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4 Takeaways from the Kings loss to Memphis

Sacramento's defensive woes have them still searching for win number one.

Sacramento came into their game against the Memphis Grizzlies hoping to secure their first win of the 2022-23 NBA season. They were unsuccessful in doing so for a lot of the same reasons that they came up short in their previous showings.

As far as injuries and availability go, the Kings did not have either Keon Ellis or Neemias Queta active and the Grizzlies were without Danny Green (left knee), Jaren Jackson Jr (right foot), John Konchar (left shoulder), and Ziaire Williams (right knee).

Starting a season winless through four games when this is supposed to be the year that Sacramento sniffs the postseason is worrisome, but it still feels too early to be freaking out. The Kings have played very high-quality Western Conference opponents up to this point.

The consistent weaknesses are becoming more apparent, but so are some of the strengths of this roster and coaching staff.

Here are my takeaways from Sacramento's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night.

The bench needs to be better

At halftime, the Kings' bench had five points. It was Keegan Murray's first game in the starting lineup, but the lack of production from the bench is a growing concern.

Chimezie Metu was surprisingly the first player off the bench, Chima Moneke got some opportunity, KZ Okpala didn't see the floor outside of the final 30 seconds of garbage time. Alex Len played when Domantas Sabonis got in some foul trouble and Richaun Holmes had already picked up a few of his own.

"We’re searching. I tried Mezi tonight, I tried Chima tonight. We went with different things… it’s how easy their bench scored against us… if we can’t score, which is gonna happen at times in this league, we have to commit to playing defense. And, we did not do a good job defensively with our second unit against theirs especially."

Malik Monk and Richaun Holmes have been liabilities on the defensive end of the floor more often than not and their offensive production has rarely made up for those shortcomings. Terence Davis has been productive on offense but falls asleep and rotates late on defense. Chimezie Metu takes ill-advised shots and while he blocks shots at times, is usually ineffective on that end of the floor. Davion Mitchell is a stellar defender, but his 6'0" height limits his impact on that end of the floor and his offensive production hasn't been there.

Sacramento's bench ended the night with 27 points on 9/22 shooting compared. The backup unit for Memphis contributed 45 points on 18/29 shooting.

"As a team, we have to be able to continue to try to touch the paint… just trying to start our offense that way," Fox said postgame. "Obviously, Domas and I are players that can get a bucket in isolation and most people’s benches don’t have that. So, as a team, we just have to try to continue to get each other good shots whether that’s pick-and-roll, high splits, low splits... Just try to get the ball moving and try to create an advantage somewhere. And once that advantage happens you can attack closeouts, you can shoot... We have to begin with getting that advantage."

Giving up middle too often

"We gave up middle drive after middle drive after middle drive and it’s one of our big staples defensively," Coach Brown said. "We can’t let the ball get to the middle but it seemed like it got there every other play and when it got to the middle of the floor, they scored."

66 of the Grizzlies' 125 points came in the paint. Sacramento's perimeter containment and help side rotations after penetration were subpar. Not sticking to one of Coach Brown's defense staples of keeping defenses out of the middle of the floor has a ripple effect of the rest of the defense.

"Our defense is based on the help coming from the baseline side," Coach Brown said. "We can't keep giving them middle every other play, because if we do it’s gonna be real tough for us."

That just comes down to execution. The gameplan is known going into the night, but Sacramento failed to execute for portions of the game. It wasn't an all-night occurrence, but all it takes for a game to get out of hand is a few minutes of poor execution.

"We just have to keep fighting as a group to figure this thing out and you can’t let your guard down at any time. I thought we started getting stops which allowed us to get out in transition, and we got some easy baskets in transition during that time but then you kind of relax and bang bang bang. Three. Three. Foul. Next thing you know, it goes from a two, three point game where we may have the momentum and be able to possibly take the lead to now they’re up nine or ten," Coach Brown said. "We kind of dropped our shoulders a little bit, dropped our head a little bit and those instances we got to keep fighting, especially when it comes to coming up with loose balls or 50/50 balls. We have to come up with those hustle plays, we have to keep scrambling to protect one another, we have to get back in transition. With good teams, you’re usually hanging and then they have a spurt. Hanging, hanging, hanging, and then they have another spurt and that’s what creates the separation. So, we have to, somehow someway, figure out how to eliminate those spurts and keep the pressure on defensively so we can possibly get out and run right back at them."

