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Suns 130, Kings 125: Sacramento gets out-dueled in the desert

Big nights from Fox and Sabonis weren’t enough to secure the win.
By | 130 Comments | Feb 13, 2024

Feb 13, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Grayson Allen (8) scores against the Sacramento Kings in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings desperately needed a win against the Phoenix Suns for both their position in the standings and for playoff tiebreaker scenarios. Unfortunately, despite a thrilling back and forth fourth quarter, the Kings fell short in the closing minute and lost 130-125. The final minutes sealed Sacramento’s fate through an all-too-familiar combo of turnovers and bad fouls. It was a disappointing end to an otherwise very entertaining game.

The Kings were led by their stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, as well as big time bench minutes from Malik Monk. Fox finished with 40 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Sabonis had 35 points, 18 rebounds, and 12 assists, notching the 50th triple double of his career. Monk had 22 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds, despite being 0-5 from 3.

The Suns were led by Kevin Durant’s 28 points, and Devin Booker added 25. A long stretch of the fourth quarter consisted of the Kings hitting a shot only for KD or Booker to answer on the other end of the floor.

The Kings were shorthanded this game, missing both Sasha Vezenkov (ankle injury) and Trey Lyles (illness). Even among the players who did play, Sacramento’s supporting cast was pretty quiet in this game. Keegan Murray had just 6 points, and although he played solid defense throughout the game he also was called for a costly dead-ball foul that gave Phoenix a free throw plus the ball with under a minute left. I have no idea if the foul call was legit, as TNT didn’t think it warranted a replay.

I’m trying to come up with some additional analysis for this game, but really I’m just tired and frustrated. The Kings could have won that one, and I’m tired of watching the Kings barely lose winnable games this season. In the brutal Western Conference, every win and loss matters. Hopefully the upcoming All-Star break will recharge the Kings for the home stretch.

But before that break, the Kings have a back to back. Sacramento is back in action Wednesday night for a road game against the Denver Nuggets.

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BeTheBall
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February 13, 2024 10:03 pm

It’s going to be an interesting offseason. Lots of holes with zero cap room and a bare asset cupboard, especially if we keep our pick. Monte seems to have painted himself into a corner of perpetual mediocrity.

Amonk81
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February 13, 2024 10:43 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

I get Monte not wanting to give up too much for a big move but why the F couldn’t they have brought in O Neal etc? I didn’t think he cost much?

Why not add a bit to make a run this year?

without a healthy Fox this team crumbles. His ability to get whatever he wanted, especially in 4th was a pillar around which the entire O ran. That’s gone, for the most part. This is 75% Fox

Either Fox has to somehow
heal up enough over break or Brown has to adjust. Otherwise its a throw away season

BeTheBall
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February 13, 2024 10:56 pm
Reply to  Amonk81

I simply don’t see an injury. He looks completely healthy to me. Just inconsistent. Which has basically been his career…you take the good Fox with the bad Fox.

RikSmits
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February 13, 2024 11:08 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

Yup. Unless they formally announce an injury he is just dinged up, like most of the league.

Amonk81
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February 14, 2024 12:11 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Semantics. He’s hurt. Just watch him limp/run. Rarely leave the floor. Suddenly he can’t get by guys into the lane?

He’s hurt/injured, whatever you want to call it but he’s not the same right now and won’t be until he’s healthier.

RikSmits
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February 14, 2024 3:57 am
Reply to  Amonk81

I’m a semantic kind of guy.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 14, 2024 7:04 am
Reply to  RikSmits

and just for the record – I am not anti-semantic.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:09 am
Reply to  Amonk81

He settles for threes a lot. He doesn’t attack the basket like he used to so somethings wrong. He tried to go to the hole last night but IMO didn’t look lke the Fox we know.

Amonk81
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February 14, 2024 12:13 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

Have you watched him not leave the ground? Rarely go full speed? Almost never get by his guy into the lane?

I just don’t see how you could say he’s completely healthy. He is obviously dinged up. It is obviously affecting his game.

TerzoM
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February 14, 2024 9:17 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Agree. Not the same Fox past 20+ games. Wondering if there are any stats out there refs who calls more driving fouls to the rim? Perhaps use that as a guide instead of Derrick-Rosing your body and not getting calls.

jwalker1395
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February 14, 2024 6:54 am
Reply to  Amonk81

O’Neale cost 3 second rounders. That’s not nothing. Everyone complaining about the asset cupboard being bare would’ve also complained about spending what remained of the Kings assets on an old vet that wouldn’t have made the difference for this team to become great.

The Suns title window is open right now and shutting rapidly. They are the type of team that makes the trade for a guy like O’Neale and they did. When it’s the Kings time to seize on their championship window and make a move like that, they will. But it is painfully obvious that it is not the Kings time right now.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:05 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

And the Mavs picked up Washington who I liked and we will see how that workes out.

jwalker1395
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February 14, 2024 7:16 am
Reply to  Jack

That’s a good case study. IMO Washington is not a needle mover. Giving up assets for him just limits flexibility while not getting meaningfully better. Maybe by the end of the season I’ll be wrong, but for now I’m happy the Mavs got him rather than the Kings.

