I've got to say, this preview is going to be harder to write than most. It's not that there isn't anything to say - hell, the whole weekend was filled with Kings-related drama! But the fruit born from the trees of said drama are just so, so low hanging that it feels cheap to even try to riff on them. There's no parody to be done that can touch the strange, pathetic hilarious reality we Kings fans live in and thus, I have no other option than to not even try. We all knew that Luke Walton's time was borrowed after the Kings slipped to the worst start of his tenure in Sacramento, but who could have ever written a more fitting ending to his time here than:
Having a close game against a much better opponent start it's fourth quarter with a 14-2 run by the Jazz, that was then stopped for fifteen minutes plus because a fan sitting courtside heaved his last few meals onto the court, various Kings workers, Slamson and anyone within smell range of him - smiling and a staring deep into Rudy Gobert's eyes the whole time. The Kings, and my sides, never recovered.
Walton's final sentence - finished not with a period or ellipses, but with an interrobang(SFW).
So, here we are. Alvin Gentry is the sixth head coach of Vivek's tenure, De'Aaron Fox has reverted to near rookie standards of play and the Kings have got as many fans in the stands as they have forwards on their roster... and there is sixty plus games left to get worse. Speaking of games, the Sixers are in town, and Sacramento is ready to showcase literally anyone who could nab them the most available star on the market. After winning eight of their first ten games, the Sixer's pulled what shall hence forth be known as a "Puke Walton" and proceeded to lose six of their last seven. Joel Embiid is day-to-day with COVID protocol restrictions and Danny Green is just run-of-the-mill old and creaky, they're both out tonight. Tobias Harris has some hip soreness and is questionable. Outside of their big three and a key role player all potentially being sidelined? The Sixers are totally healthy and ready to get back to their winning ways - a task they must know the Kings could help them with. Anyways, welcome to the new look Kings, same as the ever were!
Let's talk Kings basketball!
When: Monday, November 22nd, 7:00 PM PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
TV: NBCSCA - Mark Jones (play-by-play)
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
All Eyes on D(e'Aaron): I've got to give the Kings credit and say that they played hard enough against the Jazz that it warranted actually writing a preview instead of just spamming all of your eyes with placeholder text. I mean, I don't have to give them credit - they lost by a sizeable margin and have generally sucked bad enough to get their coach fired less than 20 games into the season... but eh, they did the bare minimum to get me to put actual words down.
So we don't have to beat around the bush here, the Kings are playing the Sixers B-squad tonight. While, yes, it is fortuitous, don't get it twisted - the Sixers still have more than enough talent to smack the Kings in the mouth and leave Golden 1 Center with a victory. Seth Curry, who has broken all the way out this season, and second year guard Tyrese Maxey, provide enough scoring and playmaking to get the job done on a night where De'Aaron Fox is playing like, well, like he's played for half his games this season. Andre Drummond is Joel Embiid but as far as back up centers go, he's pretty damn good. He's huge, he's always a smidge of motivation from grabbing 16 rebounds... He's enough. Guys like Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton and Paul Reed are all probably starters or massive contributors on this Kings squad and the Sixers can employ them as they see fit off the bench. Philly might have their three best guys out, but again, this team is enough even without them.
As for the Kings - I'd expect some changes in the way business is run. Maybe not anything ground shaking, but... at least more in line with what Monte McNair is looking for from his coach. For one: I'd expect the Kings to use three guard lineups with Harrison Barnes at the four spot. Monte's press conference following his firing of the coach he recently believed would lead the Kings back to the playoffs wasn't anything illuminating, but the closest he came to actually giving a reason was when he said he felt the Kings could play a good deal faster than they'd been playing. So, I wouldn't be surprised to see either Buddy Hield or Davion Mitchell in the starting lineup tonight. I'd also expect to see less in the way of hard set, never wavering rotations. Walton had this really stupid habit of setting who exactly his guys were for a set number of games and then never wavering on that, or trying anyone new when the time grew desperate. Tristan Thompson playing tonight? Well, then Alex Len isn't going to be seen. Chimezie Metu? He's going to start for exactly five games before we evaluate again. I don't think Gentry has such habits and thus adjustments might be a bit more lax and the rotation itself might open a bit more. Because, you know, the Kings are supposedly a deep team and keeping your rotation to eight or nine guys no matter what kiiiinda defeats the purpose of that.
I didn't drop any hard stats because neither of these teams are who they are, you know? They're each in their own on-the-fly situations that could play out far differently than the last 15 or so games have. The Kings have a shot tonight to get back in the win column with a depleted Sixers team or they could further prove just how far they have to go if they want to be taken seriously in this league.
Barf guy runs for Mayor and ends up with 80+ percent of the vote.
Kings: 116, Sixers: 108