league will expand to 25 teams next season. It will not be long before every NBA team owns a D-League team of its own. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expands each teams roster from 15 to 17 players next season. There are special pay provisions for players 16 and 17 on the roster depending on whether they on a the team’s D-League roster or NBA roster. A D-League team could have up to five NBA contract players on its roster beginning next year.

The sleepy, little D-League is now a thing of the past. The D-League (which next season will become the NBA Gatorade League) is about to become the most important player development tool the NBA has in its arsenal.

The game on Friday night featured the Reno Bighorns (owned& operated by the Kings) and the Raptors 905 (owned& operated by the Toronto Raptors).

This was my first time to see an NBA D-League game in person

I was interested in seeing several things in this particular game:

  • I was curious to see the level of play and where it fits between college and the NBA game
  • This game also offered a chance to see center Georgios Papagiannis play extended minutes that he does not get with the Kings
  • This match up also provided the chance to see one of the best teams in the D-League. Raptors 905 came into the game with the best winning percentage in the league

By halftime I had some answers

  • The level of play was obviously not NBA-like but it was also a real cut above Division-I basketball. The pace was fast and furious plus they love to shoot the ball from beyond the 3-point arc
  • Papagiannis was very interesting to watch work around basket especially with his soft-touch half-hook shot that can be very effective and almost impossible to stop because of his height and length
  • 905 showed why they win so many games by outscoring the Bighorns 36-16 in the second quarter and took a 57-42 lead into the locker room at halftime

Bighorns made it close in the third but could not hold on in the fourth

The Bighorns behind the play of David Stockton (6 pts, 1 ast) and Kendall Marshall (6 pts, 5 ast) outscored 905 26-20 in the third quarter to cut the Raptors lead to 77-68. It appeared that the momentum had swung over to Reno but things changed rapidly in the final period.

Both teams shot 6-for-20 (30-percent) from the floor in the final period. The difference came in 3-point shooting. 905 converted 3-of-8 from long range while the Bighorns hit only 1-0f-6 shots beyond the arc. The Raptors won the quarter 17-13 and the game 94-81.

Raptors 905 now has a record of 30-9 on the season and 6- 0 versus Western Conference teams. The Bighorns are now 13-25 for the season.

The Wrap

Raptors 905

  • Brady Heslip was the game’s leading scorer with 33 points in 33 minutes on the floor. He hit 8-of-15 shots from beyond the 3-point arc
  • Yanick Moreria and Antwaine Wiggins each added 11 points
  • 905 hit 12-of-31 (38.7-percent) tries from long-range
  • Raptors are now 6-0 this season versus Western Conference teams
  • Their road record improves to 15-2


  • Former King David Stockton was the leading scorer for Reno with 20 points. He also had three assists and three steals
  • Georgios Papagiannis posted 17 points shooting 8-for-19 from the floor. The big man also had six blocked shots in contest
  • Kendall Marshall recorded a double-double with 13 points and 13 assists
  • Isaiah Cousins — who the Kings drafted in the second round — scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Cousins played his college basketball at Oklahoma with Buddy Hield who just joined the Kings in the DeMarcus Cousins trade with New Orleans

Kings news & notes Monday 11-28-16

by Charlie O. Mallonee


Cousins passes Webber on the scoring list

DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 37 points in win over the Nets on Sunday night. Those 37 points allowed Cousins to pass Chris Webber for third on the all-time Sacramento Kings scoring list.

Cousins now has 8847 career points for Sacramento. Webber accumulated 8843 points during his six-plus years with Sacramento.

Peja Stojakovic is currently in second-place with 9498 points and the great Mitch Richmond holds down the number one spot with 12,070 points. The all-time franchise (Royals/Kings) points leader is Hall of Famer Oscar Robinson.

Based on his current scoring projections, Cousins could pass Stojakovic for second-place on the scoring list later this season.

It was a night of technical fouls plus a flagrant two ejection

DeMarcus Cousins picked up his fifth technical foul in the third quarter of the game for contact with Luis Scola’s face. It was incorrectly reported as his fourth technical foul in last night’s story. Cousins is now tied for the league lead in that category with DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers.

The Kings Kosta Koufos was charged with a technical foul in the fourth quarter for arguing with the officials. Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson picked up a “T” in the fourth out of frustration with the officials and his team. Nets guard Randy Foye was also a recipient of a technical late in the final period.

Matt Barnes received his flagrant two foul (which was a flagrant one all the way) and ejection from the officiating crew on Sunday night in Brooklyn.