TerzoM
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February 14, 2024 9:32 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

Agree. Suns not winning championship with O’Neale- won’t be surprised if Durant jumps ship again. LAC will always be injury prone. Fakers LeBonk will be Biden/Trump’s age. GSWankers will be broken up (so looking forward to this). Looks like OKC is the one to beat for the coming years, let’s see what happens.

Amonk81
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February 14, 2024 11:11 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

I didn’t know how much they traded.

I guess the only answer is Brown adjusting the O w Fox as is and somehow getting them to focus on D

in fact, during the broadcast, Miller suggested that Brown had talked to Mark and Fox about defending every play. I certainly don’t love that. This guy should be able to focus.

However, I get it that’s not really monks role. He comes off the bench and scores. He just goes all out. That’s why Fox being a little off is a problem because it puts the ball in monks hands too much.

RPO
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February 13, 2024 11:31 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

I don’t see much happening in terms of trades or bringing in good free agents this offseason. Because of the cap space situation and lack of tradable assets, we’re stuck. Those things are largely out of the team’s control at this point but what is within the team’s control is internal growth. Mike and the coaching staff have to do a better job. This is essentially the same team as last year but I suspect last year’s team would kick this year’s team’s collective butt. The unstructured freestyle offense, lack of meaningful defensive progress, the strange rotations, … have all been a reflection of poor coaching, IMO. I believe the coaching staff can do better, and they’ll have to do better if we don’t want to become irrelevant.

Last edited 5 months ago by RPO
Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:12 am
Reply to  Greg

If the free agents want to come here.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 9:47 am
Reply to  Greg

The chances of adding needle-moving talent at the MLE or BAE salary are incredibly slim, unless the front office is thinking that Malik Monks grow on trees around the league. Davion and Duarte have negative trade value. I’d have to guess that Sasha’s value is also incredibly low, as we haven’t seen much sign that he’s an NBA-caliber player, and likely won’t this season as he’s out for the next 6 weeks.

It also will be very interesting to see what they decide to do with Keegan after next year, if he has another lackluster season of low growth.

Frankly, I don’t really trust that this front office can craft a roster that isn’t a postseason coin flip. Sure, that’s a lot better than the 16 previous years, but it’s not exactly exciting.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:04 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I trust this front office way more than I trust your assessments on things. Fox isn’t hurt, we have no assets, Keegan’s having “another lackluster season of growth”. Its almost as if you don’t really like this team at all.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 11:44 am
Reply to  Sacto_J

I don’t like a historically terrible franchise shooting for getting to OK, and then coasting on the goodwill it brings. Which has seemed to be Monte’s MO for the past year.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:00 am
Reply to  Greg

Thank you.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:03 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

Very frustrated last night as usual. Fox, Sabonis and Monk only players to come to the game the rest left it in the locker room although Monk as usual turns it over especially at the end. Fox too was picked what 2 times in the last 3 minutes. If we had only 1 not 2 or 3 but JUST ONE of the other starters step up the game was ours. Why do other teams when they play us just shoot lights out from 3 and we are supposed to be a great 3 point shooting team and can’t compete. Other than the 3 mentioned above ( who scored 101 points) nobody stepped up. Why when we play another team they always, at least 80% of the time, shoot a higher percentageof 3’s than we do? I have a solution. Instead of letting them shoot 3’s foul them before and after a time they would have to go to the foul line and shoot only 1 for 1. Sometimes they miss but even if not they only score 2. At the end of the game it would be 2 instead of 3. Difference of 1. Now we have a chance to win. Lol. Seriously everyone except 3 or 4 in the western division have gotten better than us and in the next 2 or 3 years will also be better. I feel for Monty. He doesn’t have much to work with. Fox and Sabonis and sometimes Monk are the only ones who are playing to their potential. The other 3 starters have not. Very frustrating. And other than Monk and Lyles(who we really needed last night) are they only ones on the bench who in most cases you can count on.Live and die with what we have. I am afraid we are going to die.

Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 7:58 am
Reply to  Jack

If they fouled that way, the game would be even worse. Foul trouble for the Kings, opponent always in the bonus.

The better solution would be to not leave the defender to have 5 Kings stuff the paint. Not sure why all 5 need to be in there, maybe 2 or 3 would suffice.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 11:12 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I agree. I was only being facetious.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 9:52 am
Reply to  Jack

Certainly didn’t help that Huerter went and got himself benched by arguing with Brown. I’ll be interested to see if he’s in the starting lineup tonight.

I can’t say I feel for Monte though, this roster is his own making. He dug this hole.

Amonk81
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February 14, 2024 11:15 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

What happened there? I missed it. Why was Brown in Hierters case? Not defending?

