Articles | Interviews

Luke Walton discusses the Kings late-season play, provides update on Marvin Bagley

Luke Walton spoke with the media on Wednesday and discussed how the team is handling COVID-19, Marvin Bagley's health, and provided his thoughts on the season to this point.

Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton held a conference call with local and national media Wednesday. He discussed how the players are managing the COVID-19 crisis, what he thought of the season up until this point, provided an update on Marvin Bagley, discussed what he has noticed on film and more.

Below are some excerpts from the call.

On COVID-19:

According to Walton, the coaching staff is staying in constant communication with the players. There's not a whole lot the players can do other than get some shots up on their own hoops because of social distancing, but the trainers are sending them the equipment they need to stay in shape. They also have access to online workouts and yoga classes on Zoom.

Walton said he is proud of what all of the players are doing to help out in communities.

The NBA is having calls with coaches and GMs. Walton said the league is looking into every possible option to play again, but that €œthere's not an answer yet.€

What He Has Seen While Watching Kings Film:

"I was really pleased with the way we were playing over the last 20, 25 games. €¦ We were really starting to play some consistent basketball, where we were just going out and playing and defending and just playing the way we want to play. Guys were understanding each other and knowing and playing off each other, and you could see it in these games. So, there was some really exciting stuff to continue to build on and there's some stuff that we want to continue to try more €“ five-out actions with some of our smaller lineups that we were getting to. Having De'Aaron [Fox] back and having him play at the level he was playing at, running some more of the pistol actions and continuing to get Harrison [Barnes] some more looks at the four. Little things like that, that's been exciting to go back and watch.€

On Why the Team Was Playing Well Down the Stretch:

"We were playing some pretty high-level basketball as far as a team that is embracing what it needs to do. What I mean by that is individuals understanding their roles, individuals understanding what we need out of them and then those individuals making sacrifices for the betterment of the team. I think that's why we were winning games at a pretty solid rate there toward the end."

"Alex [Len] and Baze [Kent Bazemore] coming over really brought some toughness, some physicality that we need and the defensive level that was being played. And then a big part was having De'Aaron get going like that, he was starting to get to the free throw line consistently and the last the few games I think he was shooting up around, I know it's a small sample size, but he was shooting around 90 percent from the free throw line those last few games. If he can get there eight times a night, that's going to be helpful."

"Buddy [Hield] was really dominating his role for us coming off the bench. Bogi [Bogdan Bogdanovic] in the starting lineup was making nice basketball plays. So, we had a lot of good positive things going for us as a team. We were excited, we were looking forward to every matchup we were playing and our guys were giving it their all."

An Update on the Health of Marvin Bagley:

"Marvin is doing great, he's feeling much better. €¦ He feels much better and he's been asking for film clips and we've been sending him videos to study and he's excited about playing ball again."

On monitoring his rehabilitation: "A lot of my talks with Marvin are more along the lines of how he's doing, how he's feeling mentally, emotionally. I leave the specifics of the details of what he's doing rehab wise to the medical staff, but he's doing a great job of practicing his social distancing and staying safe and staying with his family and for him, he's got some brothers so he can get out in the backyard and play a little bit more than just get shots up. But he says that he's in a really good place and his body is feeling good and he's looking forward to being able to play ball again."

On if the season were started now, would he be cleared to practice and play and if he would have any way to know that: "No, I mean there's stages he'd have to go through just like if we were in a normal part of the season. We'd have to get him out there to do some three-on-three, some five-on-five and all that first. And then again, that would come down to the medical staff."

On the Team's Three-Point Shooting:

"I thought we've done a nice job all season of understanding the concept of how we want to play with that and the big difference I think is as the season went on we started to get a better feel for the type of three-point shots we wanted, not just about shooting a lot of threes. We want to continue to attack the paint, continue to get inside and then kick the ball out for threes. I think as we understood that more and understood each other as a team more, we did a much better job of getting the type of threes we wanted and because of that our three-point numbers started going up and by the end of the stretch that we are at, we were shooting the lights out of the ball. It was pretty much every single night, but because we were playing unselfish, we were playing as a team, we were playing aggressive I think is why those numbers were so high and so impressive toward the end there."