Four technicals and a flagrant two ejection begins to sound like an officiating crew that might have lost control of a game. This would be a good game for the chief of officials to review.

The Kings went back to the big starting lineup on Sunday in Brooklyn

After using the the “small ball” starting lineup for the past three games, Sacramento head coach Dave Joerger went back to the “big lineup” versus the big Nets. That means Koufos started at center, Cousins slid back to power forward, Rudy Gay played the three, Arron Afflalo was at shooting guard and Darren Collison started as the Kings point guard.

Three Kings return to Reno


Center Georgios Papagiannis, Forward Skal Labissiere and Guard Malachi Richardson ended few days with the parent club and returned to the D-League on Sunday. The Bighorns hosted the Warriors D-League entry the Santa Cruz Warriors.

The Bighorns used a runaway second quarter to establish a solid lead over Santa Cruz and won their second game of the season 100-84.

Malachi Richardson led the Bighorns scoring attack with 24 points and made it a double-double with 11 rebounds. He shot 8-for-18 from the floor, 3-for-6 from 3-point range and hit 5-of-6 from the free throw line.

Skal Labissiere recorded 18 points and grabbed four rebounds. He went 6-for-11 shooting from the field and was 6-for-8 from foul line.

Papagiannis did not play which was listed as a coach’s decision. Kings head coach Dave Joerger had told us that having all three players in a game really limited the number of touches each player received and they want to maximize that number to speed up player development.

The Bighorns will host the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston) on Thursday.

Don’t let this guy get to close to you on the court in D.C.

For entertainment purposes only says the Wizards have a 68-percent chance of beating the Kings tonight in Washington (remember: this is the second game of a back-to-back set on the road). FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO system predicts the Wizards are the favorites minus 4.5 points.

CARMELO also predicts the Wizards will finish with a record of 34-48 and have a 31-percent chance of making the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

The fellows who make those predictions for the owners of those big resorts say go with the Wizards minus 4.5 points. They call the over/under as 210 to 210.5.

Looking ahead to game six of the road trip in Dallas


As reported by HoopsHype via Dallas Morning News on the Dirk Nowitzki injury: He’s only played five of 16 games. “We have every expectation that it’s not serious,” owner Mark Cuban said. “It’s dramatically better. That’s why he played the other night (in Cleveland). He just felt it again, so there’s no reason to take a chance. We’re just being cautious.” Said Carlisle: “The important thing is that we’re doing the right things to get him to a full recovery. He’s come a long way in a four-plus week period. But it’s an Achilles strain and it’s taking time. My hope is that it can be complete sometime in December, sooner than later. But we just got to be patient with it. He’s too important to us. If we have to play without him, we’ll play without him.”

Reno Bighorns win their first game of the season downing Texas 110-108

Charlie O. Mallonee


The Reno Bighorns finally broke into the win column on Tuesday night when they edged the Texas Legends (Dallas Mavericks)  110-108. Malachi Richardson hit a jumper with one-tenth of a second left on the clock to break the tie and give the win to the Bighorns (1-4).

The Bighorns held a four-point lead at the end of three quarters. The Reno lead fluctuated between two to six points as the Legends tried to retake the lead. With 7:58 to go in the game, Texas grabbed that lead and built it up to five points only to have the Bighorns comeback and tie things up with 4:31 to go.

The teams tied the game up three times in the final four minutes. The final tie coming with 16.7-seconds to play when the Legends Bryson Fonville banked in a three-foot jump shot to make it a 108-108 game.

Reno’s Lamar Patterson made a bad pass that was stolen by Fonville. Isaiah Cousins was able to steal the ball back for the Bighorns who called a timeout with 3.8-seconds left in the game and Reno trailing by two points.

The inbound pass went to Malachi Richardson who immediately put up a 21-foot jump shot that went through the hoop with 1-tenth of second remaining in the game which did not leave enough time for the Legends to make a basket.

The Bighorns won the game 110-108.

Bighorn scoring

  • Guard Lamar Patterson was the leading scorer in the game with 27 points. He went 12-for-14 from the free throw line. Patterson also had five steals.
  • Malachi Richardson not only hit the game winning shot – he put up 26 points and was also productive at the charity stripe hitting on 9-of-11 opportunities.
  • Skal Labissiere had a big game at center scoring 21 points in 28 minutes on the floor. He shot 9-for-16 in the game and grabbed eight rebounds.
  • Isaiah Cousins posted a double-double scoring 16 points and pulling in 10 rebounds.
  • Big Georgios Papagiannis – who was sent back to Reno from the Kings – also had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.


