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Phoenix 108, Sacramento 107: Kings shot at the seven seed eclipsed by the Sun(s)

Sacramento had everything in front of them. They finished behind once again.
By | 166 Comments | Apr 12, 2024

Apr 12, 2024; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis (10) reacts to a call during the fourth quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO — The phrase “must-win game” is among the most overused in sports.

Though the Kings still *technically* were alive for the six seed in the Western Conference and thus a spot in the actual playoffs heading into Thursday night’s showdown with the Pelicans, the first quarter of that game eliminated not just the slim possibilities of that, but the hope that the Kings could at all control their own destiny over the final weekend of the regular season.

Coming off that stinging loss, Sacramento welcomed the Suns to Golden1 Center one night later, now in a “must-win” situation as they looked to avoid falling to the single-elimination portion of the Play-In Tournament next week.

With luminaries like Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and LeBron James all seemingly destined to be in the Play-In, the Kings are more of an afterthought in the NBA’s postseason. And frankly, down the stretch, they’ve played like one. The losses of Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk have more than just stymied the offensive fluidity and creativity that define this team at its best, they’ve rendered the bench short and player’s legs tired. Settling for threes and hitting the front rim on jump shots has told that story over the last week to ten days, but with just two games to play in the regular season, and two wins necessitated to stay in contention to host a postseason game, the Kings looked to dig deep and find one last burst.

What ended up bursting was their chance at the seven seed.

The first quarter was sloppy and physical, as Sacramento forced three turnovers in the first 90 seconds but trailed early after starting 0-5 from the field. Fortunately, the Suns weren’t much better, and at the first timeout, they led just 11-6.

Sacramento came out of the timeout – during which they honored Chris Webber, in town promoting his new book – with a little juice, as Keon Ellis connected on a tough shot and hit the free throw for a three-point play. But he badly air balled a three on the ensuing possession, sucking the air out of a building that was ready to explode. But Harrison Barnes wasn’t ready to throw in the towel, hitting a three to put the Kings up 12-11 and connecting on a three-point play of his own a few possessions later to retake the lead 15-14. That’s when Domantas Sabonis took over.

A near-disaster of a play by Sabonis followed Barnes’ heroics, as he lost the ball several times in the paint only to find himself alone behind the three point line, where he connected. It was a welcome sign for Sacramento, as the center had recently seen his double-double streak broken and struggled on offense the night before against the Pelicans. He scored 11 points in a dominant first quarter on his way to a 25/12/9 night. Sacramento finished on a 9-4 run to take a 27-22 lead after one.

The second quarter was a story of missed opportunities, as neither team could do enough on offense to put any distance between the other. Sacramento had just four points at the 6:15 mark, but a successful challenge by Mike Brown sparked his squad.

Brown challenged what would have been Sabonis’ third foul for an illegal screen, which was very obviously a terrible call on replay. Brown won the challenge, saved Sabonis from that third foul, and even got one called on Booker – giving Sacramento the ball and leading to a De’Aaron Fox bucket. Sacramento went on a 9-0 run after that play, punctuated by four forced turnovers and a Sabonis poster on Booker.

The Kings finished the quarter on a 23-13 run, forcing 12 first half turnovers by the Suns and taking a 54-45 advantage into the break.

The Suns came out firing out of the halftime break Friday night, but in a welcome change, the Kings matched them shot for shot. Sacramento turned their nine point first half advantage into 14 in a flourish, forcing a Phoenix timeout. 

With the Suns threatening, Keon Ellis ended an 0-4 streak from three to put his team back up 14 with 5:29 to play in the quarter, forcing another Suns timeout. Phoenix followed with a quick 5-0 run, and Brown stemmed the tide with a timeout of his own. Sacramento would hold serve through the frame and take an 11 point lead into the fourth quarter, only to see Phoenix claw within five on a Grayson Allen three pointer just a minute in. Allen would convert a three-point play moments later to draw his team within three, and Bradley Beal would tie things up at 91 seconds later to force another Brown timeout.

The Kings pushed the lead back to five thanks to a near impossible driving layup by Fox, who connected as he was falling to the court thanks to a lot of contact in the paint. Allen answered with another three, giving him nine points in the quarter, but Barnes was able to answer, drawing Booker’s fifth foul and hitting both free throws. On the ensuing possession, Fox picked Allen’s pocket, and set up Murray for a three to put Sacramento up seven with 4:48 to play.

The biggest five minutes of their season in front of them, the Kings stumbled.

Bradley Beal connected on a three point play, and Sacramento’s next two attempts were blocked.

But Phoenix could not score on their next two possessions either, and HB took the ball hard to the rack to draw two free throws, pushing the lead back to six with 3:35 to play. Not only was Barnes aggressive on offense, his work defending Kevin Durant was impressive as well – especially down the stretch as the All Star shot just 1-3 from the field in the fourth quarter.

Barnes also had a key bucket with two minutes to play to put his team up four, but Phoenix scored the next four to tie the game at 107 with 51.8 remaining. Fox couldn’t hit the midrange on the next possession, and though the defense forced an Allen miss, Sabonis was called for a foul on the rebound. Nurkic went 1-2 to put the Suns up 108-107 with 8.7 to play.

Once again, the phrase “must-win” came into play.

With the seven seed within their grasp thanks to a Warriors loss, Sacramento needed a player to step up and make a play. As has been the case far too often down the stretch, it didn’t happen.

Fox had two chances at getting off a potential game winner; the first, Phoenix used their foul to give, the second, he lost the ball while triple teamed, turning it over and ending the game.

The final play wasn’t without controversy, though.

“I got fouled. He wasn’t even close to the ball,” Fox bemoaned after the game.

Brown echoed the sentiment.

“From my seat, I’m just baffled,” Brown said. “I’m not sure why we can’t get a call from an NBA official down the stretch. For them to call a box out on Sabonis when the game is as physical as it is and give them two free throw attempts to take the lead with seconds left… I hope I’m wrong, but from my seat, it looked like Fox got hit across the arm. I actually pray that I’m wrong because I’ll sleep better at night.”

In a season that has had its share of disappointing losses, few will sting as much as this one.

Though games come down to much more than a final play or blown call, Mike Brown is obviously tired of the same story being told during this critical stretch run. Whether it was the non-travel call against Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Colby Jones getting hit across the face without a whistle, or tonight’s disparity in contact in each team’s final possession, it’s wearing on the team and the coach.

“It’s tough to wait for the two minute report to hear these things when it’s right in front of them,” Brown said. “To get another two minute report that says they made a crucial mistake in a game this critical, it’s just not fair.”

All five starters for Sacramento finished in double-figures; in addition to Sabonis’ team-high 25, Fox and Murray both had 23, Ellis 17, and Barnes 12. Durant led the Suns with 28, while Booker (21), Beal (20), and Allen (19) all contributed offensively. Sacramento shot just 44% from the field and got just seven points from their bench.

The Kings will now need help to avoid the single elimination 9/10 game, and can no longer control their own destiny in that regard. They will need to beat Portland in the regular season finale Sunday and get help from their arch nemesis Pelicans in order to secure the eight seed and a likely trip to Phoenix. 