On How Close They Were To Achieving Consistent Winning/Play:

"It's tough to measure, but I can tell you this: The way we were playing is where we were trying to get to and once you get to that level, you'll still have winning streaks and you'll have losing streaks, but they won't be as drastic as what was going on earlier in the season.€

€œWatching those games and just feeling those games before this hiatus I could feel and see that we had gotten to the consistency part that I was constantly talking about."

***

From what Walton said, the team and the league in general is putting the safety and health of everyone first instead of rushing back into things, which is obviously the right thing to do. It is new territory for everyone in the world and certainly creates a new dynamic for players and coaching staffs.

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HongKongKingsFan
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April 22, 2020 6:38 pm

Just shut Marvin Bagley down even if he is healthy to play …. when the season resume normal………..
The team is doing great without him…and he is a black-hole in every categories……

Coach is right, ” €œAlex [Len] and Baze [Kent Bazemore] coming over really brought some toughness, some physicality that we need and the defensive level that was being played. “…..

As Bagley provide none of the toughness and defense……….so, there is no wrong to shut him down.

LukashoulbeaKing77
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April 22, 2020 8:14 pm

Honestly I just wanna see Marvin play some more this year no matter what. He needs reps. He dosent need to be going into his 3rd season having played less than 82 games

RikSmits
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April 22, 2020 10:05 pm

Agreed. Having a clear view on what you can expect from your franchise pick is more important than chasing a chance to experience a 4 game sweep.

Imagine no more NBA this season, and a truncated season next year, with only marginal improvement from Bagley, and then we are closing in on the time to pick up his option at a salary of $ 15 million and a cap hold of $ 28 million. Yikes.

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 12:10 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Cap holds only matter when cap space is concerned. FWIW.

Gregoryl
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April 23, 2020 10:52 am

Damn you all to hell on your profile pic!

Otis
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April 22, 2020 6:51 pm

Did anyone ask how much the settlement cost him?

Kingsguru21
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April 22, 2020 7:16 pm
Reply to  Otis

You are nothing if not a pissant, Perry.

ThisHotFireKevin
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April 22, 2020 8:35 pm
Reply to  Otis

Well, at least you’re consistent.

Glad you’re here Otis .

Otis
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April 23, 2020 3:57 am

You too Kevin!

Sadly, I think everyone knew this is how it would go. Quiet payoff and everyone moves on. If the team starts winning, even better.

TheFifthMookie
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April 23, 2020 8:19 am
Reply to  Otis

It’s gone exactly by the playbook honestly.

G-naps
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April 23, 2020 8:22 am
Reply to  TheFifthMookie

depends on what ones definition of “winning” is.

RikSmits
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April 23, 2020 8:51 am
Reply to  Otis

Happy to make this purple.

Ah, dammit!

Carl
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April 23, 2020 11:11 am
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Feature request!

Aykis16
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Nostradumbass 13
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April 23, 2020 1:14 pm
Reply to  Carl

It’s on the list!

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 1:36 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

People are quite demanding 48 hours in.

MaybeNextYear
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April 22, 2020 7:19 pm

i think the safest route forward is to wait til 2020-2021, and just roll this year’s games played into next year. Have FA, the draft, etc, then have a 2020-2022 season with more than 82 games.

BenSimmions3ptshot
April 22, 2020 8:20 pm
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

I’m not from America (Australian) so maybe I’m a bit off base but without getting too political is it even likely next season let alone this season will happen, with your presidents way of “handling” things in the past,present and more then likely future I cant see this virus being wiped out until there is a vaccine and it is mass produced and distributed. Last I read on that from what I believe from memory was a WHO report the world is likely 12-24 months away from.

Kosta
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April 22, 2020 8:32 pm

With the way things are going, the NBA will be opened up again next week!

By the way, I figured out a replacement for the “z” function. I press the flag button next to all of the comments I’ve finished reading.

RikSmits
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April 22, 2020 9:25 pm
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Oh, so that is where the flags are for? Excellent!

