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30Q: What can we learn from preseason?

Preseason is rapidly approaching, and it'll be the first peak into some of Mike Brown's coaching philosophies.
By | 36 Comments | Sep 25, 2022

Mar 14, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) smiles during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

We’re one day away from the Sacramento Kings’ media day, which marks the official start of the 2022-23 NBA season. Training camp begins on Tuesday, September 27th, and the first preseason game will take place on Monday, October 3rd at Crypto.com Arena against the Los Angeles Lakers.

With a revamped coaching staff, led by head coach Mike Brown, and nine new players currently on the squad, preseason will be an intriguing sneak-peak into what to expect. The twenty-man roster will have to be cut down to seventeen and roles will need to be defined as soon as possible.

Here are five things to watch for throughout the course of their four preseason games.

Will Domantas Sabonis and Richaun Holmes play together?

Domantas Sabonis spent a good amount of his time with the Indiana Pacers playing alongside another center in Myles Turner. When Sabonis was acquired, many expected Holmes to be moved this offseason. But Holmes is still in Sactown and it’s hard to imagine him only playing 15 minutes solely as Sabonis’ backup.

The defense could function fine with that duo considering their average to above average mobility at their size. A concern could lie with the offensive spacing. Holmes attempted five total threes last season while Sabonis only threw up 17 in his 15 games with the Kings. For Indiana, Turner being a willing shooter from beyond the arc was essential for his fit with Sabonis.

At the very least, Holmes has shown to be very efficient from the free-throw line extended with his patented push-shot and Sabonis has his moments in the mid-range as well. Factoring in the previous shooting struggles that have surrounded some of the others, mostly notably De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell, it’ll be interesting to see how much Mike Brown looks towards a Sabonis/Holmes pairing.

The third-string point guard battle

With both Quinn Cook and Matthew Dellavedova both on the training camp roster, there is assumedly a battle taking place between the two of them with the victor likely being awarded the third-string point guard opening behind Fox and Mitchell.

Their varying skill sets are clear, with Cook being the superior shooter and Dellavedova supplying a greater defensive presence. Both have spent time in their careers playing under Mike Brown as well.

At 32 years old, Dellavedova’s lateral mobility is something to monitor, as well as how they both mesh with the surrounding pieces during the preseason. It’s easy to overlook the importance of a third-string point guard but if anyone above them in the rotation were to suffer an injury, they could become important in a hurry.

What defensive coverage will Sabonis be in?

When Domantas Sabonis played under Alvin Gentry last season, he was primarily used in a drop-coverage on the defensive end with underwhelming results. Take a fifteen-game sample size with a grain of salt, and of course, the same applies to the four games of preseason that are rapidly approaching, but this will be the first chance we get to see how Mike Brown could prefer to utilize the Lithuanian big-man in pick-and-roll defense.

With his capable foot speed, showing could wield promising results or maybe they even feel comfortable switching him in certain matchups. If there’s anything to take from the defense that Coach Brown contributed to in Golden State it’s that there will be a large variety of coverages used, but Sabonis’ role in that defense as the last line of defense will be crucial.

The frequency of small-ball lineups

With a handful of experienced guards on the roster and only so many minutes available in the backcourt, small-ball lineups are to be expected – but just how often and who is trusted to guard up are the questions.

Kevin Huerter split his time with the Atlanta Hawks at the small forward and shooting guard. Malik Monk is probably too small to play the three. Could Terence Davis give you a handful of minutes in a three-guard set? How much will Davion Mitchell actually play alongside De’Aaron Fox or will he primarily function as his replacement?

This also affects the forwards towards the back of Sacramento’s projected rotation with Harrison Barnes and Keegan Murray expected to be ahead of Trey Lyles, KZ Okpala, Chimezie Metu, and even Chima Moneke.

What position(s) will Chima Moneke play?

