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Kings vs Pistons Preview: Least in the East

The Kings are looking to salvage a 3-3 road trip and will face off against a Detroit team that has lost four of their last six games.

After a grind'em down effort against a physical Raptors team in Toronto lead to their second win of a six game road trip, the Kings have pulled up to Detroit for their last game away from the comforts of home for awhile. The Pistons will be missing the key cog to their squad, Cade Cunningham, who opted for shin surgery earlier this week,  and now ruled out for the rest of this season. Fear not, friends, there's still plenty of talent to sneak up on any Kings team not laser focused on the game at hand.  Will Jaden Ivey extract a measure of revenge for the Kings not selecting him at #4? Will Marvin Bagley extract a measure of revenge for the Kings selecting him at #2? Will the Kings swap for Saddiq Bey before or after tonight's contest?

Let's talk Kings basketball!

When: Friday, December 16th, 4:00 PM PT
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
TV: NBC Sports California
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140

For Your Consideration

Marvin's Room: Naw, I'm just kidding, I'm not talking about Marvin Bagley today. THE SACRAMENTO KINGS ARE 48 MINUTES OF GOOD BASKETBALL FROM GOING 3-3 ON A MONSTER OF A ROAD TRIP. Yeah, that doesn't seem like much to all of you already accustomed to the winning lifestyle that the Beam Team has afforded you this season, but goodness gracious does that still feel foreign to me. You throw just about any other Kings squad in the last ten or so years up against three of the best defenses in the league, with a three games in four nights mixed in to boot, you can pretty much chisel in stone that they're going 1-5 or 0-6 and Will's writing Kings opposing city related movie reviews by night four. To expand out, if you'd have told me the Kings would be three games above .500 after 27 games and a consensus Top-10 hardest schedule... well, I'm not sure what I'd say or do. I certainly wouldn't have bet a Mike Bibby style self-head shave and a Lady Bird watch party contingent on the Kings making the playoffs, that's for damn sure.

Okay, look at me pulling a winning team fan trope here and overlooking the team the Kings are facing tonight in order to wax poetic about the brilliance of their own team. The Detroit Pistons aren't a very good basketball team. They're rocking the second worst record in the NBA, just lost their best player for the season and are led in scoring by a piece of 33-year old trade bait. This is NOT a hit piece - the Pistons are bad and mostly by design and we all know how much I love a tidy little tank, so don't be starting any BabyGiraffe style beef with the city because I pointed out the obvious.

For as bad record wise as the Pistons have been, they're also loaded with some really nice talent. Jaden Ivey, unfortunately for all the haters out there, will be a very nice NBA player someday. I'm sure he wants to absolutely crush the Kings for pride reasons and he's got the speed and strength to do so. At 15.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4 assists a game and now no Cunningham, he'll be expected to take his play up yet another notch and what better chance at a second impression than now? Both big men in Isaiah "Beef Stew" Steward and Jalen "Will Was Right About Him" Duren have the strength and athleticism to frustrate and corral Domantas Sabonis. Stewart especially has had himself a nice season - 12 points, 8.7 rebounds and check this, 37.5% from deep on 4.2 attempts per game. Killian Hayes has been resurgent in 17 starts this season and by that I mean he looks like an NBA player. While his averages are chilling at 8.7 points and 5.2 assists on 34.4% from deep and 37.8% from the field, he's had two games in December alone where he's scored 22 and 25 point, the latter one being Wednesday night's game against the Hornets where he hit five threes and dropped eight assists to boot. Saddiq Bey, though slumping and seemingly in Dwane Casey's doghouse and on Troy Weaver's trade block, is still a threat to go off at any given time. He's shooting 29.8% from deep and only 40% total from the field to go along with his 14.4 points per game, but the flashes he showed in his rookie year are enough for me to think he needs a change of venue more than anything.

Overall the Pistons are rough. They give up the second most points to opponents in the NBA, have the second worst defensive rating, they foul more than any squad in the association, are in the bottom six in steals and and blocks and just genuinely have no identity there. On offense it isn't much better. They're 23rd in scoring while running at a dead average pace. They're the third worst shooting team from the field, fourth worst in assists and hey wait, I found a positive. They shoot the most free throws in the NBA... at the 22nd best clip.

To hell with tired legs, bumps and bruises, shooting slumps and whatever else negative things we can conjure up - a good team will beat this team regardless of most circumstances. If the Kings are to be trusted with the title of "playoff contender", they need to take care of business against teams like the Pistons. Contain Bogdanovic and capitalize on the young talents of the Pistons doing what young talents do - foul, turn the ball over, miss rotations, on and on. Detroit will be good someday, but it ain't today. A loss here would be an incredible disappointment.