Desmond Bane led the way for Memphis

Desmond Bane was phenomenal at Golden 1 Center on Thursday night. He ended the night with 31 points, four assists, and six rebounds on 11/18 from the field and 6/8 from beyond the arc.

"He can do everything on the court," Fox said. "Obviously, that’s a hard guy to stop and you try to contain him as much as possible, but I think he hit six threes tonight and that’s not the way to do it."

Bane was doing whatever he wanted on offense and a big factor in his team being able to get to the middle of the floor and break down Sacramento's defense from there.

"You gotta give credit to Desmond Bane. I thought he kind of just lined us up and shot over the top of us and made three," Coach Brown said. "A guy like that, you have to make him drive. You can’t give him space… We obviously didn’t do a good job on him."

The return of Harrison Barnes

After having seven made field goals in the first three games combined, Harrison Barnes went 6/12 on the night against Memphis. He was aggressive on offense, especially at the beginning of the game, and ended with 20 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

"I wasn’t too worried about Harrison," Coach Brown said. "He just gotta find his groove within what we’re trying to do and I gotta try to be a little bit more consistent in terms of making sure his minutes are what they should be so that he has a better feel… it was obviously great to see Harrison have that ball go in the hole."

Barnes has been a consistent, efficient offensive player for practically his entire career so he was bound to come back around.

“It’s a long season and there’s gonna be highs and lows. Tonight, the ball was finding me maybe some other games it wasn't. But, our objective as a team remains the same," Barnes said postgame. "We’re gonna have enough guys to go out there and score… but our mental focus defensively, especially rebounding, has to be better and that’s where we’re at right now."

The issue is that Barnes had to play 37 minutes and Keegan Murray saw 39 minutes of playing time. All of the bench wings/forwards were ineffective tonight and Sacramento desperately needs someone to step up there moving forward.

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Hobby916
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October 28, 2022 1:18 pm

Kings can’t guard wing players. That’s the main issue. They also need to body up defensively when the lay up line happens during the game. Deter the other team from easy buckets at the rim.

TerzoM
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October 28, 2022 3:58 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Someone commit a hard foul already
comment image

CheekMagnet
October 28, 2022 7:26 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

Dec 14th I’d be down for Barnes for Mitchell Robinson.

Hobby916
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October 29, 2022 4:39 am
Reply to  CheekMagnet

The Center that doesn’t take any shots outside the key?

RPO
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RPO
October 28, 2022 1:24 pm

but it still feels too early to be freaking out

Kangz fans don’t freak out, we just accept the painful reality.

Amonk81
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October 28, 2022 2:05 pm
Reply to  RPO

We’ll give it 15-20 games and then there will be more excuses for patience.

They’ll point to a trade and time to congeal.

They’ll fail to tank and reach for the playin because they think they are on the right path.

They’ll miss playin or 1 and done and draft someone who doesn’t fit with Fox because who does?

All the while telling us how going against logic and what all
other NBA teams do will
produce a winner.

Blah blah blah- Vivek sets the tone.

TheGrantNapear
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October 28, 2022 5:18 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Sounds like the Kayte playbook.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 28, 2022 7:10 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

You have seen this before???

Kings-Rebuild
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October 29, 2022 8:34 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Well said.

1951
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October 28, 2022 1:33 pm

The Kings had 5 steals but this article only discusses 4 takeaways.

Hmm.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 28, 2022 1:38 pm

I’m not sure how accurate it is, but I saw on Reddit that just 4 teams have made the playoffs this century after starting the season 0-5. None were in the Western Conference. Game 5 of this season is tomorrow vs. a title contending Heat team.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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October 28, 2022 1:42 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

#BeatTheHeat

RPO
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RPO
October 28, 2022 2:41 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Five games under 0.500 is what I’ve used each year as an arbitrary mark for when the season becomes meaningless. That’s the point at which we cross the event horizon, there’s no chance of salvaging the season, and every game thereafter becomes pointless. At least this year they dashed our hopes early.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 28, 2022 3:48 pm
Reply to  RPO

I know Kayte has brought up the Pelicans of last year multiple times as being a team that started 1-12 and then made the playoffs at 36-46 via the play-in, but they seen to be an outlier. They were also without Ingram for six of those losses and then they added CJ McCollum at the break, whom they went 14-13 with.