And how quickly the good vibes have gone in Sac seemingly

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 11:35 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Yeah, he blew himself up on defense, Brown took the timeout, and promptly started chewing his ass. Huerter snapped at him and walked away mid chew.

caseycheesecake
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February 14, 2024 8:54 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

I’m old enough to remember what “perpetual mediocrity” actually means. I think this team has what it takes to get past the first round.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 10:07 am

I’m not convinced this team has what it takes to make the play-in.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:13 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

We know.

discocricket
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February 13, 2024 10:06 pm

That was a tough loss. The officials didn’t do us any favors tonight, but then again neither did the bench (outside of Monk). Brown has been having some success with the small lineups but there were sequences in the 2nd half where it didn’t work well. I saw some strong defense for small stretches. I also saw a roster that was short a piece (veteran ballhandling guard, defensive wing).

NorCalKingsFan
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February 14, 2024 2:55 pm
Reply to  Greg

Booker was constantly initiating contact with defenders who were in legal position and the entire game he was walked to the FT line by the refs. They even gave him the swipe-through call that the league said they wouldn’t call anymore if the offensive player causes all contact…yet, there he was getting the call which put the Kings in the bonus.

The Kings are on the wrong end of the ref’s 50/50 decisions every single night. It’s never enough to completely destroy the Kings’ chances at winning, but it costs them several possessions per game and IMO it’s blatantly obvious that the Kings star players (Fox & Domas) don’t get the same level of “respect” from the refs as other team’s marquee players do.

This is coming from someone who calls out all the fouls that the Kings got away with as well…I simply want to see an even playing field and it’s been far from it. It’s unfortunately quite normal that the refs give star players more leeway and the benefit of the doubt, but lets not confuse that with fair officiating.

This team isn’t good enough to overcome good teams AND the refs.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:14 am
Reply to  discocricket

We might and I say might would have gotten either 1 or both but according to Monty that wasn’t possible.

ForKingsandCountry
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February 13, 2024 10:11 pm

I feel pretty confident looking at the schedule that the Kings aren’t making the playoffs. Not conferring the pick to Atlanta this year kills them and completely limits their ability to make moves this summer. Whiffing on Davion and missing every second round pick kills them too. I think we’re seeing the limits of what a Fox/Sabonis combo can do if the West is relatively healthy. They need another player on those guy’s level to compete and I don’t see how they’re getting that player. Last year was awesome but the conference had a down year and now it isn’t. Bummer.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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Nostradumbass 18
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February 13, 2024 10:19 pm

Their remaining games to end this month are brutal. Even if you include the home game against the Spurs, we all know this team plays down to the level of competition. Not to mention that the Lakers and Warriors are creeping up from behind us. The teams in the top six in the West are pulling away while we’ve been falling.

I wish some kind of move was made at the deadline to fill in some of our most glaring holes, but I guess the assets we had just weren’t attractive enough.

ForKingsandCountry
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February 13, 2024 10:24 pm
Reply to  Klam

Yeah I think that’s the problem. Teams wanted young players with upside. Other than Keegan we don’t have any. That’s why the Davion pick hurts. If we hit that pick, we’ve got an asset to combine with picks to go get a real player.

RikSmits
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February 13, 2024 11:36 pm

We also haven’t hit on any of our 2nd round picks. Some teams are really good at finding gems, but Monte has been 0 for ? there, so far.

Jman1949
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February 14, 2024 9:07 am
Reply to  Klam

This stretch of games to end the month is indeed brutal, but the month of March presents some easing with 11 home games and only 5 on the road. We’re currently 15 – 9 at home; and the road games are Minnesota, LAL, and a three-game trip to Toronto, Washington, and Orlando.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:16 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Nope, make no mistake; this team is cooked. They whiff on second round picks, didn’t get the Davion pick right, Keegan is having “another lackluster season” and now the cupboard is bare and Domas and Fox aren’t very good after all and the guy on TNT said Haliburton is a super star not Sabonis or Fox, so there’s no way we can win anything now.

lol

oshima9
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February 13, 2024 11:49 pm

TJD at Golden State might have helped

All those bad home losses are about to come home to roost

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:21 am
Reply to  oshima9

You bet they are.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:19 am

Every team in the western conference is getting better although the Lakers and Suns are in the same spot. Teams like the Jazz, Rockets and Spurs will be far better next year.

ForKingsandCountry
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February 14, 2024 7:48 am
Reply to  Jack

Yep very true. Every other team (mostly) has added significant talent but we have not.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:14 am

How do you whiff on a second round pick? Less than 1/5th of second round picks get signed to NBA contracts, so everybody out here “whiffing” on second round picks, I guess. That might be the silliest comment of the day, a tough feat on a day like today.

NorCalKingsFan
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February 14, 2024 2:59 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

you trade them away as if they aren’t worth anything…it took Monte too long to realize that Sacramento won’t ever attract FAs, regardless of whether they are a good team or not, so he actually needs to use and hit on those 2nd rounders to really get something of worth out of them.

