Photo credit: Sports Radio Service
By: Ana Kieu
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Sacramento Kings returned to familiar territory at Golden 1 Center, where they hosted a preseason game versus the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.
Did the Kings bounce back? Nope. The Kings barely won their first preseason game 106-102 over the Phoenix Suns at the Talking Stick Resort Arena and then lost their next three preseason games, including their most recent loss–a 132-93 blowout to the Utah Jazz, who went undefeated in the preseason.
Here are three takeaways from the Kings’ loss to the Jazz:
The Kings’ rookie factor
The Kings were the home team in this preseason game, but that didn’t mean the team–and the Golden 1 Center–left a lasting impression on their fanbase.
But if you could look past the low attendance numbers and lack of community spirit, you’ll find a few bright spots like rookie power forward Marvin Bagley III, whom the Kings selected with the second overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Bagley III posted 17 points, eight assists and one assist in 21 minutes of play. Moreover, Bagley III led all Kings in scoring, which was a great sight to see.
The Kings made a slightly controversial move when they initially selected Bagley III, a Duke product, when there was a franchise-changing young man in Deandre Ayton, who was preferred by the Phoenix Suns, but CBS Sports has reported that the Suns should’ve spent a little bit more time looking at him.
Of course, every rookie in NBA history likely has thought that he was the best player in the draft, but Bagley III has told CBS Sports that he’d embark on a long and fruitful NBA career. While it’s too early to predict Bagley III’s future, we can reassure you that he has been making headlines for the right reasons.
The Kings fall flat
Even if you didn’t watch the game, the final score should scream that the Kings fell flat and the Jazz had the upper hand.
Sacramento suffered from a complete lack of defense along with missed field goals, lay-ups and other point-blank attempts. Utah, on the other hand, excelled when it came to field goals. The Jazz converted 60 percent of their field goals, including 14 of their 30 three-point shots. The Jazz jumped out to a 39-10 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
The Kings should take notes on the Jazz, who are an up-and-coming team with rookie shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who’s arguably the future of the Jazz. Also, Utah’s leading scorer–Ruby Gobert–finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and one assist in 17 minutes of play, so keep an eye out for him. In addition, Utah big men Alec Burks, Grayson Allen, Derrick Favors and Jae Crowder deserve parts of your attention for their hard work.
Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield recorded seven points, seven assists and five rebounds in 25 minutes of play. Obviously, those aren’t above average numbers, but Hield proved that he deserves the nickname “Buddy Buckets.”
Hield’s steal and slam in the second half was a noteworthy moment for the Kings, who qualified for a positive moment following the awful first half. Hield’s game has shown marginal improvements over time and Hield will likely become a regular starter again. Hield’s one of the Kings’ best players. Hield may not be the definite cure for the Kings’ issues, but it’s a start.
The Kings have nowhere to go, but up.