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With Tyrese Haliburton out the Kings have lost their way

The rookie is good, but is he THAT good?

Tyrese Haliburton is hurt and has not played in two games, and the Sacramento Kings have been hurt as a result.

The Houston Rockets absolutely suffocated the Sacramento Kings offense in the second half of Saturday's matchup. The Kings were held to 17 points in the third quarter and a dismal 13 points in the fourth. Houston effectively switched constantly on defense, going underneath screens and were simply more physical. The Kings played right into it by attempting to go one-on-one on nearly every possession with the ball movement coming to a complete halt in favor of trying to beat mismatches.

€œThey were switching, that's something that they do and we tried to go at too many mismatches, or what we thought were mismatches,€ Harrison Barnes said.

What is the best way to fight back against switching? Moving the ball, cutting with a purpose and getting out and running. The Kings did none of that and it resulted in a 102-94 loss. (The Kings were averaging 111 points per game this season going into Monday's matchup with the Golden State Warriors.) Barnes said of the team's first six games, that Saturday's game was the one that sticks out as the most uncharacteristic because of how stagnant the Kings were. Sacramento ended the game with just 11 assists.

So, what was missing? Hmm.

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Walton admitted the Kings missed their prized rookie, who is out with a left wrist bone bruise, after the Rockets loss.

"I definitely think it showed itself tonight. When things were going well, we were moving, we were OK in the first half and whatnot, but when that defense really picked up in the second and they started taking away what our primary actions were, those are times so far in this early season that Tyrese has done a nice job breaking free, getting to the rim, creating,€ he said. €œSo, not having that definitely played a part of it tonight."

Haliburton, who is averaging 10.6 points, 4.4 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal in 26 minutes per game, has filled in as the team's second playmaker has done a great job at it. Without him, and with the Rockets collapsing on De'Aaron Fox, the Kings simply had nowhere to go to create offense.

Harrison Barnes spoke about Halliburton's impact.

"Tyrese is a connector. His ability to come into the game and fill the gaps, play-make, get guys involved, is huge for us, so obviously we want him to get back as quickly as possible, but we also know that we have a lot of talented guys on our team and us moving, us running, us cutting, that's us."

This is true, and a professional basketball team full of veterans should be able to figure out how to combat switches without a rookie. And this isn't to say the same thing wouldn't have happened if Haliburton were playing against the Rockets, but chances are they would have been able to work around it a little better.

After the Rockets loss, Fox said they need to get back to what brought them success.

"We've just got to get back to doing what we were doing €“ passing the ball, setting good screens, cutting, hitting the open man. I don't think we did a lot of that in the second half and obviously it showed with the points we put up today [against the Rockets],€ he said.

So, how did the Warriors game go?

The Kings didn't do anything well on their way to a 137-106 loss.

Walton admitted the performance felt similar to what happened against the Rockets even though they spent time discussing ball movement at Sunday's practice. The Warriors imposed their will on the Kings and did pretty much whatever they wanted on offense and defense.

"It will be nice to get Tyrese back, but we can't just sit here and wait for Tyrese to come back and be a playmaker for us. We get that's what he does and he's good at it, but we have a lot of guys on this team that have been in the league for a while. We have to be better with that.€

Walton said the Kings have to be better with their defense, make open shots when they get them, make layups when they get opportunities to make layups and knock down free throws when they get them.

Yeah, they did pretty much nothing well basketball wise on Monday.

Glenn Robinson III said after the loss to the Warriors that Barnes spoke to the team and told them that they are €œbetter than that.€

"HB has been in this league long enough in order to see those things and know to correct them," Robinson said. €œI think everybody respects his voice."

The Kings showed during the 3-1 start that they can be better. (They averaged 28 assists per game in the first four games, and 18 over the last three.) Walton attributed the wins largely to just "playing extremely hard,€ and Robinson said the team communicated on the court well in the first three games. Then, for some reason then, the Kings stopped playing extremely hard and not communicating?

Tyrese Haliburton is good, but he isn't this good. Is he?

The Kings have a better defensive rating and net rating with him on the floor and his turnover-to-assist ratio is off the charts. He will surely help with the ball movement, spacing and playmaking when he returns, but if the rest of the team can't figure out why things have come to a screeching halt it won't matter much. The team is downplaying the Twitter drama surrounding Marvin Bagley this week as a culprit, but it's possible that may be playing a factor. Fox was adamant about it not being a big deal to the team.