SRPs mean little to teams that can acquire talent via FA, but for small market teams, they are a helpful tool to have on the path to continued and long-term success.

Ellis5
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February 13, 2024 10:20 pm

I feel like everything that needs to be said got said in the previous thread.

EastSacChuck
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February 13, 2024 10:24 pm

I rarely post on here, but I feel like I need to counteract the pessimism. I think the Kings are 13-9 against the top teams in the West.

Yeah, they lost tonight. They also played pretty well and Sabonis crushed the small lineup. They were just beat by Durant shots and some misses on D. They realistically didn’t have a play at the trade deadline, so what was the answer??? I think just keep it going and hope that they draw a good matchup in the playoffs/play-ins.

The highs of this team are way better than any other west team except nuggets, clippers, pelicans, and maybe mavs

SelecaoKOJ
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February 13, 2024 11:24 pm
Reply to  EastSacChuck

I think you’re really giving the team too much credit and not looking at the complete landscape. Both Denver wins were without Murray and KCP.
The Minny win was without Daniel’s in the lineup. Dallas is already massively improved with Gafford and Washington.
The Kings are even with the Dubs in Head to head. Kings have an advantage over the Lakers. Come playoff time though, Lakers always flip a switch. Kings are not way better than the Wolves. The season series is even.Kings have a 2-1 advantage over OKC. But I suspect that won’t be for long.
OKC just signed. Biyombo. A real
nightmare for Sabonis his entire career.
With a 7’2 wingspan and can bang with Sabonis.

The Kings are in real
trouble if the Lakers and Dubs make second half runs. When Kings get back from the break four of their next 5 are a nightmare. Heat, Clippers, Nugs and Wolves, Spurs

Jman1949
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February 14, 2024 6:11 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Both Denver wins were without Murray and KCP.

Chris Dempsey: #Nuggets coach Michael Malone said on our radio show he expects Jamal Murray (tibia) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (hamstring) to be doubtful for tomorrow’s game vs. the Kings

comment image&ct=g

Last edited 5 months ago by Jman1949
Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 6:19 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Probably the only way the Kings beat the Nuggets

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:18 am
Reply to  Hobby916

ok

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 11:15 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I wonder if the league will let us replay the Denver & Minny games, then. So we can face them at full strength. Or do they just take a half a win off those games?

RPO
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February 13, 2024 11:33 pm
Reply to  EastSacChuck

I definitely admire the enthusiasm. I wish I had some of it.

aplumley
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February 13, 2024 10:27 pm

I’m pissed

rockbottom
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February 13, 2024 10:34 pm

This is a fun team and a pretty good one as evidenced by this game . Does seem at least one starting level player short of being a serious Western contender . Also, really enjoyed the TNT broadcast. Seemed very fair and did a great job of focusing on game action. . Tough back to back then some well deserved rest especially Sabonis !

NorCalKingsFan
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February 14, 2024 3:03 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

yeah, compared to our crew it was quite nice. they don’t talk through the entire game

Amonk81
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February 13, 2024 10:47 pm

Second half, I need to see Keegan get aggressive often/always now. Enough with this fuzzing out on O.

Especially with Fox off. Or maybe Brown needs to help I don’t know but it’s getting a little old.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:28 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Overall in his second year with great improvement on defense and attacking the basket he needs the ball more. I still can’t understand his foul at the end of the fourth quarter. Had a lot to do why we lost. Someone explain it because I didn’t get an explanation from the commentators.

Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 8:00 am
Reply to  Jack

He either grabbed or held when the Sun’s player was moving to get open. They refused to show many fouls that the Kings “committed”.

NorCalKingsFan
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February 14, 2024 3:07 pm
Reply to  Hobby916

The ref on the backside said he grabbed Booker’s jersey. When Booker made his break back up to half-court to receive the ball, he pushed off of Keegan to separate and Keegan had his hands on Booker’s jersey, but he never grabbed or held him. It was one of several BS calls.

RikSmits
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February 13, 2024 10:53 pm

Keon Ellis Has held Devin Booker at 2-11 in the middle of the third quarter Ellis Subs out the Game and Booker scores 7-10 Points straight, Ellis is a great on ball Defender,Active Hands Energy Guy.

https://x.com/GreenroomNba/status/1757631992055656574?s=20

great job, coach Brown.

Also, i am starting to doubt if Keegan has the mental makeup to be anything more than a complementary player with a few great games sprinkled in. Grow a pair, kid.

RPO
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February 13, 2024 11:36 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

The honeymoon between Mike Brown and Kings fans is definitely over. He’ll be getting some deserved scrutiny going forward.

RikSmits
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February 13, 2024 11:39 pm
Reply to  RPO

Given the dynamics between him and Huerter this game, it seems as if the honeymoon with some players is also getting to an end.

