Tonight the Sacramento Kings will return home from a brutal 3-game road trip to face a 2-1 Memphis Grizzlies team.
Coming off of a rough 3-game road-trip to start the season after their opener in Sacramento, the Sacramento Kings have returned home to take on another good team in the Memphis Grizzlies.
After scoring at least 112 points in every game so far this season, they’ll look to keep that going against a Memphis squad that ranks sixth in the league in defensive efficiency.
It’ll also be a first-time matchup of top-five picks from this year’s draft, with Marvin Bagley III (2nd overall) set to go up against Jaren Jackson Jr (4th overall) who I was pounding the table for the Kings to draft.
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Regardless, Bagley and JJJ have been impressive in limited amounts of action particularly with their per-36 numbers. A tweet by SacTown Royalty’s Richard Ivanowski illustrates this in a tweet, where “player A” is Bagley and “player B” is JJJ.
Despite this high-profile matchup of top draft picks, De’Aaron Fox is the key to a Sacramento Kings victory tonight. Before last nights abysmal performance where he shot 2/8 en route to just six points and four assists, Fox was lights out. Over his first three games, Fox was shooting 50 percent from the field to go with 20.3 points per game and 7.7 assists.
If Sacramento is going to knock-off the Grizzlies, it’ll be Fox who leads them there. One game shouldn’t wreck the confidence of the Kings second-year point guard, but it’ll be interesting to see how he responds to early season adversity.
Fox has done a lot to help quiet those who criticized him as a bust over the offseason, but the season is longer than three games and he’ll need to keep it up over the course of the year if he wants to cement himself as one of the best players from the 2017 NBA Draft. A solid showing against a one of the leagues best defenses would be a good way to get back on track and even more so against one of the leagues best point guards in Mike Conley Jr.
Of course, there are other important factors in the Kings getting a win here, it won’t all fall on the shoulders of Fox and Bagley. Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein will also need to step up for the Kings to win tonight.
Cauley-Stein is tied for the team-lead in points per game with 16.8 while Hield is sitting in third on the team with 14.5 points a night. They’ll both need to hit those numbers to help propel Sacramento tonight as the Kings are not good defensively, at all. They’ve been able to hang around in games by scoring in bunches at 122.2 points per game, good enough for fourth in the NBA.
Will they be able to get that against the Grizzlies? The Nuggets currently rank second in the league in defensive efficiency and Sacramento just dropped 112 on them. Expect another high-scoring affair for the Kings tonight and I think they’ll be able to get it done against this Grizz team at home.
Final Score: Sacramento Kings 117 – Memphis Grizzlies 109