Walton gave a brief update on Haliburton Monday night that he's feeling better and got shots up before the Warriors game. He has been getting re-evaluated now that the team is back in Sacramento and is questionable for tomorrow's matchup with the Chicago Bulls.

The now 3-4 Kings need to do a lot of re-evaluating of their play as a team also.

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oshima9
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January 5, 2021 6:53 pm

“The rookie is good, but is he THAT good?”

He is, and he will get even better with more experience over the next couple of seasons.

billoddity
January 5, 2021 6:58 pm

Might just be the rest of the team is that bad.

arbexfernando
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January 5, 2021 7:42 pm
Reply to  billoddity

I believe that coaching is the worst part. Hield isn’t a well rounded basketball player, but a good coach would limit his role as only a catch and shoot player. Most of the roster is bad, Walton makes them look worse

HongKongKingsFan
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January 6, 2021 5:19 am
Reply to  arbexfernando

Walton had improved…..he did not tell Hield to handle the ball during new season…

BIG PROGRESS !!

AmateurNerd
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January 5, 2021 8:37 pm
Reply to  billoddity

Haliburton may be the only player on the team besides Fox who is genuinely smart about basketball (perhaps Barnes and Holmes as well, but they play mostly off-ball and are not directing the offense). When a majority of your rotation is low-BBIQ, adjusting to an opponents’ schemes is nigh impossible. That requires critical thinking and analysis done on the fly, which in turn requires high BBIQ. I dare say Marvin “21 years old and never bothered to learn to dribble with his right hand” Bagley, and Buddy “27 year old guard who never learned to make basic playmaking decisions” Hield may struggle to do such a thing.

Last edited 1 year ago by AmateurNerd
RikSmits
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January 6, 2021 7:44 am
Reply to  AmateurNerd

If Tyrese has indeed made one thing painfully clear, it is the glaring lack of BBIQ.

And unfortunately I think the gap between Tyrese and Fox is bigger than you make it out to be. I’d call Fox’s BBIQ average.

AirmaxPG
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January 6, 2021 8:47 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Ty and Bogi would have been fun.

9sac8
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January 6, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Bjelly “I aged 12 years in 3 months” Bjelly

Keyan2016
January 5, 2021 7:08 pm

I can only imagine how good this team will be with Fox, Haliburton, and kuminga next season.

TheGrantNapear
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January 5, 2021 7:51 pm
Reply to  Keyan2016

Indeed the tank needs to continue.

AirmaxPG
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January 6, 2021 9:17 am
Reply to  Keyan2016

Better yet trade Fox for another lottery pick and roll with something like Haliburton, Suggs, and Kuminga.

Probably even Fox wouldn’t be enough though to fetch that kind of return. But one can dream…

BestHyperboleEver
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January 6, 2021 9:42 am
Reply to  AirmaxPG

That would be fun. Really getting any two of the top 5 (Cade, Suggs, Mobley, Kuminga, Green) would be a blast. And Haliburton is so versatile he could work with any of them.

Falconsfury
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January 5, 2021 7:15 pm

Yes he is

1951
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January 5, 2021 7:35 pm

The answer is both yes and no.

Boom. Hot take alert!

arbexfernando
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January 5, 2021 7:37 pm

Just for the record, this team would also be garbage with Haliburton and without Fox. And to be fair, Barnes and Holmes are playing good basketball this season, so Walton has four good players to solve the lineups. No more CoJo playmaking and Hield handling the ball, please

G-naps
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January 5, 2021 7:40 pm

Is he already a glue guy just 5 games in?

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 8:04 pm
Reply to  G-naps

he’s the gelatin guy.

(I’m still workshopping how this differs from glue guy)

BestHyperboleEver
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January 5, 2021 8:08 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

More flexible when set?

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 8:18 pm

I was thinking something along the lines of €œthe team is a sticky mess when he’s not in there€

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 8:21 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

The team’s a sticky mess when he’s the missing ingredient?