So unless the Kings are down a star for a long losing streak AND add a fringe all-star at the break, I don’t see them pulling a 2021-22 Pelicans, but I bet we hear Kayte bring them up quite a bit for the next few weeks.

TerzoM
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October 28, 2022 4:03 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I think they can make still make it to Play-in but obviously can’t get far. I don’t think Domas will renew, so no Domas, Haliburton, Wemby. Along the way let’s see what other mandate comes out from “there once was a man..”

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 28, 2022 4:46 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

I’m still in the camp that thinks Sabonis will renew. I think he likes it here. His wife is from California, he is a West Coast kid, he has property in Napa that he appears vested in. and the Kings can give him more than anyone else can. I actually think he signs an extension before he his UFA in 2024.

andy_sims
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October 28, 2022 4:48 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

A lot of logic to this.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 28, 2022 4:57 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

To add, I don’t recall where I saw it, but I believe he had that property in Napa (the one where he hosted his teammates) before he was traded to Sac.

TheGrantNapear
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October 28, 2022 5:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I agree with you, more than likely he resigns. The issue is going to be having that much long term money invested in Fox and Ox. This team will remain in the state it’s been for almost decades. Bad but not quite bad enough.

Kings-Rebuild
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October 29, 2022 8:37 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

That is the issue having over half your salary cap tied up in two players who are not top 25 players.

Amonk81
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October 28, 2022 6:20 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Good points. Question will be, how can you keep two non shooters/not great defenders as your 2 highest paid?

4on5
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October 28, 2022 6:46 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If you guys think he putting the rest of his prime in Vivek’s hands because of the proximity of his in-laws or the Napa property that will still be there later … that’s crazy. If the Kings offer him 140% of market in July 2024 and he’s down to just cash checks … sure. But, he’s getting big tastes of the Kangz and being in a Fox centric offense. He’s not coming back.

RikSmits
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October 28, 2022 10:36 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I doubt he will be happy to be an afterthought on a fringe team just to be near Napa. With the way the NBA schedule is, how many opportunities will he have to go there anyway?

Brown has to pull his head out of his ass and start running plays to get his best player on track.

Kingsguru21
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October 29, 2022 12:44 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

He drives to Sac from there now. It’s a 60-75 min drive each way depending on time of day and what’s going on in the Bay.

rff
rff
October 28, 2022 1:40 pm

Is it too early to give Dellavedova a look at running the second unit?

Jack
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October 28, 2022 2:05 pm
Reply to  rff

Three players I was very concerned with last nights play were all from the second unit. r Holmes, Davis and Mitchell played terrible and they are the core of the second unit.Monk played alright on offense but not on defense. Mitchell played terrible defense and can’t score on defense. Davis fell asleep on a lot of switches on defense. If possible I would like to see Monk and Fox play more together as they really complement each other.

Kings-Rebuild
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October 29, 2022 8:39 am
Reply to  Jack

Mitchell is a really good on ball defender but not a great defender off ball.

Amonk81
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October 28, 2022 1:58 pm

4 takeaways

1-Kings still can’t defend
2-In a shooting league their stars still don’t shoot well
3-Vivek still owns the team
4-The play out is more likely than the playin.

andy_sims
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October 28, 2022 3:19 pm

it still feels too early to be freaking out

This will be unheeded advice.

Amonk81
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October 28, 2022 6:23 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

It is too early to freak out, even as I freak out but my nerves are frayed….. the moment I see confirmation that this whole way of building a team is assbackwards. my brain shouts panic.

Amonk81
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October 28, 2022 6:25 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

At the very least, this team needs a D-shooting 3 and rim protecting 4/5 who can shoot.