Prediction

Bojan and Keegan Murray have an  offensive efficiency-off, one in which the defense of Harrison Barnes plays the deciding factor in Murray's victory. De'Aaron Fox looks like the Star Fox of earlier this season and twists the Pistons defense in knots. The game takes 4 hours to complete with Domas going to the line 24 times. Jalen Duren does one thing that makes your jaw hit the floor.

Kings: 132, Pistons:111

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Jman1949
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December 16, 2022 12:32 pm

With the Pistons competing for Vic
To choose as the number one pick,
When facing Detroit
The Kings must exploit
This chance for another uptick!

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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December 16, 2022 1:17 pm

Come on, Beam Team! Pull out this win and come home with a 3-3 road trip!

Kosta
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December 16, 2022 1:39 pm

Motown? More like CoJotown. Watch out for the revenge game!

We must resist the inclination to give in to the Temptations of overlooking this team no matter how Supreme the Beam appears. You can’t hurry the playoffs. You’ll just have to wait. She said wins don’t come easy. It’s a game of pace and space.

But what’s going on with Marvin? Now is the time for Sactual Healing. Let’s get it on!

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Last edited 1 month ago by Kosta
andy_sims
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December 16, 2022 1:47 pm

Had a moment of joy after reading

Overall the Pistons are rough. They give up the second most points to opponents in the NBA, have the second worst defensive rating,

and realizing that Sacramento isn’t the team with the worst defensive rating.

E-Guy
December 16, 2022 1:58 pm

What will it take to sway
The Pistons to give us Bey
Would it take the expiring of Harrison
Or a first round pick in the horizon

Ellis5
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December 16, 2022 2:55 pm
Reply to  E-Guy

Kings first round picks are losing stock. What will they convey at? 23? 25?

Yakshi
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Nostradumbass 21
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December 16, 2022 2:14 pm

Just as the three-point shot changed the game, a team should get two wins if they outscore their opponent by 22. Twenty-two gets two. Here are all of the good things going for it: It’s insane, it’s wildly stupid, and Taco Bell would be onboard with two free tacos after each two spot, as long as you buy two large Cokes and some cinnabon cinnaballs. Who aside from everyone says no?

kings4ever
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December 16, 2022 3:50 pm

Pre-Game Ponderings:

Tune into any Mavs game and you are inclined to bear witness Luka bullying and berating the officials. Watch him throw a tantrum, engage in embarrassing display of entitlement and indignation when the defender dared to breathe on him. The Mavs fans follow suit, ready to charge the court with torches and pitchforks. It takes away from the beauty of the game, the poetry in motion, the individual feats of awe. Luka is an amazing player, but this, along with the chronic palming, egregiously ignored by the stripes, threaten to tarnish his legacy.

Bullying and berating is not in Fox nature, but this is what it has come to, a legitimate option, to get the damn respect he deserves. No one is asking for special treatment, but how about a little fairness? Luka shoots 10.4 FTAs per game, and it’s never enough. Fox, who gets into the lane as readily and relentlessly as any player in the league, shoots less than half, 5.0 FTAs per game, which is less than the previous 4 seasons. As he registers the best season of his career, overcoming the nagging foot bruise that curtailed his dominance for a month, the refs seem to think less of him than ever. 

The solution to this disrespect and unfairness is clear. It does not involve turning into an incessant cry baby like the Wonder Boy, currently shooting a woeful 34% from deep while ball hogging the Mavs to a .500 record. Harping on the injustice does NO good, with the egocentric referees becoming more unyielding in their ego-based defenses. You cannot reason constructively with the insecure whistle blower unwilling to admit or make amends for his mistake(s).

Of course Fox needs a qualified proxy to represent him, as Coach B did vehemently vs TOR, with his timely ejection catalyzing our scintillating comeback. But the pleas of the coaches and petitions to the League Office tend to get lost in the shuffle, ultimately falling on deaf ears, since every player and team feel mistreated to varying degrees when the whistle blows (or does not). In this context, valid and substantive claims of malfeasance often amount to nothing. “Another complainer. Been there, done that. Complaint form meet wastebasket.”

We need not one, but two, All-Stars to be named when the naming comes.

This will be a glorious occurrence indeed! Hail the potential day in all its manifest splendor! 

It was encouraging to see Fox moving fast and fluid vs TOR, on second of a back-to-back, including the Clutch Points to ice the victory. The best version of Fox is back. The two games off appear to have done wonders, just what the doctor ordered, just what he needed; the mental and physical break to return to elite form. Fox registered an undeniable all-star performance, as did Sabonis, a virtual lock to be named to the team. 

The real exclamation point and declaration to the league comes when Fox is included among exclusive company, the Top 30 in the world. 

