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It’s time to play the young players

The Kings are essentially out of the playoff race, but maybe the youth can bring some meaning to Orlando.

Orlando can't be categorized as anything but a pure disaster. The Sacramento Kings entered the bubble with a fighting chance, a team that could throw some punches and challenge for a play-in spot. 

Five games in, the Kings have been knocked out by almost every opponent they've shared the hardwood with, the only exception being the New Orleans Pelicans, who somehow have managed to look even inferior to their Western Conference counterparts. 

The analysis behind the losses is pretty simple: Luke Walton's coaching is highly ineffective and there's a massive lack of effort on both ends by the players. The Kings wanted all the smoke, and they've gotten exactly what they wished for. 

Mathematically, the Kings are still standing in the playoff race. In reality, they're one knockout punch away from checking off Orlando as a wasted opportunity. With three games left against the Houston Rockets, Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers, the Kings need to recognize that playoffs are out of the equation. They had their chance. They didn't take it. It's time to look forward to next season and see what young players can become a rotational piece. 

Sure, Walton pulling the plug on the final games could be a sign of packing it in. But the head coach also said this following the loss to the Orlando Magic:

“I’m still very confident we’re going to start playing a lot better, but by the end of this whole thing it’s going to be a great learning experience for us as a group.”

Three games after that quote, nothing has changed on the court. And if that last half of the quote means anything, the Kings didn't need to unpack their bags when they arrived in Orlando. That mentality sealed their fate. 

Teams like the Phoenix Suns and the San Antonio Spurs didn't have strong chances to make a playoff run. If anything, they were the teams coming to Orlando looking for a learning experience. Now? They have better odds than the Kings to snag a play-in spot. 

Sacramento needs literally everything to favor them if they want a chance but the last 13 years clearly indicate that won't happen, unless 2020 has another trick up its sleeve.

Just like the victory against the Pelicans, any win here on out is essentially meaningless - especially if they follow up a win with a performance like the one against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Giving DaQuan Jeffries, Justin James, Kyle Guy and Jabari Parker some playing time may just be the best thing Walton can do at this point. Why? The Kings aren't the young team we all drooled about not that long ago. Harrison Barnes just turned 28, Bogdan Bogdanovic will turn 28 later in August and Buddy Hield will be 28 in December. Nemanja Bjelica isn't getting any younger, Harry Giles had his inexpensive option declined, Richaun Holmes may be too tough to keep from a financial standpoint and the list continues.

De'Aaron Fox is clearly the young star the Kings hoped he would become and yes, he has more to grow but he clearly needs assistance. It doesn't help that Marvin Bagley is consistently hurt, but it's time to see what the other youngsters available can do.

When given an opportunity, Jeffries was quick to take it and inserted himself into Walton's rotation. Jeffries will turn 23 at the end of August and he provides solid versatility on both ends of the floor. He can defend the one-four positions and has shown he can score at the rim and beyond the arc on offense. Sacramento can hold onto him longer as a restricted free agent and it's a no-brainer move to retain him.

Justin James, the 40th pick in the draft, looks promising on defense though he needs to find more offensive consistency. Still, at 23 and also someone that can guard multiple positions, James should get more minutes on the court. Talent can be found in the second round, just ask Bol Bol who was picked a few slots after James. But Bol actually sees the floor among other prominent differences (like the Kings drafting Bol). If James can see Jeffries-level minutes, who knows what could happen. 

Guy, who put together a fantastic rookie season with the Stockton Kings, was arguably the most exciting rookie the Kings picked on paper. He can light up the floor from beyond the arc at any given moment and the Kings could use that shooting right now, especially with the cold hands of Buddy Hield and Fox from deep. There's a shortage of quality offense behind Fox on the point guard depth chart, but Guy's three point shooting could be a focal point to his game worth focusing and building on.

Parker, who turned 25 earlier this year, has a $6.5 million player option to decide on this offseason. No other team will offer him a similar figure, so Parker will likely remain in Sacramento. Parker's career is undoubtedly strange, but we've seen glimpses of what a healthy Parker can bring to the table. No, he's not the ideal big to watch on this team right now - we'd see a lot more of Giles if competency prevailed. Parker hasn't looked good since coming to Sacramento and though his numbers in Atlanta look adequate, it doesn't tell the full story. But, I'd rather be wrong about Parker than continue watching a lackadaisical on-court product that just lost to a Nets team that could've been mistaken for a G-League roster. 

No, none of these players are game-changers and that shouldn't be expected from them if they get playing time. Sacramento needs to give Fox more help and some of these guys could provide that as developing role players. There's potential in Jeffries and James to be versatile defenders with athleticism on offense, potential in Guy to be a sharpshooter off the bench and Parker's inside scoring he's shown in the past could come into play for the future. 