CoreyBrewersD
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January 5, 2021 10:23 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Jello Shots a fine nickname.
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by CoreyBrewersD
BigDrewbot
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January 5, 2021 8:32 pm
Reply to  G-naps

does this mean that Marvin is the gluten guy for a celiac sufferer? So delicious at first but then leading to intense abdominal pain?

lutherRackley
January 5, 2021 7:45 pm

Got a laugh out of the headline “The Kings have lost their way”. That assumes………

Jman1949
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January 5, 2021 8:03 pm
Reply to  lutherRackley

They lost their way. I think I may have found it…

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2018DraftTimeMachine
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January 6, 2021 11:41 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

Off topic, but seriously, the Boba and Skywalker episodes of Mando this year were my two favorite Star Wars shows, ever. Bad. Ass.

andy_sims
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January 5, 2021 7:46 pm

I think what it comes down to is that among the rotation, only a few guys have great instincts on defense: Ty Ballgame, CoJo, Barnes, and I’ll throw in Holmes.

We still don’t have any idea what Ramsey and Woodard can do on that end, and throwing them in with and against third-stringers in garbage time tells us nothing, especially for such limited runs.

This is a rebuild, and Lose Walton’s rotations indicate that he has no interest in pushing it forward. He probably believes that if the Kings win thirty, a successful organization will hand him a job. The guy is a dope.

rc50cal
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January 5, 2021 8:17 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I like Holmes a lot but I’m not sure he makes a positive impact on defense. Joseph used to be one of the better guard defenders in the league for Indiana. Not sure I’ve seen that impact for Sacramento.

9sac8
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January 6, 2021 9:41 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Ty Ballgame is the GOAT of all nicknames. Just barely beating out “Vinnie “The Microwave ” Johnson.

Thank you friend.

andy_sims
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January 6, 2021 11:10 am
Reply to  9sac8

Thanks, I do like it. Not sure it’s up there with the Human Highlight Reel, Dick “Night Train” Lane, Pistol Pete, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns, Chocolate Thunder, or Ed “Too Tall” Jones, but it feels apt for the new kid.

Last edited 1 year ago by andy_sims
9sac8
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January 6, 2021 1:49 pm
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Oh… can’t forget. Kenny “Sky” Walker!

TheGrantNapear
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January 5, 2021 7:49 pm

A lot of fans got fooled by the good start and actually thought the Kings were good. News flash, with or without Hali, they are not. This is a lottery team in desperate need of top end talent. Until then, expext more of the same.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 8:14 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I think this team is still better than the preseason projections. I keep bringing this up, but the four factors stats so far are pretty promising. They’re doing well on everything other than eFG%. It’s just that they are shooting so poorly! They’re due for positive regression to the mean (eventually).

Even if you just look at Bagley/Buddy there’s technically reason for hope. They’re 3-4 this season with those two playing like hot garbage. I think it’s safe to assume those two will bounce back because they aren’t two of the worst players in the nba.

KDsBurnerAccount
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January 5, 2021 9:49 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Yes, it was a fun little start, but I don’t think the Kings will climb back over .500 the rest of the way. The losses are more telling than the wins:

  • Nuggets (W) – Lucky, last second putback on opening night.
  • Suns (W) – Solid team win here. No complaints.
  • Suns (L) – Got outplayed, Suns adapted.
  • Nuggets (W) – Nuggets were coming off a back to back from Denver and were missing Murray.
  • Houston (L) – Wall and Cousins, both 30+ years old first game back coming off severe injuries still played better than OUR young 3rd player coming off injury.
  • Houston (L) – No James Harden.
  • Warriors (L) – Warriors playing a back to back.

The Kings were definitely overachieving.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 10:06 pm

The Kings WIN% is probably about where it will be at the end of the season.

andy_sims
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January 5, 2021 11:31 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Still about 10-15% too high at the moment, I’d wager. I can’t see this team getting past 31 wins, and frankly, I hope they get nowhere close to that.

We’ve been eating shit with this organization for a decade-and-a-half. I can do one more standing on my head.

Carl
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January 5, 2021 11:49 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Agreed. This team isn’t going to win many more than 30 games.