Yakshi
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Nostradumbass 21
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October 28, 2022 7:22 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

In the last game thread, one guy said that he was going insane from the loss. I hope he gets the help he needs.

fossilizedflatus
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October 28, 2022 11:41 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Think this is bad? Wait until the Kings are 0-5!

Or a winless October if they also lose on the road to Charlotte (Halloween). Scary!

Personally – I am a big fan not only of Coach Brown, but his staff. Maybe it takes 20 games for the Kings to click and they go 31-31 after a 4-16 start. or 21-21 after a 11-29 start. And talking about about a better second half of the season when the first just started sounds pathetic, but hey we’re talking Kings, and that’s just the reality of what they have been and what they are. It’s hard to climb out of the quagmire of chaos that has defined this (dis)organization.

My strongest hope is that King Vivek doesn’t allow the panic and worry to fire GM McNair.
Damn the torpedos – full steam ahead. Keep the McNair-Brown team together for the next four seasons. Replacing McNair with … ? Aneel? … someone else is part of the problem, not the solution. Stability. Please. Just try it once.

deepshot22
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October 28, 2022 3:19 pm

There will be a game soon where all things go right; they win by 20, shots are falling, the game looks easy, the opponent makes lots of mistakes, etc. We will all be hopeful, Kayte will say we have turned a corner, Vivek will be shown celebrating like a nerdy 12 year old at a gaming convention, and our record will be 2-9 or some shit. Then we will go 1-7 over the next 8 games and it will be the same shit different toilet.

TheGrantNapear
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October 28, 2022 5:23 pm
Reply to  deepshot22

“Vivek will be shown celebrating like a nerdy 12 year old at a gaming convention”

LOL

Kings-Rebuild
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October 29, 2022 8:42 am
Reply to  deepshot22

Yeah this team as the teams the past few years will have it moments and put together a string of victories. We have to be careful we don’t over react to those periods. This franchise needs a deep rebuild around Murray, Mitchell and perhaps Huerter. A lot of missing pieces to fill.

TerzoM
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October 28, 2022 4:19 pm

comment image
comment image

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 28, 2022 4:46 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

I have a feeling that Mike Brown gif is going to be used a lot this year, and beyond.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 28, 2022 5:04 pm

OT: Whoa…did not see that coming. There has to be more to this.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
October 28, 2022 5:07 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

MichaelMack
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October 28, 2022 5:14 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

WOW

That blows me away. There were so high on him.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 28, 2022 5:16 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I don’t believe the Kings fall into this category, but maybe that is a good thing.

Kingsguru21
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October 29, 2022 12:48 am
Reply to  Adamsite

They have a TPE large enough. The question is do they want Primo?

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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October 29, 2022 7:55 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I find two TPEs. One from the Hali trade at $4M and the other from the Bagley trade at $1.6M. Are they combinable? If not, then Primo doesn’t fit into the Hali TPE.

Kingsguru21
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October 29, 2022 12:55 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

You cant combine them, and you’re right the Hali TPE is about 120K short. The NBA allows you to tack on an extra 100K but in this case the Hali TPE is too small for that 100K to be useful.

eddie41
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October 29, 2022 8:40 am
Reply to  Adamsite

not a Spur. I would speculate that he was not playing defense.

Last edited 29 days ago by eddie41
TheGrantNapear
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October 28, 2022 5:24 pm
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Has to be an off court issue or on court acting like a child and not listening to Pop issue.

Adamsite
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October 28, 2022 5:28 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I agree, but then suspend the guy. He’s still 19! I’ve never heard of player like him on a rookie, deal fresh off of an option pickup, to simply be cut.

Maybe the Spurs are just getting ahead of some major legal issue that we have yet to hear about. Crazy.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 28, 2022 7:19 pm
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Maybe the Spurs are not going waste a year on a player with issues.

KANgZ will blow a decade if the player keeps signing contracts.

ForKingsandCountry
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October 28, 2022 8:27 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I get the sense that if the Spurs flat out released him, then it must be something pretty bad.

fossilizedflatus
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October 28, 2022 11:47 pm

Second big surprise of the season (Coach Udoka at Boston was the other).