Reno’s team numbers

  • Shooting 36-for-81 (44.4-percent)
  • 3-pointers 6-for-18 (33.3-percent)
  • Free Throws 32-for-38 (84.2-percent)
  • 47 rebounds, 16 assists, 11 steals, 3 blocked shots
  • 18 turnovers that resulted in 23 Texas points

Texas numbers


  • Shooting 39-for-87 (44.8-percent)
  • 3-pointers 8-for-24 (33.3-percent)
  • Free Throws 22-for-28 (78.6-percent)
  • 41 rebounds, 22 assists, 10 steals, five blocked shots
  • 20 turnovers that turned into 16 Reno points

Up next

Everyone in the NBA D-League has Thanksgiving off.

The Bighorns return to play on Friday night in Prescott Valley, Arizona when they visit the Northern Arizona Suns.

The Legends head back to Texas where they will host the Salt Lake City Stars on Saturday night.

The three players on Kings roster are recalled to Sacramento


Malachi Richardson-the fourth highest scorer in the D-League, Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis will enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner in Sacramento. All three players have been recalled by the Kings.

Kings head coach Dave Joerger told reporters last Friday in his pregame press conference to expect the players to go back and forth from Reno to Sacramento frequently. He also said that only two of the roster players will be in Reno a majority of the time in order to increase the number of shot opportunities for the players who are with the Bighorns. The Kings also feel it is good for the rookies to be around and practice with the veterans.

There are no option rules in the NBA like in Major League Baseball so players can move between a NBA roster and a NBA D-League roster whenever the parent club wants them to and as many times as the organization feels is appropriate for the players.

Who’s hot in the D-League?

Two of the Top 25 players who are rated most likely to make it to the NBA are on the Reno Bighorns:

  • #7 is Lamar Patterson is averaging 20.6 points and 4.4 assists per game
  • #20 is Isaiah Cousins is averaging 12.6 ppg and 3.6 assists per game
Isaiah Cousins in the NBA Summer League

Both men are a “Affiliate Players” of the Sacramento Kings assigned to Reno. That means the Kings were able to send Patterson and Cousins to Reno without sending them through the D-League Draft so they can continue to learn the Sacramento style of play. However, both players remain free agents who can sign with any team in the NBA that offers them a contract.

  • Former Kings player Ray McCallum is currently ranked as the number two player most likely to be called up to “the Association”. He is playing for the Pistons D-League entry – the Grand Rapids Drive and is averaging 18.0 points to go with 9.3 assists per game.

NBA D-League: There are eight types of players in pro basketball’s minor league


by Charlie O. Mallonee

In talking or reading about players in the NBA D-League, you will often come across different designations for players. For example, Lamar Patterson who was the leading scorer for the Reno Bighorns on Sunday is listed as an “affiliate player of the Sacramento Kings”.

What does that mean? There are several categories of player in the D-League, so let’s try to work our way through the basics.

NBA Affiliate Player

As NBA teams waive players in the preseason, they have the first opportunity of signing those players to their D-League affiliate.

Teams can designate up to four “affiliate players”. These player remain free agents in the NBA and those players are free to sign with any of the 30 NBA organizations. The affiliate status allows teams to keep players they like learning their system should the need arise for a player at the NBA level.

Only 22 teams can have affiliate players because not all teams have a dedicated D-League team associated with their organization.

Lamar Patterson and second-round draft pick Isaiah Cousins are affiliate players with the Kings who are playing for the Bighorns.

Isaiah Cousins Reno Bighorns – Kings Affiliate Player

Returning Players

NBA D-League teams retain the rights to any player who has played for that team within the last two seasons – as long as the team has not released that player.

The Bighorns have two returning players – forward Kadeem Jack and guard Mark Tyndale.

No. 32 Kadeem Jack Reno Bighorns Photo Credit: NBA

NBA Assignees

NBA organizations can assign players with three years or less service to their D-League affiliate an unlimited number of times. Unlike baseball with the its complicated options rules, NBA can move players up and down as often as they see fit.

For example in 2014-15, 56 different players were assigned to D-League teams a total of 195 times. Because most the development teams are in close proximity to the parent clubs, free movement between the organizations is very feasible.

The Kings have three players assigned to Reno in this designation: forward Skal Labissiere, center Georgios Papagiannis and guard Malachi Richardson.

