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The 6th Man Report: All Star weekend puts the Kings out in front

Sacramento had at least one representative each day of All Star weekend, and delivered some memorable moments throughout.
By | 50 Comments | Feb 20, 2023

Feb 18, 2023; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Domantas Sabonis (left) and Anthony Edwards during NBA All-Star Game practice at Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: Please join us in welcoming our newest contributor, Melissa Treibwasser! Melissa has a wealth of experience covering a variety of sports, and is a longtime Kings fan (don’t worry, we did a background check, she went through the hard times with the rest of us). Welcome, Melissa!

It’s been a long time coming.

Though Kings players have dotted the All Star landscape through the years, never quite to the degree they did this weekend in Salt Lake City.

Sacramento has been well-represented in the Rising Stars Challenge game over the years, with nine selections since 2018 and at least one annually the last three years.

Kevin Huerter joined Buddy Hield as recent Kings to participate in the Three Point Competition, though his season-long sharp-shooting wasn’t quite on display at Vivint Arena Saturday night.

But it’s been five long years since the Kings have had an All Star game invitee, and a stunning 19 years since a duo has made the trip, when Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic were voted into the game, held that year in Los Angeles.

Just how long ago is that? Stojakovic’s son Andrej was just voted a McDonald’s All America and heads to Stanford next fall to hoop for the Cardinal.

He wasn’t yet born when his dad made the trip to SoCal.

So it was indeed a big deal to see De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis at the media events and in the big game, even if they weren’t the “stars” of All Star Sunday night.

Sabonis, chosen to Team Giannis played 12 minutes, scoring six points and pulling down four rebounds. Fox, a member of Team LeBron, got just nine minutes of run and was held scoreless, though he did drop a pair of dimes.

Not quite the numbers were are used to seeing from this dynamic duo, and Fox’s blown dunk was a lowlight in a game full of them, but they were there and that’s truly what matters most.

For a team that has been at best irrelevant and at worst a laughingstock over much of the past two decades, having that stage and those eyeballs on your stars is never a bad thing.

And while much of the talk during and post game was about guys like Jayson Tatum, Dame Lillard, and Kyrie Irving for various reasons, the two Kings acquitted themselves nicely in Salt Lake City. They got to talk about building something for the long term while staying focused on the now, and remind folks that they play for the team currently third in the Western Conference — even if most of the attention is on teams chasing them after they made big moves ahead of the NBA trade deadline.

Sure, the Mavericks and Suns will be getting most of the press going forward, but the Kings and their business-like approach are well positioned to get plenty of screen time when the playoffs approach.

Sparks are fun, but substance carries the day. Breaking the longest active postseason drought in the league (and at 16 years, the longest in NBA history) doesn’t happen over a weekend in February, but the chemistry built and the opportunities gained certainly can’t hurt.

Enjoy the time off and be ready to get back to work. We’ve got a win streak to start. #lightthebeam

Crown Him:

Keegan Murray: The rookie didn’t have a huge game for Team Pau in the Rising Stars contest, but his only shot was the one that mattered most:

Murray has had a typical rookie campaign with moments of greatness mixed in with moments of, well, looking like a rookie. But the confidence he will bring back to Sac with him after hitting that shot in that way should only help to buoy him for the stretch run.

Up Next:

The Kings return from the All Star break Thursday when they host Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers at Golden One.

The home cooking will be short-lived though, as Sacramento hits the road for the next three, first at the Clippers followed by back-to-back trysts in OKC against the Thunder.

SacTown’s Finest:

Though the Kings will be headed out, there will still be some quality basketball happening at Golden 1 this weekend.

It’s high school playoff season, and the Sac Joaquin Section has some unbelievable teams competing for a crown.

On the boys’ side, No. 4 seeded Jesuit, led by the aforementioned younger Stojakovic, plays Weston Ranch Wednesday night looking to make it to the title game in D1 against either Inderkum or Modesto Christian.

The D2 bracket has been rife with upsets, but No. 1 Rio Americano is still alive looking to survive the remaining field of Ponderosa, Whitney, and Granite Bay.

Check out the full brackets here.

Don’t sleep on the girls, either.