Much of this is looking at the most optimistic outcome possible, but there's not a lot of hope with what we're currently seeing on the floor. The main rotation is completely out of it. There's a serious lack of heart and effort. Maybe the players who don't have lengthy careers guaranteed will show otherwise. If Walton really wants a learning experience, then he should play the youngsters. There's not much else to lose.

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Marty
August 8, 2020 12:04 pm

Hey Vivek, it only took Kings Herald six months to rebuild…..in 2020.

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 12:08 pm
Reply to  Marty

Marty, movie poster idea if you are so inspired: The Vivekoning, with tag lines of They are coming, and they are Vladead on arrival. Don’t Luke!

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 12:07 pm

It’s the right time of the year for summer league.

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
August 8, 2020 12:16 pm

comment image

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 12:19 pm
Reply to  Klam

Since we are the Kangz, we should knight Vlade. I’m thinking “Sir Ender, slayer of hopes.”

Last edited 8 months ago by RobHessing
Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 8, 2020 12:20 pm

It still boggles my mind that Parker is 2.5 years younger than Buddy, but was drafted two years earlier.

Agreed. Play the youngsters. See what you have there because there may be someone to bring back next year on the cheap instead of overpaying, yet again, for a veteran. I know we all like Bazemore, but he’ll likely be triple the price of a Jeffries or James

GetOffaMyLawn
August 8, 2020 12:21 pm

Kangz!

The one reassuring constant in the hellscape of 2020.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
August 8, 2020 4:17 pm
Reply to  GetOffaMyLawn

They’re the heroes we deserve but not the ones we need right now.

RikSmits
August 8, 2020 12:31 pm

I wish I would care about this more. Or not at all.

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 12:36 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

I was discussing this with a few folks. It’s the time of year to rosterbate and draft mine, but with this front office how can one possibly give a shit? Any deal is likely to make the team worse if the trigger is pulled by the current hierarchy, and the draft picks that have come from this group have panned out way less than more. It takes all of the fun out of the process of concocting trade and draft scenarios.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 8, 2020 12:40 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Couple that with a late lottery pick, in a shitty draft, and no money in free agency (which might be a good thing) leaves me with little interest in the Kings at the moment. Hell, I can’t even get into the other NBA games. I’ve got little to no excitement about the upcoming playoffs. The apathy is real.

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
August 8, 2020 4:16 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I can’t even get into other sports. The Kings apathy is bleeding over for me. Maybe I’ll take up sailing or quilting. Should be much more rewarding than following this doomed team.

RikSmits
August 8, 2020 2:18 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It’s just hopeless from all angles; decision makers, talent, draft capital, cap space and circling back to decision makers.

Even if X would happen, it wouldn’t matter, because Y will make the wrong decision regarding Z.

RORDOG
August 8, 2020 12:40 pm

it would be fun to see a starting 5 of Guy/James/DJ/Parker/Giles once the team is officially eliminated. Like who cares let them get some shine. They’ve had to go through this whole process might as well reward them.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 8, 2020 12:44 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Sadly, I think Luke is desperate to end on a positive note. He’ll play the starters big minutes against the scrubs of Houston and LA as they rest their starters. Kings may squeak out a few wins and he’ll ramble on and on how it’s a positive way to go into the offseason. “Something to build on,” or some other kind of bullshit line.

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 1:35 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If he wants to end on a positive note, he should resign.

Carl
August 8, 2020 3:35 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Luke, I’m hearing fan support to re-sign you. How do you feel about a contract extension?
comment image

Kosta
August 8, 2020 12:47 pm

Did the Kings decide to not play Harry Giles much after he scored 23 points and got 8 rebounds against the Magic, in an attempt to not give more recent scouting to other teams that are interested in him?

…I just want to watch Harry play. 🙁

SelecaoKOJ
August 8, 2020 12:52 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Houston will be rolling out their starting lineup tomorrow from what I read and heard from Harden and D’Antonit today.. Pels May still go with their starters on Tue(revenge factor). Kings might get a break against the Lakers.

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 8, 2020 12:59 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I’m really beginning to think that Harry doesn’t come back. He’ll find a much better fit somewhere else and will likely develop into a nice basketball player in a better system. His agent and handlers have to know that Sacramento is officially the place basketball careers go to die.

Kings haven’t “developed” a quality player since Kevin Martin.