Or maybe I’m reading to much into it and everybody just needs a breather.

Amonk81
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February 14, 2024 12:15 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Does anyone know what went on their w Hierter/ Brown?

RikSmits
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February 14, 2024 3:56 am
Reply to  Amonk81

I think Browned subbed him out and subbed him out (end 3rd/early 4th?) and they had words as Huerter went to the bench. He then never returned to the game.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:37 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I think it had to do with defense and missing assignments. Could be wrong.

Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 4:26 am
Reply to  Amonk81

Brown called a timeout after a blown defensive play that resulted in an open 3 by Durant (I think). Brown came in to the court and was visibly upset talking to huerter. Huerter said something and just started walking away while Brown was trying g to finish the talk.

No idea what was said, who blew the assignment, etc. All I know is that many times shooters were left wide open, no matter who was in the game.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:38 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Happens way too much.

Amonk81
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February 14, 2024 11:21 am
Reply to  Hobby916

Unfortunately, it’s all points towards players tuning out Brown. And that is his biggest issue previously.

oshima9
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February 14, 2024 12:21 am
Reply to  RikSmits

It is still premature, but you have to start wondering if the Kings should have included Murray in a trade for Anunoby.

jwalker1395
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February 14, 2024 7:02 am
Reply to  Greg

Trades for guys like Anunoby or Royce O’Neale or whoever are all win-now moves with long-term sacrifices. Unsurprisingly, the teams who made those moves are winning now.

But only one team gets to raise the trophy at the end of the season. That means most ‘win now’ moves will result in disappointment, and a loss of long-term opportunities.

The Kings lost tonight, but they haven’t sacrificed their future. We may wish we were the Knicks today, but when they’re paying $35+ million for OG next year we might be feeling a lot better.

oshima9
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February 14, 2024 7:24 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

i doubt we will be feeling better when Anunoby is playing for the Knicks next year, providing all-NBA defensive. They will be winning next year, too. Basketball isn’t accountancy. Not sure this team has a great future, either.

SelecaoKOJ
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February 14, 2024 10:30 am
Reply to  oshima9

100.

MichaelMack
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February 14, 2024 9:55 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

Well said JW.

SelecaoKOJ
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February 14, 2024 10:27 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

Win now!! lol! Do you know what you’re saying. OG is one year older than Keegan. Keegan is not 20 years old. Let that resonate. OG is already a 2 way player that led the Knicks to an 11-1 record before he got injured. A lot of that was the addition of OG. Keegan on the other hand. In the past 8 games. 8.5ppg. While he is playing great D. He is in no way helping the team in the other end. In fact, a liability. Where has he been the past 2 weeks. Cmon man.

You have to pay to play. Why are you worrying about the salary cap. The point is to win. It’s a losers mentality. Especially signing Ellis to a 3 year deal. Cmon. Guy is no better than a 9-10 off the bench.

Keegan doesn’t have the skill set to be an OG. Too slow, can’t create, and has zero downhill ability.

I have to laugh when people talk up Keegan like he’s the next Kawhi. He’s not and will never be.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 11:27 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

That’s your opinion and I respect that but totally disagree.

Jman1949
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February 14, 2024 11:34 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Per basketball-ref, OG was born in 1997 and Keegan was born in 2000. I think that’s more than a one year difference!

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 12:10 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

3 years and 33 days difference, to be exact.

Side note: midway through his 2nd year Keegan has played in 1/3 of the number of games OG midway through his 7th. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 11:20 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

I’d argue that giving up a couple 2nds for Royce isn’t an all-in move.

NorCalKingsFan
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February 14, 2024 3:17 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

You keep saying a couple of 2nds, it was 3 SRPs and 4 bench players (for matching salary) to add O’Neale and David Roddy.

The Suns could do this because they know they can sign some decent veteran talent off of the FA/buy-out market to fill out the rest of the roster, not an option for the Kings as vets are going to sign with teams like PHX, LAC, LAL, or BOS.

BeTheBall
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February 15, 2024 8:28 am
Reply to  NorCalKingsFan

Still, giving up those 2nds plus Duarte and Mitchell isn’t an all-in move.

SelecaoKOJ
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February 14, 2024 10:20 am
Reply to  Greg

For a guy that has averaged 8 ppg. Over the last 8. (Keegan)The only thing he’s providing right now is on the defensive end. Knicks were virtually unbeatable before OG’s injury. There is also only 1 year in age separating Murray and OG. So,
you tell me who’s making a bigger impact. And who has the bigger ceiling? It’s not close. OG impacts the game both ways. Murray does not. And that’s more than obvious.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 10:40 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Your take is hot trash. Keegan is having a rough stretch but they’re averaging similar stats this year, with the edge going to slightly to Murray for rebounding and slightly to OG for efficiency. The empirical evidence suggests that they have a very similar impact on games. The real difference between the two is that the Raptors waited 7 years for OG to be this guy everyone thinks he’s going to turn into and they finally got tired of waiting. Meanwhile, Murray is in season 2, shattered a rookie record last year and is now the best defender on his team while being asked to expand his offensive role as well. OG averaged 7 and 3 as a sophomore.
I say again, your take is hot trash.

