Articles | Game Preview

Kings vs. Trail Blazers Preview: A Darkness Before the Dawn

Here we go again!

Well, here we are again friends, suffering through another year of our sentence, bound by basketball gods to our fandom and dragging it behind us up a never ending, oil slicked staircase toward the light of NBA relevancy. Fans of the Sacramento Kings, gather here and now for this is our season of discontent, as all the previous fourteen have been before it. The fields of success remain fallow, the crops of our toils under topsoil and snow. Spring may yet come, but dark clouds come quick upon this horizon.

"Will, goddamn. It's a preseason game in Portland."

Yeah, well you don't have to try to make this team seem worth watching seventy six different times this season, so stuff it.  Let's just talk Kings basketball.

When: Friday, December 11th, 7:30 PM

Where: Moda Center, Portland, OR

TV: ESPN

Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM

For Your Consideration

The Sickness Unto Drafts: Now that I've got a small fraction of my wallowing out of the way, I want to move on to a little pontificating. Tonight's preseason game begins a season unlike any other in NBA history. We watch during a time of great division among many different lines - not just in political and social ideologies but even just within our own fandom. Just between the last time we spoke and now, the Kings replaced Vlade Divac's management team with people far more competent, hired more qualified assistance for a lameduck coach, drafted well, pretty much sat out free agency and allowed Bogdan Bogdanovic to walk for nothing after getting yanked out of a decent deal for him. Now, just in that last sentence there is someone who read that who disagreed with something in that mildest of recaps of the off-season. The Kings, by most accounts, are headed for a quick rebuild to better accommodate their star (now max player) De'Aaron Fox and his championship window. It's a smart choice. But is it? There are those out there that think the Kings should push for a playoff spot. That signing their guy to a max deal to hunt high draft picks is a waste of the money, a waste of time and is bound to ruin the Kings. There's discussion of winning mentality and how much losing players can take before it's ingrained in them. On the surface, the "push for a playoff spot" is a valid movement. If you're a GM, work for that 10th spot and trust your ability to draft and sign free agents that move you in subsequent years higher toward an eventual playoff goal. Play the odds of a player going down or an unexpected team dropping out and make that push. I get it. I do.

The Kings have been a dumpster fire on a sinking ship for a long time and we all know it. Even the breath of fresh air that was Dave Joerger's last season with the Kings was ultimately, worthy of a some hacking and coughing. 39 wins is a disappointing year for three quarters of the NBA and we took our participation ribbons and wore them around the playground like they were medals for blowing up the Death Star. It sucks, but the Kings suck and have for a long time. I just want to acknowledge that, because I think the next 76 games are going to be real, real rough. Even for those who celebrate each loss as a step closer to potentially drafting Cade Cunningham - this season is going to have some low, low points.

Will there be positives? Absolutely. De'Aaron Fox is getting rave reviews out of camp. The three rookies all got good press and Haliburton and Woodard look like they could contribute to an NBA basketball team rather quickly. The Kings have said they're mending an abysmal offense last season and both Alvin Gentry and Rex Kalamian are head-coach-level minds in this league. Basketball might actually be worth watching this year on the micro level. On the macro level - those of us who are hopeful for a quick and painless teardown might just get it. The Kings sound like they wanted flexibility so that they can help facilitate moves for their veterans and anyone not named De'Aaron Fox might get sent out by the deadline. The Kings have not one, but two new play-by-play guys to replace The Great Red Rodomontade himself. There are things to root for on the court and off.

The division internally and externally isn't the only thing that makes a season unlike any other. This is supposed to be a preview for a preseason game, played during a surging pandemic, in an arena that was just shut down earlier this week after positive tests were found within the few people allowed left to work there. The Kings have had no less than three players test positive, though it sounds like each has recovered. At any moment, the future of this team and this league can get thrown into complete chaos by the Coronavirus. A severe case to any player, that creates lasting damage or long-haul symptoms, could throw the entire balance out of what is supposed to be entertainment. Literally death lingers around this league and without a bubble, even localized bubbles, the chances of severe issues to a player in the NBA is not as unlikely as we think. Our friends and family within the organization and the Golden 1 Center have lost their livelihoods, many permanently, and that cloud hangs over this season as well. A constant anxiety will permeate into every injury report, every notification of a Woj or Shams tweet, into every team press conference.

