3 Things to keep an eye on in the Kings’ home opener vs the Warriors

Keegan Murray #13, Sacramento Kings, Stephen Curry #30, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Keegan Murray #13, Sacramento Kings, Stephen Curry #30, Golden State Warriors (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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JaVale McGee, Sacramento Kings, Walker Kessler, Utah Jazz
Sacramento Kings center JaVale McGee (00), Utah Jazz center Walker Kessler (24). (Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

#2: The Kings’ big-man rotation

Trey Lyles is out tonight, missing his second regular season game due to a hamstring issue, meaning that Mike Brown will have to mix up his big-man rotation. Last game, Sasha Vezenkov stepped into the backup four spot and did rather well. Against a team like the Warriors, you need all the shooting you can get, but there are defensive concerns.

With Draymond Green out, the Warriors will be very small as well, inserting Chris Paul into the starting lineup and sliding Andrew Wiggins down to the four. Vezenkov is not the fastest player out there, especially on defense, so the big question is whether or not he can stick with Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga when he has to match up with the Warriors’ power forwards.

In the playoffs, Mike Brown liked to use Lyles as a small ball five to stretch the floor and entice Kevon Looney to leave the paint. Since that is not an option tonight, that leaves JaVale McGee and Alex Len to take up the majority of the backup five minutes.

Both would give them good size against a small Warriors team, and Len already has experience from the playoffs. So far, McGee has been the first option off the bench, though, and he’s played well in the pick and roll with Malik Monk as well as shot very efficiently.

In the Kings’ first game earlier this week, he only grabbed one rebound, however. If he cannot step that up tonight, Looney will out-rebound the Kings all by himself. No other Warrior even has to try and get his hands on a missed shot because their big man will grab anything that doesn’t find the bottom of the net.

Despite both teams being diminished in the frontcourt, this game will be a great test to see how the Kings’ new bigs play in high-profile situations like this and which options Mike Brown has to adjust his frontcourt rotations.