SelecaoKOJ
August 8, 2020 2:00 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Have to agree. Players like Giles and Bogdan would probably flourish somewhere else. Spurs would be a good fit for Giles and Bogdan. Pop has done a great job with White, Murray, Poetl, and Walker.

furious.d
August 8, 2020 5:40 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Harry might be a nice bench guy some day, but quality role players don’t turn around franchises like this one. Put Bjelly on the Bucks and he’d murder with his 15 minutes.

We need two All Stars to be a legit playoff team and Harry isn’t on that trajectory with or without the Kangz curse. Better to let him walk than to give him a Jason Thompson deal, even if next year would’ve only cost us $4M. That’s 80% of Holmes deal, who is already a quality role player without the development time or glass knees.

Kingsguru21
August 9, 2020 8:01 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Francisco Garcia might disagree with you. But that’s the same era and a minor quibble.

BeTheBall
August 8, 2020 12:59 pm

Yep, now that they’re officially out (barring COVID taking out the 5 teams in front of them), it’s time to sit every one of the regulars.

SelecaoKOJ
August 8, 2020 1:58 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Why would Luke do that? He has that tape to watch against Houston and Zion’s Revenge on Tuesday.

mdeedublu
August 8, 2020 3:09 pm

Here is one key takeaway from this season:

Walton was able to improve the *name removed, this is a family site* every season he was head coach. He’s set the bar so low this season with the Kings, he’ll do the same thing with this team and become a “great” coach for being able to turn around the franchises!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Cornelius
August 8, 2020 4:15 pm
Reply to  mdeedublu

Joerger taught the team how to win the wrong way so Luke has to teach them to lose so then they can learn to win the right way.

cbrody
August 8, 2020 7:36 pm
Reply to  Cornelius

That you Doug?

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
August 8, 2020 3:14 pm

Their bags are packed,
They’re ready to go,
They’re standing here,
Inside Orlando.

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 3:20 pm

They’re achieving on Vivek’s plane,
may never see playoffs again.
Oh babe, how low can they go?

RORDOG
August 8, 2020 3:40 pm

The Gary Trent Jr. coming out party is like the cherry on top of the Kings bubble shit sundae. We got another Bagley injuring , the team playing horribly, Doncic taking his team to the playoffs, and now we get to watch a player the kings drafted in the second round break out for another team.

my brain literally can’t comprehend how an organization can fuck up that bad, and do nothing about it.

Vivek always likes talking about his good friend Steve Jobs. Can you imagine if the iPhone spontaneously combusted and performed worse than a Jitterbug phone, and Jobs just decided to keep on keeping on?

RORDOG
August 8, 2020 8:16 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

And let me just add: don’t let anybody in the media tell you ownership can’t afford to replace Vlade and Walton. If they don’t replace them it’s because they believe they’re more profitable by retaining the worst GM in the entire league.

Let’s not forgot that the citizens of Sacramento gave those same owners ~$300 million. When they say they can’t afford to do what it takes to win what they’re saying is they need our money to keep themselves rich. If there’s anything leftover they’ll try to give us a mediocre team to root for, as a treat.

And I’ll end with this: if you’re so poor you can’t replace the most incompetent GM in the league, then what the hell are we even doing here? You can’t be rich enough to buy a team, but too poor to do what it takes to win.

BeTheBall
August 8, 2020 8:27 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

They won’t fire them because they know they won’t have to worry about having fans in the arena to boo the team next season. So the optics won’t force the issue.

RORDOG
August 8, 2020 8:39 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Sorry I’m heated about this! I think one small thing the media can do to affect change is to point out that Vivek is deliberately mismanaging public resources. He would not own the team if we didn’t front the cost of the arena. Does he really think we would’ve agreed to this arrangement if we knew the team would actively choose to be kinda mediocre in perpetuity? The deal was we’d get you your arena, and you’d give us winning basketball. We’ve held up our end of the bargain and you’re now intentionally reneging on yours.

RORDOG
August 8, 2020 8:41 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Sorry everyone the RORDOG likes to have a couple pops on Saturday nights, so that’s when the hottest takes come out.

Kingsguru21
August 9, 2020 7:54 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I happen to enjoy your hot takes. But I’m biased…..

RORDOG
August 9, 2020 9:03 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I think the A’s 8 game winning streak makes my Kings takes super caliente. The A’s have too many good players. Tony Kemp is like 4’12”, but somehow the biggest badass. Canha, Semien and Laureano went from fringe players to basically All Stars. They have 3 guys that could legitimately be considered the ace of their pitching staff (I think Bassitt is that good). Plus, obviously, 2 gold glovers at both corner infield positions that also happen to hit with power.

Meanwhile the Kings are hoping that Bagley can play at some point, and Jeffries is kinda fun to watch. I get that the developmental systems are different in the MLB and NBA, but come on. This isn’t that difficult. There’s absolutely no excuse for a team that’s this bad to also have no hope for the future.