But we'll watch. We'll tune in, celebrate the game winners when they come and for a night forget the lottery odds. We'll argue about this god-forgotten team and the moves they make in the hopes that the next corner they turn will prove that this was a pentadecagon that Sacramento's been trying to get around and now they're finally back where they should be. We'll pity the injured, celebrate the small victories of the young ones and debate then minimize their defeats. We'll squeeze whatever hope is left out of us, even when we know this isn't our year, because deep in our bones we feel it - one year it will be and we'll be able to look back on this season from our high horses and say, this year right here, was the one that kicked it all off.

Welcome to the 2020-21 NBA Season. It's cold now, but maybe, just maybe, these memories will be warm.

Prediction

Someday, I'll actually preview the stupid game that's getting played. Someday, the Kings will actually televise all of their preseason games.

But it is not this day.

Kings: 111, Blazers: 109

 

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Otis
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December 11, 2020 9:45 am

There’s basketball? On the television tonight?
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Great preview BTW, Will!

HandOfTheKings
December 11, 2020 9:49 am

Yup.

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Jman1949
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December 11, 2020 9:50 am

In Portland in spite of the virus,
Hope to see some things to inspire us!
It’s only preseason;
To watch, need a reason€”
Like Woodard, Tyrese and Jahmi’us!

RikSmits
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December 11, 2020 10:39 am
Reply to  Jman1949

And a tiny part of the world is whole again.

Thank you.

Kingsguru21
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December 11, 2020 11:04 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Perfectly stated.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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December 11, 2020 11:02 am
Reply to  Jman1949

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Gregoryl
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December 11, 2020 9:50 am

Must win!

9sac8
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December 11, 2020 1:56 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

We have the 4th seed on lock this year.

Here come the jokes!🙄

andy_sims
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December 11, 2020 10:01 am

I just want to point out that the Death Star or Death Star Equivalent (DSE) gets blown up in, like, half of the movies. It’s not super-impressive.

So, quite fitting, indeed. Well done, sir!

Marty
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December 11, 2020 10:01 am

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RikSmits
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December 11, 2020 11:50 am
Reply to  Marty

Can’t stop laughing.

Klam
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December 11, 2020 10:02 am

Crazy that this next season is starting when the last one ended only two months ago!
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SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 10:02 am

Y’all want the perspective from up here in Portland? Because it is hella bleak here.

Marty
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December 11, 2020 10:03 am

Not if it includes hella. 🤪

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 10:09 am
Reply to  Marty

Well of course you wouldn’t, Marty, I know a place here that does vegetarian cheesesteaks.

Or perhaps you’d be more interested in the cheesesteak I ordered from a well known place here that put the meat, cheese, and peppers between two slices of sourdough.

Marty
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December 11, 2020 10:10 am

Before you go any further I think you should know I married a PNW gal where we plan to retire, and Yachats was my all time favorite vacation.

French roll, btw.

Last edited 2 years ago by Marty Marty
SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 10:14 am
Reply to  Marty

Good spot. FWIW, my favorite place that does cheesesteaks here is run by a family from Philly, and they have the rolls shipped from Philly every week.

Marty
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December 11, 2020 12:14 pm

Yachats claims to have the best fish and chips (halibut) in the US, and they are correct. I think we had them four nights in a row. Worth planning a road trip with a pass through during lunch or dinner.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 12:19 pm
Reply to  Marty

I’ll have to visit once it’s safe. I love a good fish and chips, although I do prefer the traditional cod. I’ve barely left my zip code, I don’t even walk down the hall to the trash chute without a mask.

Marty
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December 11, 2020 12:23 pm

Luna Sea Fish House.

They make them with several different fish, but they recommended halibut and that’s what we did, again and again. 😜 Amazing.