But no matter what happens Sunday, it will be hard to not look back over the last week and wonder what might have been. Losing five of the last six, including two by one possession, certainly hurts.

“I think we had chances to win, obviously,” Fox said. “We have to figure it out at some point. We can’t sit here and act like the season is over; we are locked into a play-in game. We still have a chance but we have to figure this out.”

On to the Trailblazers.

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Greg
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April 12, 2024 10:47 pm

The Kings shouldn’t let these games come down to the final possessions and allow it to be decided by a ref call or non-call. That said, we’re looking at three losses in a row with a missed call on the final possession, and that’s bullshit.

Last edited 1 month ago by Greg Wissinger
WizsSox
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April 12, 2024 11:06 pm
Reply to  Greg

Has anybody seen a clean angle that shows if Fox was hit on arm or not on final possession? Couldn’t tell from angles I saw

Ellis5
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April 12, 2024 11:44 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

The final possession is meaningless… The NBA works top down

Jman1949
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April 13, 2024 9:31 am
Reply to  WizsSox

This clip shows that when Beal reaches in, his hand is well above where the ball is. What’s not clear is whether he gets a piece of the ball before getting Fox’s arm as Fox brings the ball up. SGA or Ja get that call in their favor 9 out of 10 times. Fox might get that call once in 100 times.

eddie41
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April 13, 2024 10:21 am
Reply to  Jman1949

still difficult to tell from that angle. but compare it to Davion stuffing SGA two nights ago, getting all ball and only hitting the arm after the ball was knocked loose, and SGA getting the call.

Carl
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April 13, 2024 11:29 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Taking a mid range jump shot against a triple team is just a bad play to begin with.

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:43 am
Reply to  Carl

Exactly. No 1/2 court O. It’s all
1-1 3 ball bullshit.

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:43 am
Reply to  Jman1949

He may have been founded but they shouldn’t have been in this position. And Fox very well would have missed 1 or 2 of the freethrows.

The foundation and approach is off. The remainder is just bullshit complaining

Ellis5
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April 12, 2024 11:24 pm
Reply to  Greg

50 mill is a lot of money

Ellis5
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April 12, 2024 11:34 pm
Reply to  Greg

sorry glitch issues

Last edited 1 month ago by Ellis5
Ellis5
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April 12, 2024 11:51 pm
Reply to  Greg

The Kings shouldn’t let these games come down to the final possessions and allow it to be decided by a ref call or non-call. 

Mike120
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April 13, 2024 12:20 am
Reply to  Ellis5

Murray missed a dunk, Sabonis throws it to Beal for a layup. There’s 4 points missed/given away.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:40 am
Reply to  Greg

I have to confess to all of you because what happened to me last night has never happened before watching a King’s game. I am an optomist not eternal but never the least an optomist but at around 3 minutes left in the game and up by 6 I knew we were going to lose. I can’t tell you why but I did. I should have went to bed but because I am a King’s fan and always will be I stayed up to see maybe I was wrong. There is an old saying I have used several times this season that says”When the going gets tough the tough get going”. Sorry to say this year the King’s aren’t tough enough. The undoing IMO started long ago with the first of many loses to lower bracket teams. The King’s could not overcome those loses. It is what it is. Getting back to last nights game when we still had a chance to win the coaching staff decided with a timeout and 6 seconds left to get the ball to Fox to possibly win the game. IMO one of the worst decisions made this year. Everyone in the arena knew where the ball was going along with the Sun’s coaches. Fox never would have had a chance in hell to score. He tried because that’s what was asked of him. He drove into at least 2 or maybe 3 defenders, their best defenders and that was it. If IMO when Fox got the ball he should have been the decoy and passed to anyone of at least 2 open players for a shot. Maybe Murray or Keon or Barnes who probably wanted that shot because he had missed one earlier in the season. IMO that would have at least given us a chance. But knowing what I felt 3 minutes earlier I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I’m not disgusted or diappointed in the team but feel sorry for them as well as the coaches and FO but mainly feel sorry for the fans who have come out every night and supported this team. GO KINGS!

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:47 am
Reply to  Jack

Of course you thought they’d lose because this team is not built to win playoff games. Weren’t last year. Didn’t do anything to fix that.

I knew they were going to lose- from the Knicks game a few weeks back you could see the Kings have not figured out the 1/2 court O under pressure. Like last year.

So, every time the get in a playoff type game the will lose on the end. It’s flawed and that’s what annoys me. They have gone backwards.

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:41 am
Reply to  Greg

I find it bullshit that people
think Refs missed calls cost this team. What about the horrid O in the clutch? Sabonis turning it over then committing an actual foul
before he committed another “maybe” foul.

The fact the Brown can’t see that the issue is a non existent 1/2 court O. One that does not utilize his players skills.

And not having Heurter and Monk is no excuse for losing all these games down the stretch. They still have their two superstars, if you can even call them that.

The Knicks have been without two of the best three players for weeks and I’ve managed to keep winning. Etc. etc.

AnybodyButBagley
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April 13, 2024 5:15 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

One disputed call by a ref doesn’t offset a game full of bad decisions.

Tankathon
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April 12, 2024 11:02 pm

That was an amazing collapse to watch. The Kings had a better chance of winning had they taken two consecutive shot clock violations INSTEAD of playing actual offense lol. Of all of the amazing collapses the season, I don’t know where I’d rank this. We’ll need an article on this over the summer

Last edited 1 month ago by Tankathon
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April 12, 2024 11:39 pm
Reply to  Tankathon

The cherry on the shit sundae would be one of the lakers or warriors eliminating the kings in the play in. I don’t know if I could come back from that trauma

TImorous_Me
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April 13, 2024 1:47 am
Reply to  Tankathon

How long have you been a Kings fan for already?

Tankathon
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April 13, 2024 6:36 am
Reply to  TImorous_Me

The first game I ever watched start to finish was Game 4 of the 02 WCF, the weekend of my 8th birthday so for me, my first basketball experience was hating the lakers

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:42 am
Reply to  Tankathon

You better. That could happen very easy.

ForKingsandCountry
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April 12, 2024 11:15 pm

At this point you just kinda laugh. Seriously curious what people are thinking with the 12th pick. Doubt we’ll get much for it but maybe they can get lucky and draft a contributor?

Tankathon
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April 12, 2024 11:28 pm

It sounds like the Kings might actually want to convey the pick this year if we want monte to have a war chest for trades but I wouldn’t put it past monte to not trade any picks even if they’re available.

ForKingsandCountry
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April 12, 2024 11:34 pm
Reply to  Tankathon

Oh if there’s any chance of them conveying the pick that would be good. I just can’t fathom this team winning two play-in games to make the playoffs.

BeTheBall
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April 13, 2024 12:51 am

Kyle Filipowski, screw it.

ForKingsandCountry
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April 13, 2024 12:55 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I’d really love a player that could theoretically play power forward effectively. I’m not sure Filipowski is that guy but maybe? Big wing feels like the way to go but I don’t know anything.

