Notes From the Sacramento Kings’ Fifth Preseason Game


Five games into the Sacramento Kings’ preseason slate, the team continues to provide more questions than answers about the upcoming season. The Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night, 107-100.

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George Karl seems as curious as anybody else about exactly how this rotation is going to shake out, as evidenced by his incessantly changing starting lineups.

This time around DeMarcus Cousins sat out, so seeing as Willie Cauley-Stein had gotten the start at center for Sacramento in the last three consecutive contests it figures he’d certainly start this one in Boogie’s absence. He did not.

Instead Karl elected to go small, and started Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, James Anderson, Rudy Gay and Kosta Koufos. It’s slightly surprising Darren Collison, Marco Belinelli or Willie Trill didn’t get a starting spot, but it’s probably because Karl is more interested in finding out what some of his other player’s can do.

After getting hit with a DNP-Coach’s Decision last game after struggling in the contests before it, Anderson had a strong bounce-back game. He was five-for-eight from the field and an accurate three-for-four from beyond the arc, adding 13 points, three assists and a rebound.

Rondo had a better game this time around too, managing eleven points, six assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block in a typical Rondo stat-stuffing game. He strangely attempted four three-point shots in this game, hitting just one of them.

Oct 13, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore (23) dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers s at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

McLemore played slightly better on Tuesday, managing eleven points, two steals and a rebound on 33 percent field goal shooting and 40 percent three-point shooting. Those aren’t good numbers quite yet, but they’re better than what McLemore has done in the other four preseason games.

Gay’s shot was off again against the Lakers, as he managed to hit just three of his twelve attempts from the field and just one of his six attempted long-range shots. He still managed a double-double however, scoring ten points and pulling down eleven boards to go along with three assists and a steal.

As he’s been in every game this preseason, Kosta Koufos was solid. He made 80 percent of his shots for nine points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two assists. Koufos is great–he always managed to land somewhere around eight points and eight rebounds, and he never needs that many shots to get there.

Darren Collison looked like a little James Harden out there on Tuesday, making all ten of his free-throw attempts to add to his 16 points. He also tacked on seven assists, two rebounds and a steal in yet another strong contest–Collison is proving every night that he wants to–and should–start.

Belinelli got more involved in this game, leading the team with 17 points to go along with his two assists and a rebound. Belinelli scored his points efficiently, shooting 50 percent from the field and beyond the arc and hitting all four of his free throws.

Cauley-Stein didn’t get involved much in his 22 minutes against the Lakers. Trill managed just three points, five rebounds, and assist and a block on Tuesday, and only took two shots. That kind of inconsistency is normal to see from a rookie though, especially during preseason.

Eric Moreland looked really good, hitting all but one of his six shots to end the night with ten points, eight rebounds, four blocks and an assist. Moreland is fighting for a roster spot, and from his recent play he deserves to get one.

Oct 13, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Sacramento Kings guard James Anderson (5) attempts to dunk the ball against Los Angeles Lakers center Roy Hibbert (17) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Duje Dukan got some action for the first time, and he made the most of his limited minutes. In nine minutes he scored three points and grabbed a rebound. He took two three-point attempts and made one of them, showing his floor-stretching ability.

Seth Curry, Caron Butler, Vince Hunter, David Stockton and Marshall Henderson all got eight minutes or less, and they collectively made almost no impact on this game. Butler and Stockton managed two points each, and the other three didn’t score.

Omri Casspi and Quincy Acy both sat out of this one too, which may have been a relief for Casspi. He hasn’t looked good this preseason after having a great campaign last year, and he may need a night off to help him refocus.

There still exists some question marks as to who will make both the starting lineup and the Sacramento Kings’ final roster. Collison continues to make both McLemore and Rondo sweat with his great play, and despite him lauding Cauley-Stein there’s still no guarantee he gets the start over Koufos.

These storylines should hopefully start to clear themselves out as the preseason progresses, but don’t be surprised if Karl doesn’t have a solid starting five until the day of the Kings’ first game–and also don’t be surprised if it changes sporadically throughout the season.

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