3 X Factors in the Sacramento Kings’ first Play-In Tournament game 

The biggest game of the Kings’ season is almost here.
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors
Sacramento Kings v Golden State Warriors / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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2. Davion Mitchell

In last season’s playoffs, Davion Mitchell was the Kings’ only real option to guard Stephen Curry. Mitchell may be undersized, but he is strong, fast, and moves his feet incredibly well. He played between 18 and 28 minutes in the first four games solely because of his defense. 

The problem was that he struggled to be enough of an offensive threat to attract defensive attention on the other end of the floor. That eventually led Mike Brown to go with Terence Davis instead. He was a more dynamic scorer but not the same level of defender as Mitchell, and Stephen Curry ended up beating the Kings with a 50-point performance in Game 7. 

Things have changed for Mitchell since then. His shot has come along, and he looks much more confident and aggressive offensively. Since Monk went down, he has played well off the Kings’ bench, hitting threes and attacking the basket. That transformation makes him one of the X factors in this game. 

The Kings will need his defense on Curry—between him, Keon Ellis, and Keegan Murray they might actually stand a chance of not getting torched—but he will have to do more than just that. He will have to be a real factor offensively to draw defenders to him and to make up for missing Malik Monk. Monk’s scoring has been huge in every win the Kings got over the Warriors, and Mitchell is the next man up.