BeTheBall
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April 13, 2024 1:09 am

My feeling is that according to draft projections landing a wing would be either catching a falling knife or reaching, based on the slotting around our pick. Lots of combo guards who have issues from deep, or PGs that aren’t really guys you can trust running an offense.

He can space the floor, passes well for a big, and has shown improved rebounding.

It’s not a great draft, but he’s a younger guy who, if he develops, could solve our PF issue.

eddie41
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April 13, 2024 9:18 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

how about Jaylon Tyson or Tristan Da Silva?

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:44 am

Go after Jalen Smith who by the way is mine, Adamsites and Jerry’s pick.

rockbottom
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April 13, 2024 5:52 pm
Reply to  Jack

Agree, great fit with Domas and more ready to play than any draft pick .

eddie41
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April 13, 2024 9:14 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

He’d be a good pick. might go top 10 though.

eddie41
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April 13, 2024 9:12 am

yeah, time to look at prospects. on a positive note, I think this draft class has plenty of good players who will be available in the late lottery. And it would be fun hooking Will Griffith back in.

ForKingsandCountry
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April 13, 2024 9:59 am
Reply to  eddie41

Yeah I actually see more value in the late lottery than at the top of the lottery this year with no clear top of the draft players.

eddie41
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April 13, 2024 10:23 am
Reply to  eddie41

not in a tank commanding way … not suggesting that

GFunkClassic
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April 12, 2024 11:23 pm

Boy they really fumbled that one. Up 4 with 60 seconds or so….and you turn it over on a lazy pass? YEESH. That’s a rough one. Really hope they learn from this. Time is up, post season play is here

Mike120
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April 13, 2024 12:21 am
Reply to  GFunkClassic

Too late to be learning anything in game 81.

GFunkClassic
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April 13, 2024 1:02 am
Reply to  Mike120

Never too late to learn

rockbottom
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April 12, 2024 11:23 pm

No Malik, no bench , no chance .

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:49 am
Reply to  rockbottom

Would have a chance if their 2 stars and coaching staff were made for playoff winning hoops.

deepshot22
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April 12, 2024 11:59 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong here…
We beat the Blazers. Pelicans beat the Lakers.
We finish 8th and play in Phoenix for the 7th seed, right?

HongKongKingsFan
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April 13, 2024 12:16 am
Reply to  deepshot22

I think so….

as we have the edge over the Fakers and Dubs

Mike120
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April 13, 2024 12:22 am
Reply to  deepshot22

Correct. Do for all the shittery these past two weeks it’s conceivable the Kings win the next two games and become the 7.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 13, 2024 8:00 am
Reply to  deepshot22

Yup. Likely best case scenario at this point. Personally, I’d much rather face the Suns than the Lakers or Dubs.

Klam
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April 13, 2024 9:25 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Me too.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 12:11 am

That was again bad execution down the stretch.

Also, that final play was so uninspired. If you let Fox run into the teeth of a triple team it’s really difficult to expect a foul call. It was really hard to see what kind of play Brown had drawn up. Probably just give Foxy the ball and let him do his thing…

That offensive play before it? Wow. Why Fox was asking for the ball while locked in with Beal instead of using his speed to free himself up, and then Domas actually half lobbing that shitty pass? Holy crap.

The call on the Domas boxout was utter BS, but with those last two offensive possesions, we didn’t deserve to win.

HongKongKingsFan
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April 13, 2024 12:18 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I also don’t understand why there is still no set play or set screen or what ever play set for the last play.

All we have been seeing is just Fox ISO…………

All other teams knows it, and they willingly to double-team or triple-team Fox…

Mike Brown and Sabonis and Fox are the one to get blamed…

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:50 am

That’s exactly what I implied above. In all fairness after coaching the first 20 years I probably would have done the same. Took that long to figure it out. Last 25 years I would have done something differently.

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:51 am

This. All three shit at 1/2 court playoff O. It’s a joke. Have they learned nothing from last year?

Adamsite
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April 13, 2024 8:02 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Yup, that last play call with 8 seconds left was atrocious. It’s not like the Suns blew it up or anything. The Kings just had Fox try and dribble drive through multiple defenders.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 8:14 am
Reply to  Adamsite

What’s even worse is that neither Keon nor Keegan where in a place to help him out. Keon should have moved to give a better passing angle, and there was no-one near the top of the key, which was where Keegan should have been.

I tried to post a screenshot of that, but TKH is not posting it, for some reason.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 9:36 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Thanks, that’s a good one.

Royce O’Neale here can both help on Domas and shut down the passing angle to Keegan. Keegan should have already moved towards the 3 point line near the G of “Golden1”. If O’Neale would have reacted it at least would have given more room for Domas to move up to get a pass from Fox.

That’s ballwatching and really bad recognition by Keegan.

Keon should have either moved up for a better passing angle or cut baseline (harder pass but easier shot).

Jman1949
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April 13, 2024 11:09 am
Reply to  RikSmits

If Keon had moved up I think Allen still is in good position to cut off the pass or get to Keon to contest a shot. That would have at least drawn him further away from Fox. Keegan should have moved to the spot you identified as soon as Fox started making his move. Domas and HB standing next to each other under the basket does nothing for me.

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:55 am
Reply to  RikSmits

This is Browns O- there isn’t one. It’s just figure it out and beat your man and kick outs. It’s a non O and one that has never suited Domas/Keegan/Barnes and Huerter.

So wrong personal for a non O. They need set plays. It’s all very disappointing. The Kings are not in a good place.

Adamsite
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April 13, 2024 9:53 am
Reply to  Jman1949

They basically went into a 1-4 flat. It was that old Tyreke play.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 12:46 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I looked at the play several times and Keon was open in the left corner. Keon’s man not even close was moving to help out on Fox.

OLDBHOY
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April 13, 2024 8:15 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Agree with all. My question would be is it lack of coaching or more on the players?

I have blame for Fox. If he is a point guard (which I argue he is not) and he is triple teamed he should find an open teammate.

Also, with about 3 mins left Booker has his 5th foul and he got switched onto Fox at the top of the key with space. What did Fox do? He dribbled lazily twice and gave the ball up to Ellis who had to force a shot. He lacks game situation awareness.

What would SGA have done in that situation? Everybody knows he would attack and either finish or foul out Booker.

Fox is way too content with forcing jump shots. And the coaches seem fine with it.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 8:29 am
Reply to  OLDBHOY

I don’t know, but I am having difficulty understanding Mike Brown at the moment. After the loss to NY, where they shot 42 3’s, hekept saying for several games that they have to shoot more spray 3’s. The next 3 games, they took 51, 48 and 58 3’s respectively.

Now, in these last two games against New Orleans and Phoenix, they only shot 38 3’s each game. And I didn’t hear Brown complain about them not shooting enough spray 3’s.

So it seems to me that after game 79 of the season, Brown finally realised that the thing that he was still harping about in game 77 did not work? WTH?

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 11:59 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Brown is stubborn and lost in this it seems. The spray 3 shit doesn’t win in playoffs unless you are the Warriors.

It never has. Brown is not putting his players on position to win. And/or he doesn’t have the players to run his system.

Either way, there’s a disconnect between Brown and players and Brown a Monte perhaps.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 12:07 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Yeah, something seems to be off.