Tunel_21
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December 11, 2020 10:07 am

The Harry Giles revenge game

TheBanquetBear
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December 11, 2020 10:29 am
Reply to  Tunel_21

I was excited yesterday when I realized that basketball returns tonight then actually got a bit sad when I remembered that it means seeing Giles playing somewhere else. Rooting for him to find a role on that team surrounded by all the other PFs/Cs they have.

Kosta
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December 11, 2020 10:49 am
Reply to  Tunel_21

Or is it….. The Hassan Whiteside revenge game!

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 11, 2020 11:41 am
Reply to  Tunel_21

It’s the “all could have been Kings” revenge game featuring Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr., Zach Collins and Harry Giles.

By the way, I think Portland is going to be very good this year.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 12:21 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Absolutely, if they stay healthy. Admittedly, I’ve been a believer they need a big consolidating trade to really contend, because as much as I like Dame and CJ, the only way they get out of the West is with more power on the wings and up top to really contend with Kawhi and LeBron and Jokic.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 11, 2020 12:30 pm

They just never seem to be healthy at the right time. When they got Nurkic back for the bubble they really began to click.

The addition of Covington is really going to help them guard the bigger wings of the west.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 12:39 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

We shall see. First, the league needs to get through preseason all right.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 11, 2020 12:23 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I agree. They made a lot of good moves this year. With decent health I think they’re right there with the Nuggets, Mavs, and Jazz competing for the 3-6 seeds.

Kingsguru21
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December 11, 2020 10:07 am

Your URL is boring. You get a F-.

RobHessing
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December 11, 2020 10:09 am

Kings. Blazers.
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Next.

Last edited 2 years ago by RobHessing
Kosta
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December 11, 2020 10:27 am
Reply to  RobHessing

“You better pass the ball to Harry. I know you can hear me, Lillard!”
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ZillersCat
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December 11, 2020 11:14 am
Reply to  Kosta

This may have to hold us, till we are good again?
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andy_sims
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December 11, 2020 11:45 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

This will never stop being ridiculous to me.

rockbottom
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December 11, 2020 12:16 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

The best handle in NBA history ! J-Will was indeed a thrill and eventual starter on a world Champion Heat team !

Kosta
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December 11, 2020 10:22 am

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ZillersCat
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December 11, 2020 10:24 am
Reply to  Kosta

What are you proof reading Kosta? It seems to be ear curling? It is OK to follow good luck stories and wish them well.
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Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
Kosta
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December 11, 2020 10:34 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

The pain! 🙁

ZillersCat
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December 11, 2020 10:43 am
Reply to  Kosta

Undefeated so far ..
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Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
andy_sims
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December 11, 2020 11:48 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

Damn.

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Kosta
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December 11, 2020 12:56 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

You’re right though, ZillersCat. I’m happy for Harry and wishing him the best!

Klam
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December 11, 2020 10:44 am
Reply to  Kosta

Do you needz a cheezburger to feel better?

Kosta
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December 11, 2020 10:48 am
Reply to  Klam

I can haz cheezburger?

Klam
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December 11, 2020 10:51 am
Reply to  Kosta

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andy_sims
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December 11, 2020 1:03 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I was trying to figure out why this was so funny, and decided that it’s the “See?”

BestHyperboleEver
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December 11, 2020 11:07 am

Unrelated, but because I just read it:

Over the next 7 drafts, the Thunder have 18 1st round picks and 3 swaps. I’m telling you, by the end of next offseason they’re going to draft Cunningham next year, sign Giannis, and trade for Towns and Beal.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 11, 2020 11:53 am

It’s entirely possible that the Thunder go from perennial contender to complete rebuild back to contender before the Kings even sniff the playoffs.

Lakers have done it twice. Dallas has done it. Heat have done it, Clippers too.

rockbottom
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December 11, 2020 12:18 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Also, Pacers, Bucks, Nuggets and Jazz ! Must be easy !

Kosta
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December 11, 2020 12:49 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Man, if the Seattle Supersonics do it I will be bummed.