SelecaoKOJ
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February 14, 2024 11:43 am
Reply to  Sacto_J

Once again. The difference is their age Murray is not 20. Hot trash.ok. When Murray shows up on offense. In a key game get back. To me. Sounds like allowance and excuse. Where was Keegan last night? Tell me. Oh yeah A slump. What he did last year means nothing. Comparing OG to Murray is hilarious. Let me repeat. There is a one year difference in age. The ceiling for both is not the same. OG was in the league at 19.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 12:04 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

A one year difference in age? Keegan is 23y-179d and OG is 26y-212d. My back of napkin math pencils that out to be just over 3 years difference in age.

Jman1949
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February 14, 2024 12:35 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

And OG was 19 when he was drafted, but turned 20 before he actually started playing. And in his third year in the league, OG went through a stretch of 10 games starting toward the end of January through the beginning of February in which he averaged 4.6 points per game.

Jman1949
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February 14, 2024 12:49 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Ha! I just took a look at Keegan’s scoring over the last 8 games as was noted in the comment above. That would include the Miami game in which he scored 33. His average then would be 11+, not 8 as presented here.

Sacto_J
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February 14, 2024 4:43 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Get back to me when you can do basic math.

oshima9
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February 14, 2024 2:40 pm
Reply to  Sacto_J

Something that is getting lost is that the Knicks are making moves to try to win at an elite level. Management isn’t praying at the alter of the salary cap and roster flexibility like the Kings and some fans here. Maybe Murray becomes great, maybe he doesn’t, but Anunoby’s impact now is obvious, and would have improved the KIngs significantly now, while, with the current roster, the team is sinking towards the play in, and could even miss the playoffs.

You can have a spirited argument about whether Murray should have been traded for Anunoby, but there isn’t really one about whether focusing on the cap and roster flexibility will win a title, it won’t. The top title contenders are in the top 12 in spending, while the Kings are a comfortable 23rd. Until that changes, don’t expect much more than entertainment from this team. Don’t be surprised when teams like the Warriors and Clippers, supposedly too old and too maxed out on payroll, find a way to jump over the Kings again in the next few years.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 11:24 am
Reply to  oshima9

NOWAY!

Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 6:18 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Wait, Ellis played 7 minutes and Booker took 11 shots during that time? That doesn’t make sense to me.

Were those 11 shots taken while Ellis was guarding Booker? I don’t think that is accurate.

Now, Ellis is a good defender and I think he should be getting more minutes. I do question Brown’s “throw random shit at the wall and see what happens” strategy, especially this far in to the season. It just shows that the bench is a mess. Brown has had some questionable rotations all season.

Mcgee over Len when Len is clearly better.

Davion over Ellis which is not really working.

Sasha getting little minutes when healthy.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:44 am
Reply to  Hobby916

I think Ellis with his height advantage(6′ 6″) might be a better defender than Mitchell. Not a knock on Mitchell he is just short. Look what Ellis did last night defending Booker. Then Ellis went to the bench and look what Booker did to us in the fourth. Enough said.

Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 8:03 am
Reply to  Jack

Ellis is a better defender, especially against taller players. Davion just isn’t big enough to guard guys that are 6’4 or taller.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:34 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Why take him out? Look what Booker did in the fourth. You all know how I feel about defense. Could have been the difference.

ForKingsandCountry
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February 14, 2024 7:51 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I said it at draft time but Keegan is Tobias Harris. Which is good! It’s just not great and we need great to take the next step. I’m hoping he can push past that ceiling but we’ll see.

NorCalKingsFan
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February 14, 2024 3:25 pm

In terms of talent and production, Keegan (15pts, 5reb, 2ast on 46/36/80) is nearly already equivalent with Tobias Harris (18pts, 6reb, 3ast on 51/35/90 splits) and KM will likely continue to get better each year.

That doesn’t even take into account the massive pay disparity, KM earns $8.4M while Harris earns $40M.

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February 14, 2024 7:53 am
Reply to  RikSmits

It’s almost like Monte was making a point by signing Ellis to a 3 year deal. tank the hint, Coach.

Hobby916
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February 14, 2024 8:04 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Monte is going to have to go Billy Beane and trade away the guys that he doesn’t want getting playing time.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 11:17 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I simply don’t understand why Davion gets minutes when Keon is also on the roster.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 11:22 am
Reply to  RikSmits

i still think Murray will be a great asset for the Kings. His defense(had none last year as a rookie) his attacking the basket(didn’t do it last year) and only in his second year.He is asked IMO to do so much it has taken away some of his offense especially his 3 point shooting. Give him a little slack and he will surprise you.