Labissiere, Ricardson and Papagiannis Photo credit:

NBA Draft Rights Players

These are affectionately known as “domestic draft-and-stash” players. The “draft rights player” rule allows D-League teams to directly acquire players from their NBA parent team’s draft list bypassing the usual D-League player selection processes.

The Oklahoma City Thunder was the first team to use this rule in 2012 when they selected Josh Huestis from Stanford in the first round for the purposes of sending him to the D-League.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat
Josh Huestis OKC Thunder Photo Credit: Getty

NBA Draft-Eligible Players

These are players who are eligible but have not entered the NBA Draft. They can instead enter the NBA D-League and keep their NBA Draft status.

If a player signs with the D-League before the season, he is eligible to enter the D-League Draft. If the player signs mid-season, he is available to D-League teams through the wavier pool claiming process.

NBA Draft-Eligible players cannot be called up by NBA teams. This the only category of players in the D-League that has that limitation.

Players who have used  the route to eventually enter the NBA are: P.J. Hairston – who is back in the league with the Vipers, Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Glen Rice,Jr.

P.J. Hairston Photo Credit: Sergio Hentschel/Getty Images

Local Tryout Players

These are my favorite players. Guys who have not given up the dream and believe if given the chance, they can make it happen. D-League teams can invite up to five players from their open tryouts to join their training camps.

Jonathan Simmons who played college basketball at Houston attended an open tryout for the Austin Spurs in 2013. He was added to the San Antonio Spurs roster in 2015 and is now a major component of their second unit this season.

Jonathan Simmons Photo Credit: Jack Arent/Getty Images

Other ways to make the D-League

  • D-League Draft: around 200 players are signed by the league in put into a draft pool. Approximately half of these 200 players are selected on Draft Day.
  • Free Agents: there will be an influx of free agents hitting the market for the D-League as winter approaches. Players will be returning to the country from playing overseas and there will be NBA players who been released who are trying to work their way back into the league. These players are selected by the D-League teams on a rotational wavier system.

Information supplied by was used in the writing of this article

Reno Bighorns lose season opener to Rio Grande Vipers 112-103

Kings affiliate player Lamar Patterson

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings NBA D-League entry – the Reno Bighorns – opened their 2016-17 season with a 112-103 loss on the road deep in the south of Texas to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets) on Sunday night.

The Bighorns started the game very slowly and appeared ready to suffer a blowout as the Vipers shot 50-percent from the floor and outscored Reno 32-13 in the first quarter.

Things improved for the Bighorns in the second quarter as they scored 22 points but the Vipers continued to stay hot as they shot 50-percent again for the period and put up 29 points of their own.

At the half, Rio Grande Valley held a 61-35 lead over the Bighorns.

A different Bighorns team stepped out on the floor to start the third quarter. The Bighorns turned on their defensive intensity and then added improved play on offense to put themselves right back into the game. Led by Malachi Richardson’s and Isaiah Cousins’ eight points each the Bighorns outscored the Vipers 33-17 to close within 10 points of the lead after three quarters of play.

The Vipers came out in the fourth period with the realization that they needed to step up their game or they faced the possibility of losing a contest they once had under their control. Viper forward Isaiah Taylor scored 12 points and dished out five assists to lead the charge as Rio Grande Valley went back up by as many as 16 points. Reno did not lay down in the final quarter. The Bighorns scored 35 points led by Malachi Richardson’s 11 points and Lamar Patterson’s 10. Reno outscored the Vipers 35-34 in the fourth.

When the final buzzer sounded, Rio Grande Valley had defeated Reno 112-103.

Kings fans will recognize the names of the Bighorn players who made a difference

  • Lamar Patterson – signed to Reno as an affiliate player to the Sacramento Kings- was the Bighorns leading scorer with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Patterson was an impressive 9-for-18 from the field. He played 32 minutes.
  • Malachi Richardson – who came to the Kings from Charlotte in exchange for Marco Belinelli – added 22 points. He went 4-for-12 from the floor including hitting on 3-of-6 from 3-point range. Richardson also went 11-for-16 from the free throw line. He played 38 minutes.
  • Other former Kings roster players who had an impact were center Georgios Papagiannis who scored 15 points in 29 minutes on the floor. Second-round draft pick and affiliate player Isaiah Cousins scored 14 points. Forward Skal Labissiere put up 9 points and grabbed 11 points in his 31 minutes of playing time.
  • Chane Behanan – who played in Mexico last season and for Rio Grande Valley the year before that – added eight points in 13 minutes of playing time