The COY-curse striking again?

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April 13, 2024 8:58 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

It’s a bummer and could be. How can these team have regressed this year?

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April 13, 2024 9:28 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I think it was just a 1-4 flat – Tyreke Evans’ favorite. No passing options. yippee

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April 13, 2024 9:53 am
Reply to  eddie41

Yup, just posted the same thing.

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April 13, 2024 11:52 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Yes, but Sabonis also had a foul on O end that gave Suns freethrows. Along with bad pass. He gifted them at least 4 points.

Ellis5
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April 13, 2024 12:45 am

Ohhh nooo!

UpgradedToQuestionable
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April 13, 2024 1:52 am

I was at this game- it was exciting and close. But 47 minutes of strong play, once again saw Sacramento trip and fall at the finish line at the 48th minute. Yes- the officiating was biased and yes- that meant that Nurkic got a trip to the free throw line as it put the Kings in the penalty. But careless play in the closing moments lost this game. And Domas – who has been great – must look in the mirror for the Beal steal and the two loose ball fouls. A sad way to diminish an otherwise super performance by him and Fox and Keegan.

My fan confidence is as low as it can be.

The 21-60 Blazers, the last place team in the Western Conference, 2-8 in their last 10 games, lost 4 in a row and I’m still not expecting, but remain hopeful, that Sacramento, 3-7 in their last 10 games, with a losing streak of 3 in a row can win at home to end the regular season.

Sigh. Next.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 2:39 am

Your fan confidence has been upgraded to questionable?

Yakshi
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April 13, 2024 3:44 am

I know this team is better than that.

Hobby916
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April 13, 2024 5:13 am
Reply to  Yakshi

comment image

Yakshi
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April 13, 2024 5:41 am
Reply to  Hobby916

LOL You often have the best replies.

ForKingsandCountry
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April 13, 2024 8:18 am
Reply to  Yakshi

I wish they were but sadly they are not. At least not without Monk anyway.

AnybodyButBagley
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April 13, 2024 10:14 am
Reply to  Yakshi

This has never happened before. We are better than this.

discocricket
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April 13, 2024 6:20 am

Takeaways:

  1. Malik Monk is pretty important to this team
  2. Putting yourself in a position to have the game swing on a bad call or missed call is a bad idea.
  3. Mike Brown seems to have gotten worse at ATO plays as the season has gone on. This really feels like coaching malpractice to me. Guess what Mike, everyone knows you’re going to ISO Fox on the last play. How about a decoy action? A double screen? Something?
  4. Having a player who can defend the paint would be pretty helpful, as fans have been saying since the start of the 22-23 season.
  5. Having another wing defender who is playable on offense would be pretty helpful, as fans have been saying since the start of the 22-23 season. Chris Duarte is not it.
  6. When I look at De’Aaron’s distribution of shot frequency and shot accuracy this season vs. last, after watching him drive into a triple team on the last play, I think “is this the guy I want to pay $60M and rising starting with his age-28 season”?
Yakshi
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April 13, 2024 7:00 am
Reply to  discocricket

All good points. I love the team and have seen vast improvements after changes in the front office, coaching, and drafting.

  1. When the Kings got Monk at the price we got him, I was ecstatic. Now at the end of this season, we see what injuries to Huerter and Monk have revealed about our shallow bench. We were lucky in that sense last year.
  2. I have loved Fox at the end of games, but as we have seen, at some point it gets to be too much. I’d love to see two or three wildly differently end of game plays, featuring Keegan, Sabonis, or Fox. I’d love to see Keegan take the last shot on occasion.
  3. I recently checked the Net Rating of individual Kings players, and Harrison Barnes was by far the worst. He’s on contract for another couple of years, so hopefully he can work in the second unit after we hopefully find a stronger starting replacement. No idea what that will cost or whether it is even possible.
  4. Next year, I love a starting unit with Fox and Sabonis (both obviously bordering on All-NBA), Keon, Keegan, and an aforementioned unknown fifth. Hopefully a defensive-minded four who can occasionally shoot threes. All of this is obvious.

Despite the recent series of tough losses, I feel a lot of optimism about this team. Next year, I expect to see the leap that many expected to see this year.

kings4ever
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April 13, 2024 7:42 am
Reply to  Yakshi

We need a two-way player not just a defensive-minded four to add to Keon, Fox Domas and Keegan. I am thinking Paul George.

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April 13, 2024 7:45 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Paul George is unavailable, of course.

But sure, if the Candyland board game offers an NBA version, then Paul George is available to the Sacramento Kings, if we can roll double sixes seventy-four times in a row.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 8:00 am
Reply to  kings4ever

No way. To old. Doesn’t fit the timeline.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 8:11 am
Reply to  Jack

Like Mike Conley doesn’t fit the Timberwolves timeline?

Timelines can be very fluid. Does anybody know what our timeline is, exactly?

When there’s a decent opportunity to improve your team, you at least consider it.

Not saying that PG13 is necessarily the answer or not, just pushinmg against the mantra of “not fitting the timeline”.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:12 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I would,t take George’s injuries also. There are better fits out there such as Bridges Ingram or even Johnson. All would fit the timeline much better. If Johnson would also include Day Ron Sharpe.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:59 am
Reply to  Yakshi

If changes are made.

Tankathon
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April 13, 2024 11:16 am
Reply to  Yakshi

Monk gives us good (and bad) variability from night to night. The bad doesn’t absolutely kill you because he’s not the 1-2 option unless Fox/somas has a bad night. He can get himself going without Fox and Domas. He has the attitude that this otherwise soft team needs. I truly think he would’ve won game 4 last year if Fox had passed it to him instead of HB. Anyways, I see Monk getting stupid money from the magic and a starting spot so I think he’s as good as gone.

kings4ever
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April 13, 2024 7:38 am
Reply to  discocricket

Malik Monk is pretty important to this team

We all know what Malik can do but lets provide a little relevant context.

On 01/16 @ PHX (L 117-119)

Malik was 5-16 FGs with 5 TOVs when we gave away a 22 point 4th quarter lead. He did have 8 assists but was instrumental in the collapse. He had a net rating in that game of -42. Was his presence on floor there indicative of the difference he would have made last night?

We only had 7 TOVS last night. We played a great game for 40 plus minutes. Keon was pretty fantastic most of the game. Keon, led us last night in Net Rating (149-116) with a +33. You are VERY unlikely to get this from Malik or Huerter, either effeciency of offense or sturdiness on defense.

To me, it was NOT the absence of Malik that lost us the game. It was the last minute obviuously AND Davion missed shots he has been making, just not his night. He has been so locked in and maybe the magnitude of the moment got to him.

If Davion is 4-7 FGs or 5-7 FGs instead of 1-7 FGs we have more of a cushion in the final moments in which a refs whistle or lack thereof is not determinative.

We got the offense from Keegan, who was super assertive, attacking the defense like a star (23 points on 60% TS) , and Domas (25 points on 61 TS%), who made three outside shots including two 3s.