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February 13, 2024 11:01 pm

The lack of a supporting cast becomes more obvious by the minute, that should’ve been obvious to Monte in the offseason and at the deadline but this FO seems content to be in the 5-8 (probably 7-8) range for now. I do think this team will make the playoffs though if Fox and Sabonis don’t miss a major chunk of time so it could be a lot worse.

jwalker1395
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February 14, 2024 7:06 am
Reply to  ajonez81

I agree. I want Fox to be better, but tonight the game was lost because 3/5 of our starters had subpar games. Last year Huerter, Murray, and Barnes were all LETHAL 3 point shooters off Fox&Ox kickouts.

This year, they are streaky and mediocre by league standards overall. That’s enough to knock us down from the No. 1 offense in the league. Pair that with their generally bad defense, it’s not a winning formula. Only Murray can be a plus player without making shots.

We desperately need a third tentpole of the team at the wing/forward position. We hoped Keegan would be that guy this year but he’s not yet and may never be. But we can’t keep hoping that 2/3 of those guys will show up on a given night when they consistently have not been.

Last edited 5 months ago by Jacob Walker
Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:46 am
Reply to  ajonez81

And the other 3 starters start living up the their potential. Or maybe they are.

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February 13, 2024 11:19 pm

This game is somewhat emblematic of the season as a whole – showed some promise, had some anxious moments and even some excitement, but fizzled out at the end. I know there’s a lot of season left, and I hope we can turn it around but right now we’re in 8th place and steadily sinking.

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February 14, 2024 3:15 am

Kings don’t finish quarters well. Gave up 7-0 run in the second, 5-0 in the third and 6-2 in the fourth. Net 16 points. Oh, and Free Throws.

DNP-CD
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February 14, 2024 6:41 am
Reply to  Mike120

Total lack of focus. It’s been a problem for as long as I can remember.

macdoogs
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February 14, 2024 3:56 am

Love me some De’Aaron but…. I’m starting to wonder about building the team around Domas fully and maybe seeing what we can fetch for Foxy. He’s been my favorite King for a long time but the inconsistencies with his game are starting to become more of a thing. He’s definitely not the only issue this team has but sometimes moves need to be made to get better and have better fits. JWill for Bibby rings a bell.

Monte might be ran out of town for it but I’m curious what the haul we could get for Fox might be.

jwalker1395
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February 14, 2024 7:09 am
Reply to  macdoogs

100% agree that this is Domas’ team

OLDBHOY
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February 14, 2024 7:37 am
Reply to  macdoogs

I have said the same thing per Fox. I was saying it when he was rolling last year and he was getting MVP chants.

My reasoning is that I have felt for years now that even at his best he is not a number one (Batman) on a true contender/championship team. I think he could be a two.(Robin). I was saying to trade him at peak value, package him with other value and maybe you can get a true number one.

He is very good not great. He can take over and win games on occasion but has too many mediocre effort games and defensive lapses to be a true number one.

macdoogs
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February 14, 2024 8:56 am
Reply to  OLDBHOY

Last year he was really engaged after his usual beginning to the season slump, and I think our hype kept him going. He started this year the best he’s ever started but has been super jekyll and hyde.

It’s made me wonder if not being THE guy has an effect on him? We saw it with hali when he was getting all the love, and how he seemingly flipped a switch and turned it up a notch when he was traded. I’m wondering if maybe with how great Domas has been if he feels a type of way with all the love he gets now? Pure speculation on my end but it has been something I’ve been thinking about.

I don’t think I’d be that upset if we could get a haul for him in the off season. Draft picks and a young player or two could help us out in the long run. Build around Domas completely. More shooters and 3&D players would be nice

OLDBHOY
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February 14, 2024 9:52 am
Reply to  macdoogs

I have wondered about the reasons as well but I accept he is the player he is. He has elite potential but it is not consistently seen in the games.

At a certain point the reason why doesn’t matter, it is what it is. The question becomes what will the decision makers do about it.

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February 14, 2024 8:00 am
Reply to  macdoogs

There is a lot of truth to this.

Sabonis’ game will translate for years, and he is still ascending. Fox, on the other hand will slow sooner than later. He doesn’t have elite handles, shooting, playmaking, or defense, so once his first step and quickness ages, he will go from excellent to average real quick.

Last edited 5 months ago by Adamsite
OLDBHOY
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February 14, 2024 9:43 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Exactly. I doubt his game will age well ala Iverson, Francis, Wall, etc. He seems to get nicked/dinged up often and he is still young. And his motor is already inconsistent.

I think trading him last year or in the off season at peak value was the move. A big part of a GMs job is to forecast these options. I’m afraid Monty might have missed the boat on getting max value from Fox.

VAking
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February 14, 2024 6:06 am

32-29 by 3/2? Damn. We’ll be lucky to even make the play-in.

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 14, 2024 7:28 am

Close game, good game, Kings come up short. Disappointing, yes – Gloom, panic, disgust? not for me.

