Loser from Sacramento Kings preseason: Malik Monk
Take this with a grain of salt. Malik Monk isn’t going to let a handful of poor shooting performances affect his confidence, and Kings fans have nothing to worry about in terms of what he is going to bring this season.
Still, he makes the list as a preseason loser by default. We’ll get to his struggles with his new team in a moment, but the first qualification came when it was all but announced that Kevin Huerter would be the Kings starting shooting guard over Malik Monk. Something that will be best for the Kings long term could also be a loss for an individual player, and that’s exactly what happened when Monk’s role off the bench was confirmed.
While his confidence certainly won’t waiver, his early season minutes might if recent trends roll over into the regular season. Monk went 5-24 (20.8 percent) from deep in the preseason, while guys that could compete for the same minutes as him such as Terence Davis produced at a much better rate.
Monk is going to play and going to play a lot off the bench, but his early performance has to be a loss as we enter the regular season.
Winner from Sacramento Kings preseason: Keegan Murray
The hype train didn’t slow down throughout the 20222 NBA preseason. If anything, Keegan Murray kept it loud and moving despite playing in only half of the Kings preseason exhibitions.
After a strong performance at the NBA summer league and all the right things being reported early at the Kings camp, fans and those around the league were eager to see Murray play in something closer to actual NBA minutes. In limited time on the court, Murray once again lived up to the hype and then some.
He made it clear he will be making an impact from day one on this Kings roster. The coaching staff can’t afford to not play him on the wing given the rapid scoring production he is capable of giving the team at any given moment. His injury might slow things early in the season but Murray has forced Mike Brown and his staff to rely heavily on him when he is completely healthy.
It looks like it will pay off, too. Murray scored 16 points in each of his appearances behind 7-10 shooting from behind the arc. He is among the Kings better shooters from day one and proving that early is going to ensure he gets minutes right when he is healthy for the 2022-23 regular season.