On 02/13 @ PHX (L 125-130)

Malik played 33 minute this night, shot well with 22 points on 9-16 FGs and 6 assists. He also committed 5 TOVs. And as effecient as he was scoring the ball, his Net RTg was 108-126 (-16) so the team was not a high powered machine while he was out there. It was just a mixed bag in which you help allow the opponent 130 points with TOVs and bad defense.

You can say I am cherry picking but these are our last two game vs PHX, so I would say the role Malik played then is relevant in term of how badly we potentially missed him.

I am sure Domas feels sick after this one. He’s not dumb but acted very dumb. A more apt term is a loss of composure. It is not an excuse but a reality that when you are fatigued and stressed your judgment is compromised. Domas is a high strung elite comeptitor who wants to win so bad it can maybe make him a little misguided at times.

High stress plus fatigue leads to bad decisions. It was a bad decision to push KD, it was a bad decision to loft the soft pass to Fox and give equal chance to both players to get it, and it was a bad decision to bear hug Nurkic and expect the refs who want PHX to win to ignore it.

Those plays cost us 5 points in a game we were up 4 point with one minute to go.

Did Domas choke? He 100 percent certifiably choked. You have to keep your wits and compsure about you and continue to be aggressive without being reckless. You have to make the smart and simple play. You could argue that Fox needed to seal his man and come to the ball but it is incumbent on the passer to be aware of when the recipient has not done that and proceed accordingly.

I like our coach narrowed his rotation, DNP-CD for Kessler, Colby, Sasha and Duarte. I don’t like his end of the play call was give it to Fox and let him win us the game. It is good in theory but in practicality he may serve better as a decoy for a dunk. You know the opponent is going to send at least one defender. They sent two defenders. Even if Fox gets that shot off it is under serious duress with 6 arms flailing at him. I mean maybe he makes it. Then again Keon was wide open in the corner.

Yakshi
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April 13, 2024 7:42 am
Reply to  kings4ever

You can say I am cherry picking.”

Okay, you are definitely cherry picking.

kings4ever
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April 13, 2024 7:46 am
Reply to  Yakshi

The ripest reddest most ready to eat cherries.

Yakshi
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April 13, 2024 7:48 am
Reply to  kings4ever

No clue what that means.

discocricket
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April 13, 2024 7:47 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Malik giveth and taketh away, no question. I was more referring to the team being 3-6 (including the DAL game) without him.

Yakshi
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April 13, 2024 7:50 am
Reply to  discocricket

You’re right, of course. Despite not even playing anymore, he remains the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year. Of course, his loss is a deep blow to a team lacking as much depth as the Kings do.

kings4ever
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April 13, 2024 8:13 am
Reply to  Yakshi

A Deep Blow is hyperbole given that he was shooting 30 percent from 3s for 41 games and his defense sucks.

Let me repeat this for emphasis. Malik sucks at defense. You win in the playoffs with defense not highlight plays.

And Malik makes untimely TOVs due to high risk showtime tendencies and his desire to compile stats and take home the 6MOY hardware and boost the value of his next contract. If you can’t see this I can’t help you.

I agree with you that we miss Malik to the extent that Domas and Keegan in particular are unable to compensate for his 15 PPG, in several of the games over the 3-6 stretch.

We also have played really fantastic basketball over this stretch, including the 20 point lead on NYK, controlling the OKC game for most, the thrashing of BKN holding them to 77 points. The heartbreaking losses obfuscates a lot of what we have done really well.

Season PPG

Domas averages 20 PPG
Keegan averages 15 PPG
Monk averages 15 PPG.

Scenario 1: Hypothetically without Monk:

Domas averages 25 PPG (+5 PPG)
Keegan averages 25 PPG (+10 PPG)

You replace Monks 15 PPG scoring and you are a better team overall with a Top 10 Defense.

Scenario 2: Or hypothetically without Monk:

Domas averages 20 PPG (+0 PPG)
Keegan averages 25 PPG (+10 PPG)
Davion averages 10 PPG (+5 PPG)

You replace Monks 15 PPG scoring and you are a better team overall with a Top 10 Defense.

Scenario 3: Or hypothetically without Monk:

Domas 20 PPG (+0 PPG)
Keegan 20 PPG (+5 PPG)
Davion 10 PPG (+5 PPG)
Keon 10 PPG (+5 PPG)

You replace Monks 15 PPG scoring and you are a better team overall with a Top 10 Defense.

This last scenario is the most reasonable if we are to win our Play-in Games and have any chance in the playoffs. And looking forward to next year in the event Malik signs elswhere, which I happen to think is less likely than him staying.

Adamsite
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April 13, 2024 8:18 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I tend to agree with this, and it doesn’t even take into account the likely cost to retain Monk at $78M over 4 years.

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April 13, 2024 8:19 am
Reply to  kings4ever

I wish to know if the Kings really have a choice, it seems re-signing Monk is an obvious choice…

We desepartely need someone (i.e.Monk) who can create his own shots, ulitize Sabonis….can hit big-time shots…..(but has defense and turnover issue)

Can we find a better alternative if Monte don’t want to re-sign him or lose him in free agency….who else in free agency can create his own shots ?

Malrock
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April 13, 2024 8:44 am
Reply to  kings4ever

NO

You have seriously underestimated Monk’s value. He is the engine that runs the second unit and makes the non Fox minutes work. When Fox sits, without Monk, the offense stagnates. His shooting is important but it’s hardly all he does.

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April 13, 2024 9:01 am
Reply to  Malrock

Where does this notion that Monk’s shooting is important? His shooting numbers are pedestrian at best, arguably even subpar.

He shoots 44% from the field and 35% from 3. Both of those are below the team average. There are about 8 other rotation players that be shooting the ball instead of him.

Yes, he brings energy, explosive plays and can facilitate, but everything else he does is detrimental.

He’s the de facto backup PG, 5th in MPG, and is slated to become the team’s 3rd highest player. I’m not sure that’s how you build a winning team.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:30 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Question for Adamsite. If Monk leaves do we have more money to invest say in FA.?

Adamsite
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April 13, 2024 9:55 am
Reply to  Jack

Nope, he’d be retained using his Bird Rights which allows the Kings to go over the cap.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 12:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Ok Adamsite. If we use over the cap then could we also pick up Jalen Smith with are MLE. Count me wrong but I believe our MLE for next summer is around 20 mil, Am I wrong?

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April 13, 2024 1:15 pm
Reply to  Jack

$12.8M is the MLE. I’d imagine Smith would almost assuredly opt out of his $5M deal and hit free agency, but I’d also imagine he’ll have several suitors. Kings could offer him some or all of the MLE and possibly a starting role next to Sabonis.

My current in order list of free agents I’d like to see Monte target with the MLE. Keep in mind the MLE can be split among several players.

1) Smith (likely UFA)
2) Okoro (RFA)
3) Pat Williams (RFA)
4) Toppin (RFA)
5) Bey (RFA)

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April 13, 2024 12:06 pm
Reply to  Malrock

Monk is so valuable because Browns 1/2 court bullshit O is about driving into paint and dishing fir a 3. And soem
PnR. Monk does this well. Fox too, to a degree but no one else on The Kings.

Keegan/Barnes/Heurter/Sabonis-non can play in that O and thrive.