This team did so well last season, they raised expectations above their level, IMO. A year ago, most fans, me included, were hoping for a .500 or better season for the first time in 17 seasons. Sac blew that away, with 48 wins – a (+) 18 gain over the season prior. 3rd in the Western Conference, Top of the Pacific Division where the whole Division went to the playoffs. That was an overachieving accomplishment.

Now – we all want more. Of course we do, and should.

Another consideration is that this continues to be a better than .500 team. A strong playoff contender, not a championship contender, the second season after the long drought and they are playing at the level of a rising team. Not more (unfortunately, darn it), not less (7 games above .500 5-5 the last 10).

And with the reigning Coach of the Year (unanimous), and reigning Exec of the Year. And two All-NBA level players.

53 down, 29 to go.

Next.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 7:51 am

Close is not winning and is only good in horseshoes and hand grenades.

discocricket
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February 14, 2024 8:00 am

I love the positivity and agree, I did not expect to be in this position before last season started. That said, is Brown COY this year? Is Monte EOY this year? Are we moving forward, treading water, or falling back? Fox and Sabonis aren’t getting any younger or quicker, and Fox is going to be crazy expensive soon.

bjax1
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February 14, 2024 7:30 am

Great post Greg. Why all the doom and gloom? Kings barely lost to a hot Suns team at home. Suns made a few more shots down the stretch than the Kings. It’s not like we got blown off the Court. In a tough West we need to tweak some stuff, but take a look at the future. The stars for PHX, GS and the Lakers are getting up there (Durant, Curry, LeBron). All are also in cap hell. Minnesota and OKC are on the rise with young stars but we’re beat both of them this year. Clips are tough but do we really suspect the aging core of Kawhii, PG and Harden to perform like this over the next few years. Denver is good, but we’ve beat them twice. All is not lost. Just keep your eyes on the big picture. I’m confident Monte and MB can bring in / develop some longer defensive wings who can also score. That and Keegan being more consistent is all we really need IMO.

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February 14, 2024 9:25 am
Reply to  bjax1

I’m not sure I agree with this. Sure the Suns, Lakers, and Clips have older stars, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They each could have a couple more years, and that doesn’t take into consideration of either of them retooling since it’s apparent they are willing to spend whatever it takes. OKC, Minny and Denver aren’t going anywhere either. Denver’s window is far from closed and Minny’s is just now opening. Then you have to look at the Pelicans as a team that will continue to get better.

So let’s hypothetically say the Kings play the waiting game and continue to operate around 25th in spending. In the meantime the Spurs and Houston young stars continue to grow. What if they lap the Kings next year just like OKC did? Where does that place the Kings? probably in the play-in for the next year or two, or even in the late lottery.

At some point you either have to go all in or fold. Good GMs have proven this philosophy in recent years. Once you realize you can’t get out of the middle and into real contention you blow it up. Sam Presti did this with OKC, Phiily had “The Process” and Ainge has done it twice with two different teams!

Am I saying that Monte needs to trade away Sabonis and Fox. No…at least not yet, but if he comes to the realization that the two of them will never lead the Kings out of the first round, then shouldn’t he consider it? Ainge traded off a DPOY and MVP candidate in Utah when he came to this conclusion and is now leading a youthful rebuild with a ton of picks and sits just 4.5 games behind the Kings.

If the philosophy is to wait and kick the can down the road with a high potential to return with the same starting 5 next season, then the team is going nowhere fast.

SelecaoKOJ
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February 14, 2024 11:31 am
Reply to  bjax1

They lost without the Suns third best player. Cmon

Kfan
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February 14, 2024 8:41 am

Bummer we lost, but an entertaining game.

How was the play where Booker landed on Sabonis’ back not an and 1? That’s an automatic call.

BeTheBall
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February 14, 2024 11:31 am
Reply to  Kfan

I believe they asked Booker if he felt he fouled Sabonis, and Booker said no. Similar to when he knocked the ball out of bounds and told the refs he didn’t.

Jack
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February 14, 2024 11:37 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

The sad thing is the referees believed him. No player in this league should be able to change a call. NEVER!

RobHessing
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February 14, 2024 10:01 am

A 46 win pace is a little disappointing to me. Man, just take care of business at home vs. the dregs of the East (Detroit and Charlotte) and you are the 5th seed and on a 50 win pace.

There is still time for the Kings to get hot. A 50 win season is not off the table. But with almost 2/3 of the season gone, there is not much time to get it together. a 20-9 finish seems unlikely, but not impossible.

Also, my Spidey sense envisions a play-in opponent that resides less than 100 miles from here. That should be fun for everyone’s digestive system.

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February 14, 2024 1:56 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

My money is on another despised division rival. It will be soul crushing if the Kings loose to either of them in the play-in.

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February 14, 2024 3:54 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Beat one of them 9/10 spot, and beat the other 7/8 team; and then getting swept 1st round. This is the way.

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