In a game full of whistles against a shoddy opponent, Sacramento Kings fans were looking for some kind of spark to make the team’s fourth preseason game entertaining. Enter Jimmer Fredette. After an evenly-played first half, the Kings turned it on in the second half, and Fredette was the ignition. Sacramento’s starting two-guard for the night lit up the scoreboard, excited the home crowd and turned the game into a laugher. The Kings cruised to a 107-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
JIMMER’S PLAY FOR MINUTES – The Kings depth at guard has been evident since the draft, but the emergence of Fredette (32 MIN, 23 PTS, 9-15 FG, 5-7 3FG, 4 REB, 5 AST, 2 STL, 3 TO) would make things a whole lot cloudier. It’s just one preseason game, but Jimmer torched Phoenix on Thursday, doing most of his damage in an action-packed second half. Fredette looked poised, moved well without the ball, displayed his handles with some fancy dribbling and continued shooting once he found a rhythm. It was everything you want to see from Jimmer. As one of the few remaining Marcus Thornton fans, I’ll say this: Thornton (8 MIN, 1 PT, 0-4 FG), who has had an unimpressive preseason to this point, better step up. Ben McLemore looks ready to play significant minutes and if Fredette keeps shooting like he did Thursday, Coach Malone will have to find playing time for him.
COUSINS DOMINATES AGAIN – It’s easy to point to the poor opponent as a reason for DeMarcus Cousins (27 MIN, 29 PTS, 8-15 FG, 13-18 FT, 9 REB, 3 AST, 6 STL, 1 BLK, 5 TO) again posting a monstrous stat line. But for much of the game, Cousins went up against Marcin Gortat, a quality NBA big. The Suns were physical with Cousins, and at times the Kings big man teetered on the edge of losing his cool. But through it all, Cousins kept his head and treated the game as if it meant something. He took control of the post and went right into the teeth of the Suns defense. It’s a huge positive to see him asserting himself without forcing the issue.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Greivis Vasquez (15 MIN, 10 PTS, 3-6 FG, 2-3 3FG, 2 AST, 2 STL) started for the second consecutive game and played into the second quarter. The takeaway from Thursday’s game: Vasquez showed a nice shooting stroke and he also played alongside Isaiah Thomas briefly, with Thomas moving to the off-guard spot. It’s a lineup that further exemplifies the Kings versatility … McLemore (13 MIN, 8 PTS, 3-7 FG, 1 REB, 1 STL) struggled from the perimeter but delivered a big highlight in the second quarter with an emphatic dunk on an alley oop. He almost duplicated the feat on the ensuing possession, as he narrowly missed the finish, yet still left the Sacramento crowd buzzing … Hamady Ndiaye (13 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 1 BLK) impressed with his athleticism and insane leaping ability. The seven-footer from Senegal seems primed for a spot on the Kings D-League squad in Reno.