It’s just ridiculous. A system that suits few players and/or not having the correct players to run shit system.

Maximus
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April 13, 2024 6:40 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

Monk is valuable on offense but man his defense is bad. And especially bad when you pair Monk-Domas. You want to know how bad, take a look at these 2 man line-up

https://www.nba.com/stats/lineups/advanced?CF=MIN*G*500&GroupQuantity=2&TeamID=1610612758&dir=D&slug=advanced&sort=DEF_RATING

Monk-Domas has the 2nd worst rating as a pair. Honestly, Monk is probably just a neutral player.

A system that suits few players and/or not having the correct players to run shit system

Still an above average offense compared to the rest of the league. The one player (besides Domas) that makes the DHO offense hum is Kevin Huerter but he had a down year this year. Probably not adjusting well to the physicality on the defensive side. Yeah Kevin’s off-ball gravity is what creates space for Domas.

PnR is not Domas’ strength. He is just an average PnR finisher.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:25 am
Reply to  kings4ever

IMO Mitchell will be traded this summer. His stock has risen.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:57 am
Reply to  kings4ever

They sent 3 defenders. NO CHANCE. Not on Fox but the coach who called that play.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 7:53 am
Reply to  discocricket

IMO he did what the coaches wanted him to do.

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April 13, 2024 8:13 am
Reply to  discocricket

Solid takes.

Number 6 is what has me worried. Does Monte give Fox a max extension and overpay for Monk this summer completely entrenching the Kings into a core of Fox, Sabonis, Monk, and Murray? Don’t get me wrong I like those 4 guys, but if they take up 80% of your cap are ever getting past the first round?

To put things in perspective, Ainge came into Utah 2 years ago and saw an expensive core of Gobert, Mitchell, Conley, and Bogdanovic with similar first round issues and made a choice to go in a very different direction. Snyder even left just one year removed from COY.

discocricket
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April 13, 2024 8:32 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I don’t believe there’s any ownership or front office appetite for a Utah-type situation here. I do think the tea leaves point to us giving Fox whatever he wants. I could see an expensive core like that threading the needle if we had some juicy draft picks from other bad teams, but we don’t.

OLDBHOY
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April 13, 2024 8:22 am
Reply to  discocricket

Well said.

No.6 – Fuck no. It’s why when Fox was averaging 30 and rolling earlier in the season I was suggesting to trade him at peak value. I knew then and I know now, his All Star level play is the outlier, this is who he really is. He lacks game awareness, is an inconsistent defender and is already starting to slow down. His game is not going to age well.

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April 13, 2024 8:48 am
Reply to  OLDBHOY

Can we get B. Miller for Fox ?

I think B. Miller is going to be a superstar….(although his shooting form a bit awkward)

I am a Fox’s fans, but selling high, and buying low is what GM supposed to do

kings4ever
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April 13, 2024 8:50 am
Reply to  OLDBHOY

He lacks game awareness, is an inconsistent defender and is already starting to slow down.

LOL. Fox is slowing down? Are you trolling? He leads the NBA in steals, tied with SGA after 4 picks last night. We should all want to “slow down” like Fox.

Fox routinely destroys traps and doubles and scores at will despite the opponent assigning their best defender and sending help. Last night PHX put KD on him.

It is not Fox fault Domas choked last night. Or HB disappears 2 to 3 out of 5 games. Or Red Diva had an awful year, lost all of his confidence, scoring down 5 PPG, and three point shooting dipped from 40% to 36% despite almost every shot being wide open.

It is not Fox fault Sasha was a BIG ZERO for almost the whole season, took him way too long to get comfortable to the NBA game and miss wide open looks that is suppose to be his speciality.

Or that Duarte sucked. Or that the only defense help he has got consistently is from Keegan and Keon once he was promoted. Domas has been good too.

Fox has had some periodic lulls and maybe a tendency to chuck from 3s a little too much. But he can easily make that shot and you do have preserve your body and energy to a degree knowing that the ref whistle is not in your favor when you attack the paint.

Fox does not get super excited to compete against the dregs, another flaw, but it is human nature and commonplace across the league. Overall Fox has had a fantastic year. And I would pay him every last penny he is eligible to receive.

Hopefully he gets All-NBA so he can get the Super Max.

Fox is also a FEARLESS player too. not afraid to miss the shot to be second guessed, to bear the brunt of criticism. That is a better mentality to have than the Choke Job we witnessed last night from Domas, and the Pure Choke Job from Huerter and HB last playoffs.

This is also why I like Keon. He is fearless. Monk is fearless too but the TOVs and bad defense sort of cancel this out.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:38 am
Reply to  kings4ever

Fox is our guy and should be so all of you get over it and start giving him the credit he deserves. He will be here for a long time. And by the way if slowing down is his weak point then you haven’t been watching him this year. The reason we are where we are has been stated very well above none of it is because Fox is slowing down.

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April 13, 2024 9:08 pm
Reply to  Jack

The Fox of last year-mid range/floater/drive deadly-clutch is a player to build around.

But this years 3 point only shooting Fox unable to close much isn’t.

He has to get that game back or Fox ain’t worth it. I think/hope he will but I don’t get how Fox and the coaching staff went away from his strengths and started jacking up 3s.

OLDBHOY
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April 13, 2024 1:14 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

You make some good points. I really like Keon as well.

But slowing down doesn’t just mean top speed, it means how often he is running hard. He trots casually an awful lot for the ‘fastest player in the league’

Fox is good, I will even say very good but not elite and not irreplaceable.

Mark my words the Kings will end up regretting a Fox max deal.

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April 13, 2024 9:11 pm
Reply to  OLDBHOY

I think k Fox of last year was great but fear you might be correct about deal.

Meaning my bigger fear realized-which is- building around Fox cost us Doncic and Hali. Both of whom look to be superior and iD much rather have kept/had.

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April 13, 2024 8:00 am

“You can’t let it be close enough to be decided by the refs.”

The Celtics have played 81 games. Of those, they’ve lost only 18. They’ve also won by five points or less 11 times. And that’s the NBA record front runner by a mile and 1/3 games for them is a loss or close enough to have refs impact (which reminds me…)

If you look at the Kings 2-minute reports going back to the Bulls game, every single game with a report has had incorrect no-calls that hurt the Kings. They have one going the other way in a game they lost. That’s a pattern. Maybe they don’t like Mike Brown calling them out, or Fox showing them up. Maybe the a young team (and even with experience they’re still young) needs to handle these moments better. But regardless, there is a clear pattern of bias that has hurt the Kings in key games, and I’m sick of it. Early in the year the Kings were crushing these types of games. Fox was the clutch player of the year last year and he didn’t magically fall off.

discocricket
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April 13, 2024 8:14 am
Reply to  scottymusprime

Idk, to me, if there was a bias, what’s the point in worrying about it?