Things happen in threes… I guess you could include Sarver selling the Suns – or there is one more to go.

Marty
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October 28, 2022 5:36 pm

Oh yea, just remembered.

Twice last night Sabonis tossed a pass away leading the break, I think both times he got the rebound and was absolutely determined to bring the ball up, sort of bullying his way to start the break.

Shouldn’t he be handing the ball off?

Amonk81
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October 28, 2022 6:28 pm
Reply to  Marty

I think maybe I heard Brown saying the bigs can board and take it up cause they wanna play fast…..

satdawg
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October 28, 2022 10:39 pm
Reply to  Marty

Reminded me of bagley

CheekMagnet
October 28, 2022 6:24 pm

When we get in a defensive funk (teams lighting us up from three) we need to put in Len. He clogs the middle which will allow our guards to play more aggressive.

i swear we’re 2 rebounds, per game, away from being 5-0. Those Bane back tap three pointers are killers.

Jack
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October 28, 2022 6:45 pm
Reply to  CheekMagnet

I have a question for Adamside. You said a few posts ago the Kings could trade Barnes and Holmes for Gordon Hayward, Do you still think that would be a good trade? Also want do you think on trading Barnes, Mitchell and Lyles to the Magic for Ross Suggs and Okeke. Ross is on a one year contract like Barnes, Suggs would replace Mitchell at 6′ 4″ can play defense like Mitchell and mch better on offende. He handles the ball well, loves to move the ball up court and has a ton of potential. Okele, although having a rough start can rebound, protect the weak side and play defense. I rrally value your comments and logic. We need to do something to address these issues.

4on5
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October 28, 2022 6:41 pm

Hey, at least Haliburton isn’t averaging 22 and 10, while Sabonis currently ponders whether to: leave as a free agent or via a sign and trade in July 2024; or whether he tries to speed things up by letting the Kings know in June 2023 that he has no intention of resigning in July 2024.

satdawg
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October 28, 2022 10:41 pm
Reply to  4on5

Ehhh Tyrese is good but his ceiling is still all-star. Still should’ve tried to trade for someone other than Sabonis.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 28, 2022 7:46 pm
  1. The best defense this team has played in over a decade and it is still laughably bad.
  2. The roster is not built with players that play defense.
  3. This team cannot score enough to offset their total shit defense.
  4. This team will not build a roster with players that will play defense.
Yakshi
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October 28, 2022 10:14 pm

Sometimes I feel like the fanbase is more damaged than the franchise.

I feel like we could all benefit from a drum circle. I’ll bring a clown, a half-dozen mimes, and three penny flute players. I hope that’s the right proportion to buffet against the collective agony.

RikSmits
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October 28, 2022 10:30 pm

Charlotte already feels like must-win game.

I feel that if they can’t at the minimum win one of the games against Charlotte and Orlando, this season might get ugly fast.

UsedToLoveTheKings
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October 29, 2022 11:48 am
Reply to  RikSmits

0-10?

GFunkClassic
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October 28, 2022 10:52 pm

That Bane shot in the video. It feels like there’s already been a bunch of similar type plays where they play solid defense, force a tough shot, shot misses, and the team gets offensive rebound and scores shortly after. Finishing off those possessions with a defensive rebound makes a big difference.

Last edited 30 days ago by GFunkClassic
keith_kar
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October 29, 2022 7:29 am

I understand the problems with the Kings are too numerous to list, but glancing at the stats I noticed The Kings are dead last in the NBA in free throw shooting percentage, somewhere around 71%. I get it, it’s early and that number will probably go up.

I’m hoping for a win tonight, and at least a 3-7 start, at the minimum. Looking at things now, it might be a tall order for the Kings to go 3-3 in their next 6.

UsedToLoveTheKings
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October 29, 2022 11:50 am
Reply to  keith_kar

No excuses. Free throws are all about mental focus on a highly repeatable motion. Especially the first shot.

UsedToLoveTheKings
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October 29, 2022 11:39 am

Lyles was the most dependable supporting cast last season. Amazed he is seeing no playing time. What are they teaching during practices on the defensive end? Because it really doesn’t look much better than last season. We need Doug Christie to step up!!

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