RORDOG
August 9, 2020 9:21 am
Reply to  RORDOG

(Sorry I forgot to mention the A’s also have one of the best bullpens in the league, and their payroll is like they only hire interns)

Kingsguru21
August 9, 2020 11:24 am
Reply to  RORDOG

It’s why I spend more time on the A’s now. Even in bad times they don’t make me feel like tearing my hair out would be a good use of time.

At this point, if the Kings franchise were burning down to the ground, I’m not sure I would be all that concerned in pissing on them to put the fire out. I’d just be like ‘eh whatever.’

I didn’t think it was possible to feel more apathy and resignation than I did towards the end of the Cousins era. But somehow this shitty fleabag of a fucktard organization has managed to do just that. They are special, and in the Corky from ‘Life goes on’ way. Which is an insult to Corky, but I digress.

ScottyPop
August 8, 2020 10:44 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

A-fuckin-men

Cornelius
August 8, 2020 4:11 pm

Do you ever feel deja vu?

RobHessing
August 8, 2020 4:16 pm
Reply to  Cornelius

Not since the restraining order was issued.

AirmaxPG
August 8, 2020 4:25 pm

Justin James… was an inefficient scorer as a 22 year old senior in the Mountain West conference. But sure, let’s give him a shot.

Maybe from now on, let’s just trade every draft pick, let the other team make the pick… and then back out of trade. Might be the only way to have an NBA- level front office make basketball decisions for us.

Chef
August 8, 2020 6:39 pm

The real question is if Barnes is a man of his word and won’t shave his beard until they make the playoffs.

mdeedublu
August 8, 2020 7:04 pm
Reply to  Chef

As shitty as this team has been, I’d give Barnes a pass. Shave it.

L-Train3.1
August 8, 2020 8:59 pm
Reply to  mdeedublu

It is not a great look now. At the end of his contract he will look worse than James Harden

Inthestarz
August 8, 2020 6:42 pm

You answered the question
 
vlade/Luke don’t have the team’s long term viability in mind. They are trying to cover their butts with immediate results
 
meaning winingless games now and next year until Vlade is gone

L-Train3.1
August 8, 2020 8:33 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Vlade will never leave, he will get a lifetime contract.

L-Train3.1
August 8, 2020 8:34 pm
Reply to  L-Train3.1

but wait, wasn’t he supposed to step down by now? Didn’t he offer to step down if things did not improve? Things have not improved.

Carl
August 9, 2020 8:35 am
Reply to  L-Train3.1

They were above .500 the day the two years came and went, so he’s technically (and ridiculously) covered.

L-Train3.1
August 8, 2020 7:19 pm

It is time to get to the important questions, like what constitutes a comment on KH? Why did it take so long for certain badges to appear? Why to I have to reset my cache every single time I visit? Dis Greg and Akis take the Patreon money and swim in it Scrooge McDuck style?

RandyBreuersNeckHair
August 8, 2020 8:53 pm

36-14-19.
Has Vlade been fired yet?

cbrody
August 8, 2020 9:34 pm

Nope, he played for us 20 years ago. So we are forever indebted to him.

Klam
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
August 8, 2020 10:37 pm

And only 21!

Adamsite
Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
August 9, 2020 9:11 am
Reply to  Klam

Those are just insane numbers.

It’s just so nuts that the Kings had Luka at their fingertips AND the Knicks offering Zinger in a Fox packaged trade. Just think where the Kings would be with a Luka, ZInger, Buddy, Bogi core.

Inthestarz
August 9, 2020 9:21 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I’m not even a Fox fan, relatively, but I’m not hurting for not trading him for Porzingis

Kingsguru21
August 9, 2020 11:26 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I’m not trading Fox for Porzingis, sorry.

J-Fresh
August 9, 2020 12:52 am

Am I crazy to think we have some decent talent on this roster, who are just under performing?

(I understand we could have had a heap more talent based on epic disastrous org decisions)

I feel like Fox needs a real number one alpha talent to support him (fox being #2). With solid coaching, I think this team could have been playoff bound this year (prior to Covid). We have seen how good buddy can be, Bogi would be a great pick up on the 29 other teams, Bagley could have perhaps looked somewhat competent, Giles could learn to not foul as much etc.) bla bla bla

I would understand a roster blow up if we had a new GM/Coach, however if they had a real savvy system, they would all have + asset value, and I think they would be playoff bound. Not Championship level, they would still need a few pices, however the whole team seem coach able and are easy to root for as players.

If the roster blew up under the same regime, we would most likely net same results.

That is how I see this. Vivek – Vlade – Walton.

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