RORDOG
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January 6, 2021 10:59 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Here’s a breakdown of the four factors ranks through 7 games:

TOV% (Kings, Opponent): 12th, 24th
OReb%: 15th, 2nd
FTA Rate: 6th, 7th
eFG%: 27th, 27th (last season: 11th, 25th)

So the team is getting to the line, but not fouling much. Limiting extra possessions for their opponent, but creating quite a bit for themselves. They still suck at defense, but all of a sudden they can’t shoot. There have been some personnel changes, but not enough to radically change things.

IMO, we’re seeing a bit of bad luck coupled with a bunch of players learning a new system. The defense might not improve much, but I’m fairly confident the shooting will end up closer to league average (assuming they don’t dismantle the team). If that happens, then this team should end up with a win total that looks similar to last season.

You can actually hear Fox hit on this stuff in the post game interview he did after the game against the warriors (Skip to ~3:20).

BestHyperboleEver
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January 6, 2021 3:02 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

You seem to be expecting regression to only really impact one aspect of the game. Is there any reason to think the other numbers are any less impacted by SSS and early season adjustment? And is there any reason to think “learning a new system” is impacting the Kings any more than other teams?

I agree their eFG% is due for some regression to their mean. But no more-so than the stats they’ve done well in so far.

RORDOG
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January 6, 2021 5:58 pm

I’m not saying that. This is all in response to what I said previously:

I think this team is still better than the preseason projections.

The Kings WIN% is probably about where it will be at the end of the season.

The point is they may regress in some other areas but they’re due for a major positive regression to the mean in the biggest of the four factors.

TheGrantNapear
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January 5, 2021 7:50 pm

Giles is a beast, putting up four points a night with a few DNP’s.

itsjabby
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January 5, 2021 8:07 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Was this supposed to be a reply to something?

RikSmits
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January 6, 2021 9:37 am
Reply to  itsjabby

I think it’s a reminder that we tend to overvalue our young guys a tiny bit.

rc50cal
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January 5, 2021 8:11 pm

The team misses Halliburton because he is the Kings best defender and second best playmaker.

Keyan2016
January 5, 2021 8:15 pm

Kind of a thread jack but related at the same time but Who would you guys like to see coach the core of (Fox, Haliburton, Kuminga, Cunningham or Boston Jr) next season ? I would love to see Either Kenny Atkinson, Udoka, or Becky Hammon to be the HC.

Last edited 1 year ago by Keyan2016
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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January 5, 2021 9:20 pm
Reply to  Keyan2016

I’d add Darvin Ham, Tony Bennett, and Jay Wright to a long list of folks I’d like to see interviewed. Honestly, I don’t want a retread. I want someone known for development and is eager at a first time opportunity.

Keyan2016
January 5, 2021 10:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

100% agree, Great HC candidates btw. I find it hard to believe the old run of the mill coaches like thibs, Doc Rivers, Woodson, and D’Antoni keep getting HC jobs lol. .

JuanPrimo
January 6, 2021 10:20 am
Reply to  Adamsite

If we hired Tony Bennett, I know we’d go from rags to riches.

ZillersCat
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January 6, 2021 12:55 pm
Reply to  JuanPrimo

But, He left his heart in San Francisco?

PhutureKings
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January 5, 2021 11:40 pm
Reply to  Keyan2016

I’d like to see how Rex Kalamian does for the last 2/3rds of the season.

Adamsite
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January 6, 2021 7:37 am
Reply to  PhutureKings

Same. If Walton goes, I’d prefer him to be the interim as opposed to Gentry.

9sac8
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January 6, 2021 9:44 am
Reply to  Keyan2016

Jay Wright…PERIOD.

The thought just made my day.

BestHyperboleEver
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January 6, 2021 9:57 am
Reply to  9sac8

Love Jay Wright. It’s just so hard to see him leave the Philly/Northeast area.

I’d might add Stackhouse to the list as well.

JuanPrimo
January 6, 2021 10:24 am

Agreed. He probably could have had that Philly job if he cared. We are a way less attractive destination.

andy_sims
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January 6, 2021 10:19 am
Reply to  9sac8

My only objection to Wright is that I’d hate to lose the guy in the college ranks who seems to recruit and prep players so consistently. He really does a phenomenal job at Vanillanova.

He might be able to do the same in the NBA, although the road is littered with the corpses of successful college coaches who made the jump.