Klam
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April 22, 2020 10:04 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Flagged.

Carl
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April 22, 2020 10:23 pm

You are very much on base.

comment image

Also, I’m going apeshit on vaccine day.

comment image

TheFifthMookie
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April 23, 2020 6:26 pm

it’ll be a function of how widespread and easy testing is more than anything else imho, and/or if a treatment that keeps people from having to be intubated comes up sooner than later.

Carl
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April 22, 2020 10:19 pm
Reply to  MaybeNextYear

Username checks out.

Sonja
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April 22, 2020 7:27 pm

That just felt good to read about our team again. Thank you!

ThisHotFireKevin
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April 22, 2020 8:37 pm

I don’t get it..
-would Marvin be able to play today?
€œUhh probably not€
-what’s Marvins injury ?
€œWell it’s day to day; he’ll be evaluated again in two weeks.

It’s absurd that this is still being trotted out as some sort of talking point that we all buy.
The guy is either hurt enough to just say he’s done for season… or he’s not and they are playing some weird game of chicken with themselves.

RikSmits
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April 22, 2020 9:30 pm

That’s a nasty thing to say. The Kings have great medical and PR staff. They are the bestest. Every team would wish to have such a medical staff and PR staff. Luke gives them a ten out of ten.

Carl
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April 22, 2020 10:18 pm

This is what I came in to ask. What was allegedly wrong with Bagley again? Some thigh injury or something? It feels like a year ago, and I genuinely don’t remember.

Klam
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April 22, 2020 10:41 pm
Reply to  Carl

And didn’t the Kings medical staff change the diagnosis with him (and Holmes) and then wouldn’t say anything when the supposed return timetable didn’t happen?

Kingsguru21
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April 22, 2020 10:56 pm
Reply to  Carl

Yall questioning shit like the Kings org ain’t Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo or Rapheal.

Y’all straight up dirty.

TheFifthMookie
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April 23, 2020 8:24 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Bagley’s been out nearly as long as you’ve been away, and you didn’t need two separate explanations….

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 9:03 am
Reply to  TheFifthMookie

I wasn’t missing. I could be found. Assuming anyone cared enough to look.

I, on the other hand, am also not the #2 pick in the NBA draft. As it stands were it not for Swipa, Vlade’s entire tenure as GM is a complete and total clusterfuck coming and going. And hell even with Swipa it’s looking that way.

The problem with picking a good GM, the more I think about it, is it comes down to prerogative. And this organization has done nothing but fall into a black hole every time in that regard. Cross your fingers and pray is all you can really do with this group running things.

Otis
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April 23, 2020 9:24 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

It seems like his best moves (besides drafting Fox, as you note) come from finding a few gems in the middle-tier free agent market (Bjelica, Holmes). But even at that, his list of signings via free agency are pretty unimpressive overall, considering his “big ticket” signings mostly need to be traded or benched during their tenure here.

Carl
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April 23, 2020 11:13 am
Reply to  Otis

But look how great Vlade is for repeatedly starting a house fire and then saving half the house from burning down!

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 12:02 pm
Reply to  Carl

You were supposed to be nice to the Kings today Carl. Didn’t you get the memo?

TheFifthMookie
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April 23, 2020 9:26 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

oh yeah, I 10000% agree – this organization is a shit-show of historic proportions, and can’t seem to get anything right, and automatically undoes anything it gets right by accident (Malone, Joerger).

I knew you were on twitter, but I didn’t visit twitter until the 1 month gap between that other place stopped being good and this one opened, and honestly, I suck at twitter even now.

Hope you stick around!

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 12:01 pm
Reply to  TheFifthMookie

Thanks Mookie. I appreciate ya!

And having been on/off Twitter for many years I’ll let you in on a secret: Everyone sucks at it.

Otis
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April 23, 2020 5:23 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Twitter is much easier when you accept that 95% of questions asked are rhetorical.

G-naps
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April 23, 2020 7:07 am

Or its just the typical front office speak where theyre positioning themselves to blame the guy whos on his way out.

