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5 Takeaways: Preseason Game Three vs. Suns

It wasn't pretty, but Sacramento remains undefeated through three preseason games.
By | 11 Comments | Oct 13, 2022

Oct 12, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (left) drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns guard Duane Washington Jr. during a preseason game at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Three preseason games are in the books and the Sacramento Kings have managed to tally three wins. Wins aren’t everything in the preseason, with Mike Brown and the rest of the coaching staff still sorting out the end of the rotation, but it’s nice to see nonetheless.

Heading into Phoenix, Richaun Holmes and Keegan Murray were unavailable for the Kings due to non-COVD-related illnesses. The Suns were without TEN players on their end as well: Chris Paul (Rest), Devin Booker (Rest), Mikal Bridges (Rest), Deandre Ayton (Rest), Cam Jonson (right thumb sprain), Cameron Payne (right finger sprain), Landry Shamet (left hip strain), Dario Saric (personal reasons), and Jae Crowder (not with team).

Here are a few takeaways from Sacramento’s 105-104 victory over the remaining members of the Suns.

1. A change to the starting five

KZ Okpala, who started the first two preseason games for Sacramento, not only didn’t start in Phoenix but he didn’t play a single minute. It’s hard to know if it would have been a different story had Chris Paul or Devin Booker played, but Trey Lyles was Coach Brown’s player of preference instead.

Lyles is a smart offensive player who is capable from beyond the arc – he converted 36.5 percent of his 2.6 three-point attempts per game last season with Sacramento.

The bench lineup consisted of Chimezie Metu rather than Okpala. Metu is a superior offensive player to Okpala and scoring can be short to come by in that second unit with Murray and Holmes both unavailable.

2. Letting it fly from deep

Sacramento has not been shy from beyond the arc in the preseason. After attempting 39 or more attempts just 11 times last season, they’ve reached that marker in each of their preseason showdowns.

G1 @ LAL: 9/39 from three

G2 vs. POR: 21/45 from three

G3 @ PHX: 14/39 from three

Malik Monk has had an underwhelming start and is 3/17 from beyond the arc through three games. He’s not exactly a stopper on the defensive end either, but his shot will surely come back around sooner rather than later.

For the second consecutive game, Terence Davis was knocking them down. He is up to 7/13 from three through three games.

Kevin Huerter showed off his deeeeeep range and quick trigger knocking down 3/5 from beyond the arc against Phoenix. He’s going to be a stellar fit capitalizing off of Fox’s dimes and playing through Sabonis at the elbow.

Some of the Kings’ looks tonight might have been ill-advised but it appears that we might see a whole lot of attempts from three this season.

3. Turnovers

After passing the ball about as well as you could expect against Portland, the Kings barely managed to have more assists (24) than turnovers (23) against the Suns’ bench.

Following their 34 assists night against the Trail Blazers, Mike Brown mentioned that their turnovers (20) were a bit more than he would have liked but that’s just something that’s going to happen when ball movement is a priority.

I’d imagine that the turnovers are going to be a point of emphasis when re-watching the film. As you can see in the clips above, many of them were teammates not being on the same page or the ball being moved around too casually.

Even more concerning might be what happened after some of these mistakes.

4. Transition Defense

Sacramento’s transition defense was reminiscent of last season throughout the course of this one. The Suns scored 33 points off Sacramento’s 23 turnovers, per NBA stats,but the effort was poor off missed shots as well.

There is just no excuse for someone like De’Aaron Fox, one of the fastest players in the league, to get beat back down the floor in transition. Their help-side rotations were subpar and the perimeter containment was abysmal.

Of course, I have to highlight the fact that it’s only preseason but with Mike Brown’s emphasis on competitive spirits, winning on the margins, and defensive competence it was a somewhat concerning sight.

The numbers don’t look horrific but keep in mind that the Phoenix Suns were without TEN players compared to Sacramento’s two. Duane Washington Jr. and Jock Landale should not be giving you fits.

5. Soooo many fouls

Coach Brown mentioned in the practices leading up to preseason game three that he was happy with his squad’s defensive energy but they needed to cut down on the fouling.

The Kings recorded 33 personal fouls against the Trail Blazers and followed that up by committing 29 against the Suns. Kevin Huerter and Alex Len both picked up four while Domantas Sabonis and Neemias Queta each had two of their own.

29.8 percent of Phoenix’s total points came from the free-throw line where they converted 31/35 attempts. This takeaway can somewhat be grouped in with the previous two where it was just all-around sloppy basketball from both sides.

It’s not like Phoenix wasn’t doing the same with 25 personal fouls of their own leading to 29 free-throw attempts for the Kings. But, Sacramento was only able to convert 19 of those looks and the context of roster availability is worth highlighting once again.

***

The Kings will finish up their preseason tomorrow night against the Lakers.

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11 Comments
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AmateurNerd
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October 13, 2022 2:19 pm

1-point victory over a G-league roster? Looks like we’re still in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, after all! #WorseForWemba

Kosta
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October 13, 2022 5:13 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Wait a minute. Are you saying Keegan is making a W signal for Wembanyama in this GIF???

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jwalker1395
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October 13, 2022 2:38 pm

Turned this one off at the half because the Kings looked ugly. I’d rather bury my head into the sand for the remaining few days and stay in the world where the Kings are awesome.

Still a long way to go to the NBA Finals!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jacob Walker
murraytant
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October 13, 2022 3:49 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

I saw the game on NBA league pass- was it on local?

eddie41
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October 13, 2022 2:41 pm

It looked like the team needed KZ and Keegan.

murraytant
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October 13, 2022 3:48 pm

A play down to the competition game. Dangerous precedent.
almost a sleep walk. Minimal energy. KM, RH and Okpala would have made the margin wider but not enough to start any bragging rights over the Suns.
TD played with fire ( because he loves to shoot it)

I know it is homer nitpicking but Merril over Baze?
Not done yet. Moneke must be good in practice.

Marty
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October 14, 2022 9:54 am
Reply to  murraytant

My favorite Kings take will never die

A play down to the competition game

Gregoryl
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October 13, 2022 4:49 pm

Serious PTSD from these highlights…

RikSmits
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October 13, 2022 10:56 pm

comment image

SelecaoKOJ
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October 14, 2022 1:45 am

Hate to say it. But, looked exactly like the team of last year. Playing down to it’s competition.
Sabonis was getting pushed around by Biyombo? Fox was sleeping against the Suns 3rd string guard and getting schooled.Preseason or not. Wasn’t a good look. Establishing goog habits and trying to change the culture starts in preseason.

On the other hand 1 team is a championship contender. The other just hoping they can get a play in.

Preseason success means nothing. Nothing. The Bucks are 0-5 and OKC 4-1. So, the Bucks are a lottery team. OKC is a Top 4 team in the West.

Kings were 4-0 last year. How did that end up.

Kingsguru21
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October 14, 2022 8:02 am

Crappy poorly played, executed, etc etc game. And it’s pre-season and that’s one way you can use the pre-season. W/L’s don’t matter, they never do. But this is a good way for Mike Brown to help these guys play more consistently and hopefully Fox is ready for that type of expectation. I think he is….but I still want to see it. Seen too many up’s and down’s from him to truly believe he’s turned a corner quite yet.

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