Marty
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December 11, 2020 12:49 pm
Reply to  Kosta

O M G

Kingsguru21
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December 11, 2020 1:30 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I’ll be more impressed if there’s an NBA arena in Seattle not located in Seattle Center.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 11, 2020 2:00 pm
Reply to  Kosta

The Vancouver Grizzlies will make the playoffs before we do at this rate.

9sac8
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December 11, 2020 2:02 pm

My bet is on the St. Louis Hawks.

1951
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December 11, 2020 2:12 pm
Reply to  9sac8

I’d say the Kansas City Kings.

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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December 11, 2020 3:10 pm
Reply to  1951

Too soon. Bro! Too soon,

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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December 11, 2020 1:55 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If by entirely possible you mean an absolute certainty…then please enjoy this complimentary thumbs up.

rc50cal
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December 11, 2020 2:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I’m absolutely astounded by what Presti has managed to do. All this after one of the wort trades in NBA history too.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 11, 2020 4:33 pm
Reply to  rc50cal

Of course, that was 9 years ago now. And they still had 2 MVP caliber players on the roster. Drafting MVP level guys in three straight drafts can cover for a lot of mistakes.

PatFenis
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December 11, 2020 11:09 am

Despite the best efforts of the preview, I’m still excited to watch the game tonight.

Marty
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December 11, 2020 11:11 am
Reply to  PatFenis

Me too!

1951
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December 11, 2020 12:11 pm

Kings + 2020 =
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Kosta
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December 11, 2020 12:52 pm
Reply to  1951

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Klam
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December 11, 2020 1:00 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Those aren’t pillows…

PhutureKings
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December 11, 2020 12:50 pm

I think this season will be infinitely more interesting and enjoyable to watch than last season. I had expectations and hopes last season.

This season I only expect to see pace and hope we trade vets and get a good draft pick.

RikSmits
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December 11, 2020 1:09 pm
Reply to  PhutureKings

If there will be a season.

andy_sims
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December 11, 2020 1:33 pm
Reply to  PhutureKings

Yeah. Last season.

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PhutureKings
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December 11, 2020 2:23 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Spears is the real deal. Might be time for my biennial watch of Band of Brothers.

jlandweh
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December 11, 2020 12:59 pm

Posted this in another thread…but wanted to ask it for the group.

When playing around with the ESPN Trade Machine, I came across this issue with Buddy Hield and was wondering if someone could explain it? Unfortunately, I think this limits the amount of salary we can bring back (which may be a positive or negative).

“A player who signs an extension that is to begin the following season has what’s known as a “poison pill” contract. He can no longer be traded for a player making equal money. Instead his current salary is averaged along with the salaries he is to receive in his extension, and that average becomes his incoming salary for trade purposes.”

Therefore, we could only use about 4.86 mill with Buddy to take back contracts? I feel like that math doesn’t make sense. I could be terrible at math haha.

RORDOG
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December 11, 2020 1:04 pm
Reply to  jlandweh

the PPP has expired. ESPN just hasn’t updated their trade machine yet. Use tradenba.com instead.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 11, 2020 1:27 pm
Reply to  jlandweh

If they were to trade him last season, his incoming salary for the trade partner would have been roughly $17MM. Now that his extension has kicked in, it works just like any other salary in trades.

Kingsguru21
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December 11, 2020 1:46 pm

This is exactly why players are no longer BYC after signing extensions.

Bill2455
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December 11, 2020 1:52 pm

The Kings begin their march to the 10th seed.

With that “achievement” they will claim they made the playoffs.

RORDOG
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December 11, 2020 1:58 pm

With the usual caveats that it’s preseason, I’m actually kinda curious to see if the offensive and defensive scheme changes are noticeable. I remember in Joerger’s last preseason it was apparent that the team was determined to play with more pace. I think (hope?) this season we see them just simplify things. Run around, drive, shoot it if you’re open.

rc50cal
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December 11, 2020 2:29 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I want to see exactly this as well as Halliburton show that he’s an NBA caliber prospect. I’ve been a very good boy this year, Santa!