Chima Moneke, who most recently played for BAXI Manresa in the Spanish Liga ACB league, played the four overseas. His stellar rebounding, finishing, and comfort functioning as a roll-man on offense makes that idea intriguing in the NBA, but his 6’6” frame is notably smaller than your typical four.

His three-point shooting is unproven up to this point, which adds to the positional complication that the coaching staff faces with him. A fan favorite in Spain due to his relentless hustle and fiery spirit, he could fill an interesting role in Sacramento. What that role exactly is, or if he even will make the final cut, is unknown. It’s up to the Kings to figure that out throughout the course of training camp and preseason.

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RikSmits
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September 25, 2022 10:37 am

What’s there to learn?

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ElRonToro
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September 25, 2022 10:56 am

If I’m coaching , if I have Sabonis and Holmes on the court, I also have Huerter and Monk on the court.

Kingsguru21
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September 25, 2022 1:16 pm
Reply to  ElRonToro

Or Huerter and Barnes.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 26, 2022 11:56 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Or all 3. Between Sabonis, Huerter and Monk, there’s enough ballhandling there to get through a rotation.

murraytant
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September 25, 2022 12:48 pm

Learn: is the defense committed and better?
Can Fox and DS create some chemistry
who starts
can Murray still score
can Kings get through without injury

rff
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September 25, 2022 1:05 pm

From a defensive standpoint, I’m anxious to see a backcourt of Michell and TD.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 25, 2022 1:20 pm

Nothing.

KaNGz play for championships in the summer league.

FlorenceLunderburke
September 26, 2022 3:17 am

Nobody ever talks about those Summer Banners hanging from the rafters… shit is a conspiracy yo.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 26, 2022 10:04 am

People don’t understand this team plays at different level than the rest of the NBA.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
September 25, 2022 1:57 pm

OT: Monte needs to be calling on Crowder. He is the kind of player the Kings need.

https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1574140140091572224

catterj
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September 25, 2022 2:08 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Looking at Phoenix’s roster, after they trade Crowder, unless they get a great modern 4 in exchange, they just start Cam Johnson. I see Saric that can be a backup for Ayton and also Biyombo. Would Phoenix consider reacquiring Richaun? Tell me why that’s not realistic (I’m not saying it is realistic, just throwing it out there).

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 25, 2022 2:32 pm
Reply to  catterj

I was thinking Holmes as well, it works numbers wise, but I’m not sure they want to spend that kind of money on a backup when they also re-signed Biyombo on the cheap.

Barnes could make sense for them at the four if the Kings are committed to Murray starting. Crowder could slot in at the 3, but I don’t see how it works numbers wise.

Jack
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September 25, 2022 3:50 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I agree with you Adamste. Do you have any ideas on how we can trade for him?

AnybodyButBagley
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September 25, 2022 4:16 pm
Reply to  Jack

THEN TRADE THE GUY!!

Jack
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September 26, 2022 10:29 am

If we could get someone good in return then do it.

RikSmits
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September 25, 2022 10:09 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Why do we NEED Crowder?

Unless I am mistaken, he is an (undersized) PF, who has been playing less and less SF due to diminishing lateral quickness, just like Barnes.

AnybodyButBagley
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September 25, 2022 10:18 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Phoenix isn’t worried about losing him.

Sacto_J
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September 26, 2022 12:06 pm

Really…

Last edited 1 year ago by Sacto_J
Kingsguru21
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September 26, 2022 5:45 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Because he’s on the Phoenix Suns and he’s a winner. The Kings are losers and need winners. Duh.

BestHyperboleEver
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September 26, 2022 12:02 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

But we still have to fill the “vet-mentor-that-every-turns-on-when-he’s-asked-to-play-a-bigger-role-than-he’s-currently-capable-of” role.