Rio Grande Valley Vipers

  • The Vipers scoring was led by forward Isaiah Taylor who is an affiliate player of the Houston Rockets. He scored 24 points and hit four 3-pointers. Taylor distributed seven assists in his 31 minutes on the floor.
  • Three other Viper player players scored in double figures: Kyle Wiltjer (22), PJ Hairston – who has played in the NBA – added 15 points and Le’Bryan Nash scored 21 off the bench.
  • The Vipers outscored the Bighorns 60-44 in the paint

What’s coming up for the Bighorns

The Bighorns travel to Austin where they will play two games with the Austin Spurs. They will play a game on Tuesday at 9:00 AM PST and on Thursday at 5:30 PM PST. The Bighorns will then head home for their home opener on Saturday, November 19 with the Oklahoma City Blue.

Reno Bighorns – the Kings Triple-A minor league player development team


by Charlie O. Mallonee

“One and done”draftees create a need for more NBA player development

The day of the four-year college player becoming a number one draft choice in the NBA is over for the foreseeable future. The NBA considered seeking a change in the next CBA to change the minimum draft age requirement from 19 to 20-years old. That would create a “two and done” environment where the players had more experience and more would be known about their skills. Rumors coming out of the Collective Bargain Agreement negotiations indicate that the league has dropped its move to make that change.

NBA teams are having to invest big money in young, unproven players (and rumors indicate the rookie scale is going to increase in the next CBA) and have to then develop their skills. There are a few players like Cousins, Wall, Rose, Davis and Anthony that step into “the Association” and have an immediate impact, but they are the exception.

The majority of “one and done” players need development to become NBA ready. That requires playing time. Enter the NBA D-League. There are 22 teams (15 owned by NBA teams) that are dedicated to the development of basketball talent just as minor league baseball works to develop players for the Major Leagues.

The D-League has grown in number of teams and in its importance of developing talent

The D-League was established in 2001. At the time, it had an independent competitor in the Continental Basketball Association which has since become extinct. The league was a place for undrafted, free agent talent to keep playing in hopes of being seen and signed by an NBA team. It was also a spot for players waived by NBA teams to try to work themselves back into “the Association”.

Now the role of the league has changed. Every NBA team has 15 players on its roster. Two to three of those players are rookies who need playing time. Unlike baseball where there is a complicated options system, the NBA allows free movement of players on the roster between two leagues. A player can be on the Sacramento roster and go play in Reno and then come back to the Kings the next day.

Teams can draft international players and develop them here

Let’s use the Kings as an example. This year they drafted 19-year old Georgios Papagiannis from Greece. In years past, Papagiannis would have remained in Europe to get playing time to develop until the Kings thought he was ready to contribute at the NBA level.

Now that the Kings own the Reno Bighorns, they have Papagiannis assigned to the D-League where he can develop under the watchful eye of Peja Stojakovic, vice president of player development for the Kings and general manger of the Big Horns. Papagiannis will learn the system he will play in at the next level, and if needed by the Kings, he just two hours away in Reno.

It’s all about playing time

There is nothing that can substitute for actual playing time. That’s why forward Skal Labissiere, guard Malachi Richardson along with center Papagiannis were sent to the Bighorns. None of these three youngsters would have seen the floor in Friday night’s game between the Kings and Portland. They do not have the experience to compete and contribute in that type of intense game.

That is the value of the D-League. These three players will receive priority playing time that will speed their development and increase the chances they will become valuable, productive assets for the Sacramento Kings.

The Bighorns season opens on Sunday

The Bighorns open the 2016-17 season on Sunday on the road in Texas against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers – the D-League entry of the Houston Rockets. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST and you can watch the game live (and for free) on the NBA D-League Facebook page. Beginning in January, games can also be seen on NBA.TV and ESPNU.

Darrick Martin is the first-year head coach of the Bighorns. He was a radio analyst for the UCLA Men’s Basketball Radio Network last season. Prior to that, he spent three years as an assistant coach on Steve Lavin’s staff at St. John’s University.

Martin played point guard in the NBA for 13 years. He was a member of the Sacramento Kings two seasons from 1999 to 2001. Martin also played for Minnesota, Vancouver, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas and Toronto.

Martin joined the staff of Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant coach and player development specialist after his retirement as a player.

A UCLA alumnus, Martin played four years for the Bruins for head coach Jim Harrick.

Get your updates here

Sports Radio Service will keep you updated on the results and news out of Reno on our website and on our Kings podcast which updates every Tuesday.