RORDOG
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December 11, 2020 2:49 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Also who’s starting? Bagley being out makes this less interesting, but there’s still some interesting subplots. I assume Luke will roll out Fox/Buddy/Barnes/Bjelly/Holmes, but what if he doesn’t? He could go with three guards then Barnes at the four. Or, they could keep Buddy as the the sixth man and start Halliburton. Maybe they start the training camp breakout star Jabari Parker at the 4/5.
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rc50cal
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December 11, 2020 2:22 pm

That was the darkest preseason preview I’ve ever read. I’m here for it!

markdog333
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December 11, 2020 2:45 pm

I can’t wait to see whether brown says this is good or bad

SamBowieIII
December 11, 2020 3:05 pm

Would be much more excited to watch this game tonight if Marvin Bagley III was playing. Soon enough….I guess. He’s really the Kings best hope at this point. Is he not?

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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December 11, 2020 3:17 pm

Anybody else come to TKH in the middle of the night to see if Monte has gotten drunk enough to fire Luke?

I swear that moment when the tab is refreshing I feel so alive.

eddie41
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December 11, 2020 3:43 pm

On an even more macro level, it’s better for the nba to have competitive teams, and people who ask for tanks can’t complain about another decade of losses, and true sports fans would rather watch a Bruce Willis movie than get behind coaches and players who are capable of throwing games … so please, play to win.

RORDOG
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December 11, 2020 5:20 pm
Reply to  eddie41

If you could choose between 15 wins and the #1 pick, or 30 wins and being the the 10th seed with a ticket to the play-in tournament which would you choose?

Ialmostmissthemaloofs
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December 11, 2020 3:49 pm

All I am really wondering is… How does Cielo feel about our chances?

HumboldtCPA
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December 11, 2020 3:58 pm

I’m very much looking forward to the game tonight. Hoping for a win for my Dad’s birthday. He passed away in June. The last time I was able to go out with my Dad was when I took him to the game when we beat Houston in overtime last year. It was his first and only time at the new arena. I brought my mom up to Humboldt so we celebrate what would have been 78 years young. Just poured a glass of Laphroaig Quarter Cask Scotch and will be making prawn fettuccini alfredo for dinner tonight. Happy Birthday Pops and Lets Go Kings!!!

Bbmuteman
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December 11, 2020 5:07 pm
Reply to  HumboldtCPA

Sorry for your loss, and let’s hope the kings win one for him.

Kosta
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December 11, 2020 6:24 pm
Reply to  HumboldtCPA

(Virtual hug)

So sorry to hear about your Dad, HumboldtCPA.

I hope you and your mom have a memorable time together when you celebrate his 78 years.

LesJepsen3pointer
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December 11, 2020 4:04 pm

More like the dawn before the darkness

beephop
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December 11, 2020 4:32 pm

I’m just excited to see a Kings game on ESPN. Get some super nice HD angles of Haliburton’s funky shot!

Bbmuteman
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December 11, 2020 4:45 pm

Will there be a game time article to post in, or are we posting in here?

nikstauskasontheheat
December 11, 2020 4:51 pm

Does anyone know if Bagley or Whiteside will be available tonight?

kgdobter
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December 11, 2020 7:24 pm

Neither, they both stayed in Sacramento

RORDOG
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December 11, 2020 5:21 pm

Boogie’s looking good so far

Otis
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December 11, 2020 5:41 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Wall looks like he has nice burst to the rim, as well.

JoeEnzyme
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December 11, 2020 5:42 pm

Tank or not tank
I’m here to tell you I am conflicted. I just cannot watch a game and hope they lose. I hope they win every time I turn on the TV. I get it about strategically going for high picks in a quality draft. I also get it that the tanking strategy has a down side as it interferes with the competitive development of the current roster, whomever will be left after trades, etc. Rebuilding based on roster changes I can see, but when they are on the court I hope every shot goes in, every pass is true, and that they get a stop every time. I just can’t help myself. I hope they win tonight, even though it doesn’t matter.

Marty