Until Fox is named to an All Star team, or playoffs are reached, whichever comes first, he will be perceived by casuals and outsiders (which includes refs) as a loser, an underachiever. At best he is a poor man’s Ja, though he usually outplays him when they go head-to-head. Fox is Kangz personified, an embodiment of failure and 50 loss seasons. He is a good PG on a bad team experiencing a modest blip, a minor uptick unlikely to last. This is the prevailing bias, the myopic mindset of the officials, regardless of objectivity claimed and inherent to the requirements of the job, the consensus that clouds their effing reffing. 

The only way to alter this perception is to be SO good you can no longer be treated like a G-Leaguer on a two-way. This requires Fox being named to the team with Sabonis. This is the momentous event that awaits, the designation that affirms everything. This is the validation we should not need, but require, to get a better whistle in the latter half of the season and into our post-season. An All-Star appearance is forever. And it will knock some sense into the worst of the bad refs shaking loose the cobwebs and perpetual bias.

But Sabonis has made the all-star team 2X and he gets pummelled like a heavyweight to no avail. Exactly my point! This is the daunting prejudice and soiled reputation that must be overcome with SAC on the front of your jersey. And this is why games like tonight versus DET cannot be squandered. We need to be about 8-10 games over .500 at the time the votes are tallied to assure Fox and Sabonis get an invitation to Utah on Feb 17-19, 2023.

It is NOT enough for Fox to play as well as did if the outcome is sad. We need him to be instrumental AND run the table, more or less, especially against the dregs and with the lighter part of the schedule on the horizon. No more bad losses allowed, @ PHI annd @NYK.

With regard to all-star nods, and borderline cases, gaudy stats are discounted, rightfully so, when achieved amidst mediocrity. The virtual tie goes to the player on the better team. 

I envision Sabonis getting named to the team and Fox left out if we hover 3-4 games over .500. In fact, this is the most probable outcome. If we separate ourselves from the pack, go on another 7 or 8 game tear, stake claim to a Top 4 seed, two players being named to the all-star team is justified and probable.

Compounding matters, and challenge for Fox faces before the votes are submitted, is we have a rookie and second year player NOT carrying their load. If there is disappointment to the season, a nit to pick, besides backup center, it is this.

Where are the breakout games from our young guns? Waiting! Huerter is in a terrible slump too, trying to get healthy and locked in. Davion and Keegan are averaging 18 PPG combined on below average efficiency from 2s and 3s. I expected closer to 25 PPG, or 10 PPG and 15 PPG, respectively, and better accuracy.

In 20 MPG, Davion is averaging 6 PPG on 44% FGs and 29% from 3. He cannot buy a shot from deep. With his work ethic and experience last season, I anticipated progress, not regression. When he was drafted, our GM anticipated a two-way player, not one way. Too many open clanks! Davion added more arc to his shot in the middle of last season. Prettier aesthetics and results, but no carryover in year two. Monk’s shot has as much arc, at times, but how many splendid shooters shoot a Moon Ball? I may be grasping, when it is as likely an issue of confidence and more real game reps required, but Davions shot arc may border on excessive.

Keegan is averaging 11 PPG in 29 MPG, 36% from deep, 43% FGs, hardly reflective of his uber efficient summer, camp, and four game start to the season when his TS% was near 70% and 19 PPG. The more Keegan and Davion can step up to end the calendar year and in January, join the party along with Monk, HB and TD, and feast on the plethora of open shots they get, courtesy of Fox’s and Ox’s gravity and craft, the less dependent we become on Fox to get us 30 PPG, the less taxed he will be to carry the scoring load, and to spearhead of our defense at the point of attack. The healthier he will remain.

My contention therefore is for this season to proceed and play out in Fairytale Fashion, to end the drought, for the Light the Beam operator to need a few new fuses due to frequency of usage, and for Fox to named to the All Star team, with his primary cohort, we need said complementary players to do a little more complementing. Then the brilliance of Fox will take place with a .750 winning percentage for a few weeks or longer. 

As relates to wins and losses after 82 games, and post-season fortunes, it seems relatively pointless to receive a subjective honor to play in a pointless midseason game. Nay, I say! When Fox and Sabonis get the nod of approval, external validation from reputable sources (NBA coaches) the refs cannot help but notice, along with everyone else. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is.

Then when you dare to swallow your whistle, or miss the obvious, you are not disregarding another guy on the court, you are disregarding a Sacramento King 2022-23 NBA All-Star. An arbitrary award has never felt so important, for Fox, for the franchise, and a fanbase ready to rock n roll.  

andy_sims
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December 16, 2022 3:53 pm

I’ve been literally killing time the past couple of hours while I wait for the game to start. Scrolling on Post and Twitter, took a shower, trying to stay awake, shocking people with my grotesque neck wound.

Quite the day!

Yakshi
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December 16, 2022 8:07 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

The stuff they gave you for the neck wound must be awesome. Get well soon!

andy_sims
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December 17, 2022 10:17 am
Reply to  Yakshi

Thanks! It’s pretty good, but I miss the IV meds. That shit is dope.

Mmm hmm.

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