One look at Fox’s comparative shot chart vs last season tells you he did actually fall off quite a bit in terms of efficiency, and that is also reflected in crunch time play. I wouldn’t call it magic, but it’s there.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:48 am
Reply to  discocricket

Maybe he finally came back down to earth but IMO still is a great player and will be for quite some time.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:46 am
Reply to  scottymusprime

I agree. The refs swallow their whistles more than often. A lot of them seem to go against the Kings. Draper on King’s post game made some comments on referreing I strongly agree with. One King’s player that has really been hit hard, no pun intended, has been Sabonis. I really feel for the guy. IMO the refs hate him for reasons I don’t understand.

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April 13, 2024 8:13 am

Going to ESPN for the game recap, it’s become tradition to watch the video highlights and hear Kayte talking over the plays. This season and that broadcast needs to be put out of their our misery.

On Fox’s strip…. what do you/we think of that triple team with Ellis wide open? I know Fox is clutch, but still.

Last edited 1 month ago by Marty Marty
rockbottom
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April 13, 2024 9:50 am
Reply to  Marty

Our broadcast is the worst in the NBA . Just a talkathon over the game . I have NBA pass and enjoy dozens of other others more than ours . Very sad to say .

Jack
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April 13, 2024 10:01 am
Reply to  rockbottom

If anthing I like them. Kayte knows her basketball and always has interesting things to say. Mark has some of the best and funniest commentary not like all those same O same O commentators. Just a rebuttal to all those haters. GO KAYTE. GO MARK!

rockbottom
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April 13, 2024 6:08 pm
Reply to  Jack

I prefer people who focus on the game that’s happening in front of them instead of useless stories . Actually, surprised a former coach would like these jabber jaws .

Jack
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April 13, 2024 9:56 am
Reply to  Marty

He isn’t clutch on that play and never would be. The Suns knew who was going to get the ball and played defense accordingly. IMO if he had the ball last night and not on the coach’s call which I thought was wrong should have been used as a decoy and fake the drive and dish the ball to maybe Murray Ellis or Barnes who really wanted to make up for a miss earlier in the season. Coach could have set up a play for like Murray with a screen or double screen. With at least 2 or even 3 defenders on Fox IMO would have been a better call.

Jman1949
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April 13, 2024 11:20 am
Reply to  Marty

I thought Allen maintained good position between Fox and Ellis. As RikSmits noted above, Keon could have/should have cut baseline.

NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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April 13, 2024 8:23 am

Kings’ execution on offense and defense in last 2 minutes of 4th quarter has been especially poor this season and notably of late. Teams lock in and Kings go into isolation mode, settling for long 3s ot forced shots. Surely this can be coached and practiced as part of the opponent specific preparation?

rockbottom
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April 13, 2024 9:53 am

Seems most teams have special plays to run in crunch time . Kings don’t it’s give it to Fox and hope .

Jack
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April 13, 2024 10:02 am
Reply to  rockbottom

I really agree.

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 12:09 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Yup. They don’t run any sets. I now see why Brown keeps getting fired, even though he seems
to do a good job initially.

We all saw what the team
lacked in. Last years playoffs. Yet, nothing was fixed. Brown simply thinks-more physical D and a ton of 3s will do it.

JoeNoSay
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April 13, 2024 9:18 am

Ah… the ol’ come-from-ahead loss, rearing its ugly head.

Gah.

billoddity
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April 13, 2024 9:28 am

This team isn’t going get past the play in. I’m not being cynical, it’s just how the team is built and where they’re at. Aside from Fox, Sabonis and super sub Monk, this team needs a remodel. Why did they do nothing to improve? There’s not a huge amount of assists or rebounds. Sabonis is getting a lot of boards and then not much else. Barnes, Murray, Huerter, Mitchell, etc will finish games with 1 or 2 assists, sometimes zero. How does Murray play 43 minutes last night and have ZERO assists?I look at the box scores and can see why they’re not better… losing in assists and rebounds is one way to not win, and being a mediocre defensive effort team when your offense is worse, is not good.

Last edited 1 month ago by billoddity
Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:02 pm
Reply to  billoddity

IMO our defense was pretty good last night. Our offense was suspect but holding the Suns to 108 points I thought was pretty good. Not perfect but pretty good. Kept us in the whole game and gave us a shot to win.

SelecaoKOJ
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April 13, 2024 9:48 am

The core of this team tells me it will never get very far. Second round exit at best if 100 percent healthy.

Fox is a great player. Is he a championship player?. Transcendent? That can put a team on his back against elite competition? Consistently? No I don’t see it.

Sabonis flaws will become more apparent as the play in/play off gets closer.

No rim protection, his assist numbers are overrated. Because 80 percent of them come from DhOs, he really can’t shoot mids or at distance. Clunky robotic shot and he needs time to set. Also slow release. He will be shut down in the playoffs. All those illegal screens he gets away with in the regular season. Not happening in the post season. He can also be a mess when crowded and handled by more aggressive players.

Keegan has time to develop. But I see the ceiling of maybe Tobias Harris with Better defense at best.

Monk? I see him getting a bag and a starting gig somewhere else. And there are 3-4 teams that have the cash and opportunity available.

Kings don’t have any young assets teams really are going to be interested in. Let’s get real. Jones, Duarte, Huerter, Ellis. Let’s be realistic.

Barnes contract might be movable at the next deadline.

The team will need to move one of the core. If they intend to really make a stride to really making a jump.

Kings don’t have a lot of cap either. Their only real play at improvement is moving at least one of the Big 3.

Carl
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April 13, 2024 11:53 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

The core of this team tells me it will never get very far. Second round exit at best if 100 percent healthy.

This is where I’m at as well. The ceiling of this core is a 6-10 seed that would need everything to go perfectly to win a playoff series. It’s a team that folds under pressure. We saw it last season in the Warriors series and are seeing it again at the end of this season. I’d be surprised if they make it out of the play-in and they’re not winning a playoff series without major injuries on the other side. This was all predictable when they ran this team back.

Losing Monk will make them worse, and swapping fringe and bench players isn’t going swing things more than a few games either way over the course of a season. I think what needs to happen is that some or all of Fox, Sabonis and Murray need to be moved to have a chance to actually improve.

What may actually happen is that the team is happy with where they are and nothing meaningful gets done. I could also a see a scenario where they mortgage the future (multiple firsts) to get a decent starting power forward or wing, and then the ceiling becomes some chance at the second round, from almost no chance today.

Sorry to say it, but Keegan Murray is Harrison Barnes minus 10 years. Decent starter and not much more than that. That’s good to have! But it’s not enough given the talent and pressure performance deficiencies across the roster.

I’m not saying they need to blow it up and start over, but I think if they want to actually improve without mortgaging multiple years of draft picks on chasing a four or five seed, they’re going to need to be a lot more aggressive about moving core players.

The one caveat here is that if they luck into a Tyrese Haliburton level draft pick, the team might have a shot at the second round. I’m not holding my breath on that happening again.

