Team Record (2-1) 6th in the West, 1st in the Pacific Division
This week not only brings jersey flashbacks, but also thoughts of the Cardiac Kings of yesteryear, as the team has delivered thrilling conclusions in their last two consecutive games. Despite the close games, the Kings finish the week 2-1. If someone had asked me at the beginning of the week what the Kings’ record would be by the end of it, I would have said 3-0, but that’s probably because I’m an irrational Kings fan. Nonetheless, I’m genuinely excited about the team’s start. In addition to the return of the Beam Team, we have something new for you all – a captivating gimmick column called The Kings Power Rankings. In this segment, I, Zack V, a newly inked contributor to the Herald, will provide a concise breakdown of the most impactful Kings players and the reasons behind their influence. Let’s dive in!
- De’Aaron Fox – The undisputed leader of the team, Fox has been a force to be reckoned with leading the team in points, assists, free throws made, and pure badassery. Fox started the week in cruise control in the team’s dominant win against the Jazz, but when he faced off against his Under Armour sponsor big brother, Steph Curry, in a playoff rematch against the Warriors, Fox took it to another level. Channeling his inner Clutch Player of the Year, Fox stepped up late in the game, scoring an impressive 22 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Kings in contention. Unfortunately, in Sunday night’s thrilling overtime battle against the Lakers, Fox suffered an ankle injury. The good news is that he is expected to recover within a week or two and should be back on the court soon.
Sources say Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox had “good news” on an X-ray late last night that showed there wasn’t a significant ankle injury suffered during the Lakers win. Fox could be back within a week’s time, a source said.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) October 30, 2023
- Keegan Murray — despite receiving zero DPOGs in the first week of the season, there’s no doubt that Murray has been the most versatile and impactful defensive force on the team at the beginning of this season. Murray spent time guarding everyone from Lebron, to Colin Sexton, to Klay Thompson in week 1. Per Statmuse, he’s got a +14 defensive plus-minus and the eye test didn’t lie, with Keegan sprinting back hard on D in transition, deflecting balls left and right, and serving as the team’s biggest threat as a rim protector.
- Domantas Sabonis — Domas made sure to make his presence felt in the marquee Friday matchup against the Warriors on Friday dropping 19 points, 18 rebounds, 7 dimes, and 3 steals. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to help secure the win and he’s yet again struggling with effective defense without excessive fouling, as shown by his recent foul out against the Lakers.
- Malik Monk — Although Monk has started the season a bit streaky with his shooting stroke, converting just 39% of his attempts, there is no denying his impact when he turns the switch. He remains a formidable presence by relentlessly driving to the paint and creating opportunities for both himself and his teammates.
- Harrison Barnes — Unless you were living under a rock that shields you from the glorious purple beams, you would already know that HB dropped 33 points in game 1 of the season, with 27 of those coming in the first half. However, the problem is that he turned back into a pumpkin scoring a combined 18 points with little other impact in the next two games.
- JaVale McGee — Did you see JaVale’s fit last night??!?!? As Will pointed out, my man was rocking quite a stylish top hat! On top of hat, see what I did there… He’s been the efficient rim-running, shot-blocking Willie Cauley Benjamin Button Stein that this team desperately needed all of last season.
All these years later and the Kings finally have a big guy that rocks a top hat. pic.twitter.com/jGR5ulwXf7
— Will Griffith (@WillofThaPeople) October 30, 2023
- Chris Duarte — While Duarte’s statistical output may not jump off the page at first glance, with an average of just under 6 points per game in his limited 18 minutes of playtime, his contributions can be felt on the defensive end of the court. This has translated into a noteworthy +6 defensive plus-minus for the season so far.
- Sasha Vezenkov — Veze is essentially as advertised with a quick release, efficient shooting skills, solid cutting, and a bit of a turnstile for opposing offenses. He’s a nice depth piece to have in spot minutes when shots aren’t falling for guys like Keegan, HB, and Red Velvet. Also, he gets his role already three games into the season. Seeing his reaction to being called up to the scorer’s table just to see Keegan drain a 3 and get yanked right back to the bench tells you everything you need to know about his character and world class smile.
"I think he turned to me and said, 'Eff you.'"
This Keegan Murray story from Mike Brown is gold 😂 pic.twitter.com/w8UIMP52PB
— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) October 30, 2023
- Kevin Huerter — Although the season started off rough for Red Velvet, with a disappointing 27% shooting percentage and defensive struggles in the first two games, there were signs of improvement on Sunday. Huerter showcased his abilities primarily on the defensive end, blocking two shots and displaying great effort. However, his impact goes beyond the stat sheet. He fought through screens, boxed out for team rebounds, and contested numerous shots. While his shooting may not be consistent at the moment, this challenging stretch could potentially be a crucial turning point for his ongoing contribution to the team.
- Davion Mitchell — I love Davion and he’s starting to show flashes of being a more decisive playmaker, but he’s got to develop a more versatile offensive game if he’s ever going to be more than a backup point guard in this league. Adding a versatile weapon like a floater to his game, for instance, could truly elevate his performance and make a world of difference.