This is a odd to me to call out when asked regarding Bagleys health €œA lot of my talks with Marvin are more along the lines of how he’s doing, how he’s feeling mentally, emotionally”

furious.d
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April 23, 2020 9:36 am

It makes sense to me that clearing him would require going through a standard set of drills and the medical team monitoring how his body reacts. Obviously none of that can happen during social distancing, so he can’t be cleared even if he feels 100%.

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 12:08 pm
Reply to  furious.d

I agree there was nothing particularly useful or revealing about Bagley. But these days because my default position is that this organization screws everything up regardless of intent, it matters not, in the end, once the final analysis is in.

dhackett
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April 23, 2020 5:47 am

At least he’s actually (allegedly) watching tape during the downtime

ZillersCat
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April 23, 2020 9:01 am
Reply to  Dave Hackett

Well, we are all watching tape. Better than NBA 2K best of clips.

dhackett
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April 23, 2020 9:53 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

true, it’s almost as if it takes a worldwide pandemic for Luke to watch some damn tape

RoyaleWithCheese
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April 23, 2020 11:32 am
Reply to  Dave Hackett

Luke is so dumb, are we sure the tape is not watching him?

TonyXypteras
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April 23, 2020 8:25 am

I realized again how much I missed basketball reading this. It feels like so long since we heard something new from the organization. I can’t wait to have games to watch.

PoundTheRock
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April 23, 2020 8:37 am

It’s crazy, I had forgotten about Len and Baze. This pandemic has scrambled my brain pretty solid.

LandParkJimmer
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April 23, 2020 8:45 am

Holmes is better than Bagley will ever be. Trade Bagley and move on.

Kingsguru21
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April 23, 2020 8:47 am

I don’t even know why it matters what Bagley’s status is at this point. Granted the Kings suck donkey balls, on a good day, when it comes to messaging and the like. So they always bungle something up even when they don’t. What Walton said was really not out of bounds or noteworthy but because of our extreme mistrust of the organization, at this time, we don’t trust what would normally be seen as normal, basic progressions.

And so it goes.

BBIQ4U
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April 23, 2020 8:50 am

Bobby Jackson says all Bagley does is post fake workouts to Instagram and he doesn’t really work on his game at all. This makes me sad but I believe it

TonyXypteras
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April 23, 2020 8:50 am
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Where/When did Bobby say that?

G-naps
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April 23, 2020 9:06 am
Reply to  TonyXypteras

Maybe BBIQ is Bobby Jackson and we are now finding out that Bobby Jackson takes the Rickey Henderson approach and refers to himself in 3rd person.

BBIQ4U
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April 23, 2020 3:38 pm
Reply to  TonyXypteras

My buddy goes out drinking with Bobby now and then. Over the years he’s told me a hand full of things Bobby has said to him and they’ve all ended up being true. This was said relayed to me only recently, but was said by B Jax right before lockdown.

FuckThatGiraffe
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April 23, 2020 10:35 am
Reply to  BBIQ4U

I’mma need some source on this.

Gregoryl
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April 23, 2020 10:51 am
Reply to  BBIQ4U

Isn’t Bobby a coach?? Doesn’t seem like something a coach would say. Unless that coach was George Karl.

KinGEdW
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April 23, 2020 11:07 am
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If Bobby Jackson says that he would be automatically fired. Nobody can say anything wrong about Bagley!

1951
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April 23, 2020 9:24 am

I forgot how much seeing Luke’s dumb face associated with the Kings irks me.

/shrugs

TheFifthMookie
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April 23, 2020 6:22 pm
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“You’ve already voted for this comment”
but I want to vote it up over and over!

MidtownMike
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April 23, 2020 9:25 am

NFL Draft today!

Gregoryl
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April 23, 2020 11:13 am
Reply to  MidtownMike

Which track superstar with zero football ability will the Raiders take this year?!

1951
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April 23, 2020 11:32 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Marvin Bagley?

L-Train3.1
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April 26, 2020 12:49 am
Reply to  1951

No, he is the one with questionable basketball ability

Bitgod
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April 23, 2020 12:16 pm

Ugh, I was just thinking yesterday how nice this has been to not think about Luke Walton.

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