Last edited 1 month ago by Carl
discocricket
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April 13, 2024 12:02 pm
Reply to  Carl

Agree with most, but I think I’m higher on Keegan. He has the skills to be a top-10 small forward, which Barnes never was. I don’t think it’s enough to swing how far we get in the playoffs unless he becomes a top-5 small forward, which seems unlikely.

discocricket
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April 13, 2024 12:06 pm
Reply to  discocricket

And IMO the clear trade candidate is Fox, this summer, if we want to have a shot at 4-5 years of being a threat in the playoffs. But I’m not sure Monte can pull it off, or Vivek will allow it.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 12:13 pm
Reply to  discocricket

I still think that Fox was the main trade candidate for Sabonis, and when the Pacers held firm, Monte relented and traded Haliburton. That is based on how surpised and hurt Haliburton was by the trade. Also, he was Monte’s guy, where Fox was a leftover from the old regime.

If Monte makes another blockbuster, I would expect him to rather trade Fox than Sabonis.

However, I have a sense that he’d sooner replace Brown than blow up the team.

(I am often wrong).

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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April 13, 2024 12:20 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I think you may be right. It’s easier for him to move on from Brown than it is from Fox or Sabonis. He potentially has Jordi waiting in the wings as well (just as long as he’s not hired by the Hornets).

For a team that sets records and gets the 3rd seed to then potentially missing the playoffs the next year, something has to give, and it’s usually the head coach.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:30 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Adamsite you may be right but you and I both know that its not all Brown’s fault. He had to do with what he had to work with. The team as a whole needs to be reworked but not at the expense of Fox Sabonis or Murray. You knew the bench other than Monk was basically nonexsistant. You knew Huerter and Barnes aren’t starting material if you want this team to advance. Maybe Brown should be replaced but you know he was not the entire problem. I’ll admit I wasn’t a believer in his offense and he doesn’t seem to have answers if it isn’t working but he did get us to #3 last year from 16 years of nothing. Maybe he can change some of his offense. Maybe Monty can bring in more talent I don’t know but yes I agree something has to give.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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April 13, 2024 2:06 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Vivek looms. You can deny his influence, but his mark on this franchise is indelible.

The guy who got his Buddy Heild.

If the Kings trade Fox (who just passed Boogie Cousins for most points scored by a King in the Sacramento Era) it would be for Klay Thompson. Though that might make his close friend, the Coach at Kentucky Arkansas, John Calipari, sad.

Or Sabonis for Draymond – because there is no way those two should be on the same team.

With the MLB Sacramentoas volcanically rising, Vivek and his immense ego are likely more emboldened, not less. Maybe that allows him more capital to work with, but Sac has stayed under the luxury cap and that will limit their acquisitions and retentions both present and future if that continues

Last edited 1 month ago by UpgradedToQuestionable
Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:17 pm
Reply to  discocricket

Tell me who would you trade Fox for and why. I’d really want to know.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 1:20 pm
Reply to  Jack

Jalen Smith?

Adamsite
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April 13, 2024 12:10 pm
Reply to  discocricket

I’m with you on Keegan. He projects to be a legit 2 way player and has greatly improved his game from year 1 to year 2. There is no reason that growth shouldn’t continue.

to piggyback on what Carl was saying, I see two ways forward with this team:

1) One of Fox or Sabonis may need to be moved, because a roster focused on those two guys as your max players may not work with the supporting cast of Keegan and Monk.

2) Go all in Fox, Sabonis, and Keegan and leverage the future to get a 4th legit player that fills the roster’s deficiencies, but this may come at the expense of Monk.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 12:16 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Growth is seldom linear.

I think he will continue to grow, but it is not a given and the question is how much. We desperately need him to reach the next level.

Adamsite
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April 13, 2024 12:31 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

What exactly do you want to see from that quantifies as next level?

I only ask this because since Monk went down, Keegan is averaging 18 and 6.5, and 2. That’s legit 3rd star numbers akin to Michal Porter Jr. I’m really beginning to think that if Monte wants Keegan to take it to “the next level” it’s going to come at the cost of Monk because there is only so much usage to go around.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 12:56 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Basically I need a much larger sample size of him creating quality shots for himself, so we are not overly reliant on Fox as the sole weapon in isolation.

We have a tendency to jump to conclusions over small sample sizes.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:49 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Then it might have to be done.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:42 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If I had to agree with you I’ll take #2. IMO Fox Sabonis and Murray as a core is darn near pretty good. I think we need 2 players to off set Huerter and Barnes. One might be a trade and the other through free agency. You and I both like Jalen Smith and might be gotten throgh free agency. Monty might have enough in his MLE to do just that. IMO we have enough assets and draft picks to get a really good SF or SG to replace Huerter. You have Huerter and Mitchell and in some cases all of our nonstarters other than Barnes and Huerter to throw in the mix. You also have enough draft picks possibly to throw in both firsts and seconds. I’m looking forward to what Monty is going to do this summer. PS if I really had to move Fox or Sabonis it would probably be Sabonis but in reality I would’t want to do that.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:15 pm
Reply to  discocricket

Keegan Murray is only in his second year as a pro and some of you already have dismissed him as a mediocure player for the Kings. And an average one at that. Shame on you. Keegan Murray will be an excellant player in the NBA. Just you wait and SEE. And he will be playing for the Kings.

RikSmits
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April 13, 2024 1:19 pm
Reply to  Jack

Peace.

No need to get personal and defensive, Jack. We all have our views on this team, some more positive and some more negative. There isn’t one way to fan.

SelecaoKOJ
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April 13, 2024 8:21 pm
Reply to  Jack

He will also be 24 this summer. So something to think about. Zion is 23. Already 100x better and it’s not close.

Jman1949
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April 13, 2024 8:48 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Per basketball-ref:
Keegan’s birthdate is August 19, 2000.
Zion’s birthdate is July 6, 2000.

Jack
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April 13, 2024 1:10 pm
Reply to  Carl

OK you gave us your comments on all that’s wrong with the Kings. Now give us your answers on how and who is going to change this team from gloom and doom to a payoff contender. I’m sorry but I still have confidence in Monty to do it. Until you prove him wrong and you are right I think I’ll go with Monty. GO MONTY and GO KINGS!

Amonk81
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April 13, 2024 9:26 pm
Reply to  Jack

We will see with McNair. He didn’t do shit this year, though it was obvious since last years playoffs changes had to be made.

Now he’s gonna have to do some
pretty big shit to move this team forward.

I’m not sure if Monte knows what he’s doing, or is looked into a bad model.

Maximus
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April 13, 2024 5:57 pm
Reply to  Carl

I’m not saying they need to blow it up and start over, but I think if they want to actually improve without mortgaging multiple years of draft picks on chasing a four or five seed, they’re going to need to be a lot more aggressive about moving core players.

Well, you will have to do both, sending out a core players +multiple draft picks, in order to get better players. You already think our core players are not good enough then who do you think will give you their better players straight up for our core players?

The plan has always been for Keegan Murray to evolve into the 3rd star; does not have to be this year though. If he does not then probably we will move Keegan + multiple picks for a better player.

Last edited 1 month ago by Maximus
eddie41
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April 13, 2024 10:17 am

Has anyone else enjoyed watching Keegan the last two games? I like him attacking from three levels. If it’s not there, he can always initiate contact and pull up in the midrange or make a simple pass. I think it gets him dialed in – or helps him find his rhythm.

last night he started settling for threes and went 0-4. then he mixed it up with drives and mid-range. Then went back to the three and got hot.

discocricket