Kingsguru21
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September 26, 2022 2:48 pm

But Harrison Barnes…. oh.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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September 26, 2022 12:29 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

His advanced stats say otherwise. Go look at those numbers and tell me again how he has lost a step.

catterj
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September 25, 2022 2:02 pm

Good questions, Brenden. It will be interesting to see if we can get a sense from preseason. I do hope Brown goes deep into the bench to get a good look at the 11th-20th men. That is really where any decisions need to be made after all. The end of the top 9 or 10 may be up in the air, but the players in that range will still be on the roster.

I believe we can all agree that as far as actual regular season wins goes, preseason has this much predictive value:
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ArcoThunder
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September 25, 2022 6:27 pm

cant wait

FlorenceLunderburke
September 26, 2022 3:19 am

Perhaps the question should be re-phrased: What is there to un-learn from the season gone? Though that list is admittedly long…

TerzoM
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September 26, 2022 7:35 am

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Last edited 1 year ago by TerzoM
catterj
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September 26, 2022 9:31 am

OT: Great article in The Athletic – Slater interviewing Brown
https://theathletic.com/3625126/2022/09/26/sacramento-kings-season-preview/

Some starting lineup info that Slater got from Brown:
Fox, Domas, and Barnes (at SF) will start.
It’s likely Huerter will start at SG with Davion as the energy third guard off the bench.
PF is the most up for grabs. Murray is the future for sure, but faces competition from Metu, Lyles, and “name to watch” … Moneke.
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That leads me to believe Moneke will make the 15 at least.

RAP87
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September 26, 2022 11:29 am
Reply to  catterj

My prediction is that Moneke, Okpala and either Cook or Bazemore makes the team.

RikSmits
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September 26, 2022 12:00 pm
Reply to  RAP87

Or we get another reminder that coach talk is just coach talk and Moneke is the first guy who gets cut.

NorCalKingsFan
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September 26, 2022 3:05 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

For what its worth:
On both Deuce & Mo and D-Lo & KC podcasts, they’ve stated that of all the players attending work-out sessions during the summer, the most impressive (according to the players/coaches being interviewed) has been Moneke. I think he’s hit a stride, has the necessary confidence and is ready for a personal breakthrough. Whether or not he’s an fringe NBA player or something more is yet to be determined.

Gregoryl
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September 26, 2022 9:47 am

Enough talk! Let’s watch some bad basketball!!

Jack
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September 26, 2022 10:32 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Let’s watch some good basketball!!

TerzoM
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September 26, 2022 11:02 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

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Sacto_J
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September 26, 2022 12:17 pm

I’m hoping to catch some understanding of the rotations.
Of the defensive principals we can expect to see implemented throughout the season. And hopefully we don’t go out there with the Nick Nurse Defensive Bible on full display (and poorly executed) only to be whittled down to Switch Everything and watch it all burn because we didn’t start simpler and build up.
I’m hoping to catch some chemistry building between Fox and Bones as well as the rest of the newcomers.
I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of how the rook is going to be integrated into the game plan and whether he looks overwhelmed or fits right in.
That’s about all I think we can learn from preseason, whether they win every game or lose, it means absolutely nothing in the big picture until the games matter. But I look forward to catching some glimpses of Coach’s big picture.

4on5
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September 26, 2022 1:42 pm

Scott Layden isn’t going to be the third voice in the room 10 months from now.

Jman1949
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September 26, 2022 3:32 pm
Reply to  4on5

Just to add some context—the Kings just announced staff changes for the upcoming season that included hiring Scott Layden as a scout. Here are Jason Anderson’s notes on Layden’s background:

“Layden, the son of former Utah Jazz coach and general manager Frank Layden, comes to Sacramento with extensive NBA experience. He held various coaching and scouting jobs for the Jazz in the 1980s and 1990s. He served as vice president/general manager of the New York Knicks from 1999-2001 and as president/general manager from 2001-03. More recently, Layden worked as general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016-20, serving in an advisory role to team presidents Tom Thibodeau and, later, Gersson Rosas.”

Read more at: https://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/article266370266.html#storylink=cpy

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