Notes From the Sacramento Kings’ Second Preseason Game


We’re now two games into the Sacramento Kings preseason schedule, and we’re getting an even better look at how this team is shaping up to play for the coming season. The Kings dropped this game, but as we know the preseason isn’t about wins or losses.

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The oddest and most fun note from the Kings’ matchup against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night had to be that DeMarcus Cousins is persisting in shooting three-pointers. He took three more against Phoenix, making just one of them.

Boogie actually struggled a bit on Wednesday–it’s certainly new to see him with a better three-point percentage than field goal percentage, but that’s what happened against the Suns.

George Karl seems to have Boogie slotted securely at power forward this season–despite Kosta Koufos having the night off, Cousins still didn’t start at center. Willie Cauley-Stein did, and he played well. Trill managed eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks in his 27 minutes.

After last game I talked about two potential positional battles this season–at point guard and at small forward. Rudy Gay must’ve heard me, because he came out firing and led the entire game in scoring, dropping 30 points on 77 percent shooting and 88 percent from beyond the arc.

Oct 7, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) reacts on the court in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Gay added six rebounds, a steal and a block in the impressive although losing effort. His competition on the wing, Marco Belinelli, did not play nearly as well as he did in his dynamic first game with the Kings.

Belinelli kept taking shots like he was on fire despite being ice-cold, making just 27 percent of his field goals (and ten percent of his three-pointers) for twelve points. At least he tried–some times shooters just get cold (like Rudy Gay did on Monday night).

One positional battle is still interesting, though. Darren Collison is still playing like a starter, despite being relegated to the bench. Rajon Rondo was better in this game, but still didn’t seem on top of things. He managed five points, five assists…and five turnovers.

Collison continued to score well, managing eleven points on 50 percent shooting, five assist…and also five turnovers. Still though, if DC continues to pass around the level Rondo has been (Collison currently has seven more assists and two more turnovers than Rondo) this may be something to keep an eye on.

Or Karl could choose to go with a two point guard lineup, considering Ben McLemore hasn’t looked great through the first two games either. He’s shooting 22 percent from the field and 0 percent from long-range so far this preseason, and averaging 3.5 points, two rebounds and one assist per game thus far.

Those are clearly not good numbers–not nearly good enough to help the Sacramento Kings push the playoffs this season. Of course it’s still preseason, but McLemore needs to pull himself together, and fast. The other part of having a deep team is that any starter struggling hard has the opportunity to lose their job.

As far as that bench mob goes, many of the Kings’ role players played fairly poorly on Wednesday. James Anderson, Omri Casspi and Caron Butler all floundered, shooting a combined 21.4 percent from the field and zero-for-five from deep.

Eric Moreland had a pretty good game though, making two of his three shots for five points and rejecting a shot. His real strength has always been rebounding, though, and he pulled in seven boards (three of them on the offensive end) in just 16 minutes.

I’m still disappointed we haven’t seen any Seth Curry this preseason–he, David Stockton, Vince Hunter, Marshall Henderson, Duje Dukan, Quincy Acy and the aforementioned Koufos all sat out this game.

For the second straight game Karl played just eleven guys–which would be fairly many for a regular season game, but many coaches like to get more guys out there in the preseason. Apparently George Karl isn’t one of them.

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