Having said that, I’d support pretty much anyone who replaces the current stiff.

9sac8
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January 6, 2021 1:51 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Agreed 🤝

NickS
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January 5, 2021 8:24 pm

A little off-topic, but does anyone know when DaQuan Jeffries will be back?

ZillersCat
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January 5, 2021 9:07 pm
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Wiki knows ..
Grade 3 injuries are more severe in nature and often involve full tearing of the ligament and possible bone fracture. The length of time to recover from grade 3 ankle sprains could be 3 months or more.

RORDOG
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January 5, 2021 9:53 pm
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We need an official TKH orthopedic surgeon. We kinda have a commenter named brianspider but he’s not around that often.

Marty
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January 5, 2021 10:04 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Well I had a Grade 3 shoulder injury 18 months ago when I got hit by a car. I got two new bathrooms, hardwood floors, and it only cost me three ligaments.

He’ll be back on his bike in no time but sleeping might be an issue. 😜

Adamsite
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January 5, 2021 9:08 pm
Reply to  NickS

My butt pulled guess is not until after the trade deadline.

reydarly
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January 5, 2021 11:50 pm

We should we start Fox, Ty, Barnes, Bjelica, and Holmes, AKA our most competent lineup possible at the moment.

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January 6, 2021 5:21 am
Reply to  reydarly

I agree, with the bench Hield, Whiteside, Guy and Metu, and some Parker

Roaddog
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January 6, 2021 3:28 am

why does it seem like when other team switch on defense its to their advantage but when we do I just expect to give up a good shot every time.

HongKongKingsFan
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January 6, 2021 5:22 am
Reply to  Roaddog

Only player in the team can take advantage on mis-match is Barnes….and BJelly…

FarmerGuy
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January 6, 2021 6:50 am

Am I the only one watching games only for Fox, Hali and other rookies to develop together while anxiously awaiting what value Monte can drive on everyone else? This is one of the first seasons for me recently that has made it both exciting to win and lose. The wins piling at any point show young guy growth. The losses mean we can focus on acquiring assets and not being married to our value guys on the roster. Perhaps this is just a sign of having hope in the GM potential Monte carries?

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January 6, 2021 7:44 am
Reply to  FarmerGuy

Same. I’m just waiting for what Monte has planned. I enjoy watching the young guys and want to see more of them on court, wins be damned. There is virtually zero chance of the Kings making the playoffs so lets see what we got while planning for next year and beyond.

Gregoryl
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January 6, 2021 8:35 am
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The challenge for Monte will be that Luke is fighting for his job, and very likely, his coaching future. That means he will do what it takes to win, not thinking about what is best for the future of the franchise.

AirmaxPG
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January 6, 2021 9:12 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Yup. It seems this franchise (especially under Vivek) when it comes to basketball decisions will do the dumbest possible thing almost every time.

This team is not even anywhere close to being a contender. They are probably two elite young talents away from even having a chance to get there. So with two elite drafts coming up in the next two years, they are rolling with a lame duck coach who is auditioning for his next gig.

Gregoryl
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January 6, 2021 8:37 am

Anyone else concerned that a roster of NBA vets is completely dependent on a guy that has played a total of 4 NBA games??

TerzoM
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January 6, 2021 9:39 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

Hope 🙂comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by TerzoM
Timmy_13
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January 6, 2021 1:54 pm
Reply to  TerzoM

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering.

2018DraftTimeMachine
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January 6, 2021 11:46 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Agreed … but that’s also what I love about basketball above all other sports. One draft pick can transform a team overnight. He could – could – end up being the guy that makes us forget about Luka.

Emphasis on €œcould€ … but so far, so good.

9sac8
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January 6, 2021 9:34 am

Damn that. Upgrade Ty to ASAP.

eddie41
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January 6, 2021 10:35 am

Should be no surprise. The offseason was a net loss of playmakers. (Gained Haliburton but lost Bogdanovic and Giles). New offense and other teams are learning it faster than the Kings are.

Mike120
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January 6, 2021 12:09 pm

Haliburton being out doesn’t explain a 31 point loss to the Warriors. The Kings just played like crap. It started with a horrible beginning to the game and never got better. Look at the first ten Kings possessions and you’ll see why they were behind and never able to get going.

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