Folsom has dominated D1 all season long and that has continued for the Bulldogs’ playoff push. The matchup with McClatchy Tuesday night should be an epic battle. The winner of Antelope and St. Mary’s awaits them on the other side.

It’s been chalk in D2, with No. 1 Christian Brothers and No. 4 Woodcreek on one side and No. 2 Vista Del Lago and No. 3 Whitney on the other.

Full brackets here.

It’s going to be a great weekend of high school hoops no matter who is left standing in Golden 1.

 

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Daydreamer
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February 20, 2023 6:22 pm

Welcome, Melissa!!

Didn’t Neemie also play well in the “Next Up” game? (I didn’t see it.) Fox had some nice thing to say about him in a SacBee article.

Daydreamer
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February 20, 2023 6:26 pm
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TheBufferZone
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February 20, 2023 6:22 pm

Welcome aboard, Melissa!

I’m happy the boys were named All-Stars & that Keegan and Kevin were there, too. I don’t care about them not playing well in a joke exhibition game/skill contests. What matters most is what’s coming.

Final stretch- time to clamp down. Let’s go Kings!

UpgradedToQuestionable
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February 20, 2023 6:40 pm

Most important stat line to pepper in from the Salt Lake –

5 Kings participated (good add Daydreamer – Quetas and his thunderous dunks for the Up Next game) and arrived healthy and the same number will return that way – healthy. No injuries!

De’Aaron accounted himself well in his All-Star interviews – he stressed that the team understands that they have a hard road ahead in maintaining their stay in the playoff race.

Welcome aboard Melissa! Well done and I look forward to more.

Jman1949
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February 20, 2023 6:45 pm

Melissa,

if you’re truly a longtime Kings fan, you’ll understand when I bid you…

comment image&ct=g

murraytant
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February 20, 2023 7:49 pm

welcome Melissa.

ASG: a joke really.4-5 guys just trying to show off and jack up anything. I thought made a mockery of basketball and was disrespectful to the game. I know this is “homer” but I thought disrespectful to the newer players like Fox who barely played and would not try to show off like the others. I cannot imagine- actually, I can, how little stephie would have acted. He of being totally disrespectful under the guise of “just having fun”
Way too much “I am just too cool for school” vibe.
We are just having fun at the expense of others who deserved some respect and recognition.
Huerter stunk up the 3 point contest. Keegan barely got minutes in his game.
Hope that Mike Brown can use this as motivation- I know that at least 2 of those 3 are very internally competitive and this pissed them off too.
The Kings are disrespected, their players are too- so f…k you league -we will support each other.
Sounds like Q did well but he has some growing to do- hope Kings can grow him and not lose him.

Bluejohn
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February 21, 2023 11:54 am
Reply to  murraytant

Good introduction to this community Melissa, Welcome. Agree with your post murraytant. I watched just long enough to see both our guys play. I won’t be watching this joke of a show again.

I was very proud for Domas who came out looking to really play until after about a minute he realized this was a game that there was no game to “play” in. Since he isn’t showboater there wasn’t much for him to do.

In the interest of keeping Domas after his contract expires I thought it was important that he and Foxy made this ASG together and that in his first real season as a King he made the ASG.Hopefully this adds to improving the Kings ability to resign him.

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 12:35 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

The Kings can offer more money and years than anyone else. Domas will stay unless they dramatically screw the pooch. I think he feels more appreciated in Sac than Indy, too.

murraytant
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February 21, 2023 9:55 pm
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He will stay- it is more than the money.

Klam
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February 20, 2023 8:50 pm

Welcome to The Kings Herald community, Melissa! Looking forward to getting to know you and your writing. Hopefully you’ll get to write some postseason articles come April!

Kingsguru21
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February 20, 2023 9:41 pm

Welcome Melissa! Hopefully you get to discuss something worthwhile around here! Which All Star weekend is not!

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
murraytant
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February 21, 2023 9:50 am
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I have not watched any of it for years. Tuned in to peek at the Kings players. I was appalled. Fans and announcers took this seriously- look at the idiots having fun! look at the celebrities!! Oh wow, Tatum launches another, and he beats Kobe’s record!!!!! I could have beat Kobes’s record with the defense played there. Embarrassing. Done watching that forever, even if 10 Kings are in.

