The Sacramento Kings now sit at 0-3 in the early days of the 2022-23 NBA regular season. They were provided their most recent loss by the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Golden State took the game 130-125.
That final score is about as misleading as it can get. The Kings did a solid to any sports bettors who backed them +10 by making a fourth-quarter run that cut the deficit all the way down to four before the Warriors ultimately closed things out. Sacramento entered the fourth down 19 points.
Despite the late surge, it’s not easy to be optimistic about much coming out of this game—no moral victories when you surrender 89 first-half points, regardless of your opponent. There’s no explanation to be down 18 points at the break despite scoring 71 points yourself.
This kind of game gives us all sorts of worthy candidates for dud performers of the night. A few honorable mentions go to Head Coach Mike Brown and starting center Domantas Sabonis.
Brown will continue to get some level of benefit of the doubt because of how early in his tenure he is and the fact that he has offered reasons to be optimistic. There is a point where not starting rookie stud Keegan Murray will simply be too much to handle, though.
Sabonis had his best box score performance of the season if you ignore his team-worst +/- of -25. He managed that poor of a number despite only playing 22 minutes, 15 of which came in the first half where the Kings surrendered 89 points. He didn’t play less in the second due to foul trouble. He played less in the second because it gave his team the best chance to come back and win the game.
Sabonis didn’t check back in for the final 17 minutes of action. Sure, he racked up the counting stats when he did play, but the Kings invested assets in him to be an all-star-level player that helps them win, not to simply fill out box scores.
Maybe the staff needs to find a way to get him on the court against teams such as the Warriors by forming a lineup perfectly around him. Maybe he needs to simply be better. The same results moving forward won’t be acceptable for the franchise or the fan base.