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February 21, 2023 11:31 am
Reply to  murraytant

After watching for 5 minutes…
comment image

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 12:33 pm
Reply to  murraytant

I had someone on Twitter tell me that the ASG was a showcase for the league. I personally couldn’t disagree more.

I think alot of fans want the game to become a game again. I don’t care, in fact I’m going to plan doing other things next year.

It’s an entertainment and networking event. It’s a business meeting. It’s not about basketball. Let the basketball side of the event die would be my wish. But that won’t happen anytime soon, sadly.

It is what it is.

RikSmits
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February 20, 2023 10:25 pm

Welcome aboard, Melissa!

And kudo’s for the TKH staff for some subtle rookie hazing by letting Melissa cover an event that had absolutely nothing to do with competitive basketball.

I hope that our guys came away from that event with the understanding that the only hardware that matters is a Championship Ring, and the focus and hunger to match.

rockbottom
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February 21, 2023 7:49 am

Welcome Melissa but feel All Star weekend is an insult to Basketball , especially the goofy game .

RikSmits
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February 21, 2023 9:42 am

Where are all the commenters? On AS break? That’s not the comment-galore welcome Melissa deserves.

Let’s have some lively topics to get the discussions started, eh?

ALL STAR WEEKEND SUCKS AND SHOULD BE ABOLISHED!

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 10:37 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Let me get this straight: You want me to comment more?!?!?

Go to the corner and take a timeout until you realize the error of your ways Dutchman! NOW!!!!!

RikSmits
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February 21, 2023 10:59 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Not necessarily you, no. But I felt it would be rude to single you out. Don’t make me regret it too much.

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 12:08 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Thank goodness. You meant the other people here. I was beginning to wonder about you.

Marty
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February 21, 2023 4:18 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

 That’s not the comment-galore welcome Melissa deserves.

Ok Rik I’ll check in…

((((ahem))))

Headline: “Kings out in front!”

Article: “Kings didn’t contribute much.”

🤷🏻‍♂️

RikSmits
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February 21, 2023 9:43 am

Our guys embarrassed Sacramento, instead of doing our franchise proud!!!

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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February 21, 2023 10:20 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Lol I know this is bait but I cant help myself. The All Star Weekend embarrasses itself.

RikSmits
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February 21, 2023 10:32 am

Bait? You wound me.

Yes, the AS weekend embarrassed itself, but our guys even looked bad within that setting.

Can anyone stand here and say with a straight face that they looked good?

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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February 21, 2023 11:20 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I’m sure Keegan can! 😁

Kosta
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February 21, 2023 4:02 pm

Keegan make three-pointers, but Keegan’t smile.

Mike120
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February 21, 2023 11:34 am

I’m glad our guys didn’t play much. Less risk of injury in a silly exhibition. The ASG just illuminated who the ball hogs are.

RobHessing
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February 21, 2023 12:05 pm

Welcome aboard, Melissa. Be sure to check the Hello Kitty backpack for weed.

Klam
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February 21, 2023 1:10 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

comment image

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 1:45 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

If she got weed brownies in there, all I know is she had better share!

Inthestarz
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February 21, 2023 2:00 pm

It’s a microcosm of Fox and Huerter’s games. Huerter has been inconsistent and bad at shooting the three lately and Fox still shows up when he wants to

RobHessing
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February 21, 2023 2:31 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

…and Fox still shows up when he wants to.

Given that he is on a very short list of 4th quarter clutch performers across the league, I am very comfortable with the “want to” of all-star De’Aaron Fox.

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 2:42 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

You know what would make me uncomfortable? Being an Atlanta Hawks fan. They just fired Nate McMillan….

What a shitshow they are RN.

RobHessing
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February 21, 2023 3:09 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Trae Young is the becoming the modern day Steve Francis.

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 3:51 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Modern day Steve Francis sounds right. 😂 😂 😂

Last edited 1 year ago by Kingsguru21
RobHessing
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February 21, 2023 3:53 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Someone that I know and respect offered up Marbury, and that’s a pretty solid comp as well.

Kingsguru21
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February 21, 2023 4:27 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Ah yes, Starbury. That’s probably a better comp actually.

RobHessing
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February 21, 2023 3:11 pm
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comment image

Adamsite
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February 21, 2023 3:20 pm
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andy_sims
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February 21, 2023 3:32 pm

Not disagreeing, per se, but a truly powerful old-man-yells-at-cloud vibe here. And I kinda liked Brown & Tatum giving one another the business, both were incredible.

And welcome, Melissa! If you can turn all-star drek into gold like this, I just know that your game summaries and other submission will be must-reads.

BeTheBall
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February 21, 2023 3:55 pm

My vote would be to pick all-star teams, but not actually play a game. Similar to how there’s no game for the All-NBA teams. Give them each a framed jersey, a hardy handshake, and send them on their way.

It’s all but impossible to give incentive to the players to actually try, and thus the game is not really much of a game. The weekend could then just consist things like an expanded field in the 3pt and dunk competitions, a celebrity game, revamp the skills competition. Maybe a 3-on-3 tourney or some such. Also tweak the G-League game to where the winning team gets $250k each and the losing team gets $75k.

This was the first time since the last Kings appearance that I’ve watched an actual ASG. It was so bad, that I can’t see myself watching again, regardless of whether we have players in or not.

Kosta
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February 21, 2023 4:04 pm

Congratulations on the new gig, Melissa! Welcome to Basketball Heaven!

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Klam
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February 21, 2023 4:50 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I’m glad we don’t have to say Basketball Hell this season!

HoustonJP
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February 21, 2023 6:41 pm

Nicely written story Melissa. Welcome.

murraytant
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February 21, 2023 10:23 pm

Off the stupid ASG and onto some serious topics.

I don’t have all the schedule in front of me with the western conference match ups and the back to backs etc. At the same time, I want the Kings to finish top 6- any predictions out there about how many wins this will take and number of western conference wins required? I know KG21 has an opinion and the data.

I do think that with the recent changes, Suns and LAC will probably pass Kings. That leaves a knock down fight with the Mavs.
But what are the chances of LAL, duds, NOP, Portland and Minnesota moving into top 6 and supplanting Kings? I do believe that the road for LAL is just too tight. duds have a hard haul as well. Minnesota? Portland is a risk and the game Thursday will have a big impact. NOP in my view are the biggest risk. Utah and OKC–no.
I Kings could get passed by Suns, LAC and Mavs and still get 6th. But that would mean a match up with Suns or LAC- bad. I would enjoy a 4-5 match up vs. Mavs.
just have to buckle it up and take it one game at a time. Kings will not sneak up on anyone and other teams will prepare for them. Ok, let’s see what we got.

Coach Mike wants more length and athleticism. Hence, the Edwards move, I suppose. I would have like Thybulle but he cannot shoot and you have to surround him with top flight scoring options.
LAC signed Plumblee but one year deal, Bones who does not play D and Gordon who has no length.
Will Barton??? but need an athletic young big who can protect rim- Noel?
and then get real busy in off season. Draft well and sign somebody and trade for somebody . and sign Sasha- he could help- not long or athletic but could help.
would love to get in top 6 and win a series. 3 or 4 would give home court.
But man, the Suns and LAC improved a great deal. Kings did not beat Suns even without KD.

BeTheBall
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February 22, 2023 9:43 am
Reply to  murraytant

I can’t see how LAL, Portland, or Minny pull off moving past us. I’m also not as high on the Suns or Mavs as others, in terms of passing us, but I think they’d be the most likely suspects to do so out of all of them. I’m hoping we luck out and the Westbrook effect stunts the Clippers chances at run to the finish line.

Jman1949
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February 22, 2023 12:35 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

FWIW, Grant Hughes over on Bleacher Report has the Suns and Clippers passing us. He sees us as the #5 seed getting swept by the 4th seed Clippers in the first round.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10065904-fresh-nba-playoff-predictions-and-championship-odds

BeTheBall
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February 22, 2023 3:51 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

With the Suns, it all depends on health…which is far from a sure bet by any means with Booker and Durant. Especially if “load management” rears it’s ugly head.

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