Articles | Game Recap

Pacers 94, Kings 91: Slow start and bad shooting dooms Kings

The Kings suffered their first truly disappointing loss of the season, dropping a home game to a shorthanded Pacers team.

It was bound to happen at some point, but the Kings have finally suffered their first truly disappointing loss of the season.  The Pacers came into Sacramento with just a 3-7 record, and missing several key players, but they got the jump early on the Kings and Sacramento never recovered.

Whereas on Friday it seemed like the Kings couldn't miss, tonight it was as if the Kings were shooting on 5 inch rims.  Sacramento shot just 36.9% from the field, and while some credit for that should go to the Pacers, a lot of it was just the Kings missing open shots that they normally make.

Indiana's starters carried the way, with all five finishing in double digits, led by Caris LeVert's 22 points.  Myles Turner only scored 12 points, but his rebounding (15 boards) and rim protection (5 blocks) proved to be a huge factor.  Turner and the Pacers did the best job any team (I'm not counting Tony Brothers) has all season on containing Richaun Holmes, as he was held to just 11 points on 2-4 from the field.  Several more plays that were intended for Holmes were broken up as well.

Harrison Barnes led the way for the Kings with 22 points, but he shot just 6-15 from the field.  Tyrese Haliburton scored 17 points and had 3 steals, but he also missed what would have been the game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds left.

The Pacers led by as many as 15 points before the Kings began to crawl back into the game.  The biggest difference makers for the Kings tonight were on the fast break (where they outscored Indiana 18 to 0) and in turnovers (18 for Indiana to just 12 for Sacramento).

With the game tied at 75 with about 8 minutes left, Tyrese Haliburton hit a three to put the Kings up.  On the other end of the floor, the Pacers missed a three, but as happened so often in the game, the Pacers were able to secure the offensive rebound and score to make it a one point game.  De'Aaron Fox got to the rim on the other end, but his layup was short, and the Pacers were able to come back and take the lead at 79-78.  Indiana went on a 6-0 run from there to extend the lead back to 7.

With 1:28 left in the game, Tyrese Haliburton hit a three pointer to make it a two point game, and on the other end T.J. McConnell was stymied attacking the basket.  Davion Mitchell got a good look at a floater to try to tie up the game but it hit the back rim and was recovered by the Pacers.  The Kings did a good job of defending Caris LeVert and forcing a  tough fadeaway to have a chance to tie the game.  Out of the timeout, De'Aaron Fox pulled up from the top of the key with 16.1 seconds left and missed a jumper, but he was able to at least force a jump ball with Justin Holiday before Indiana could secure the ball and take it up court.

Fox won the jump ball and Coach Luke Walton quickly called timeout with 5.8 seconds left.  Tyrese Haliburton inbounded the ball to Richaun Holmes, who immediately handed the ball back to Haliburton.  Haliburton had a good look at a three, but it was well short, and Indiana secured the rebound and was fouled.  T.J. McConnell briefly gave Kings fans some hope as he missed his first free throw, but the second one went in and Fox couldn't repeat his Cleveland miracle pass to Barnes as the Pacers broke the Hail Mary pass up.

This was a disappointing night for the Kings, but they won't have much time to dwell on it as the Suns come into town tomorrow night.

King of Kings

While he missed his shot at being the hero, Tyrese Haliburton still deserves a lot of credit for putting the Kings into a position where they could have won that game.  Haliburton was aggressive on both ends of the floor, and final shot notwithstanding, was the only Kings player to have an efficient shooting night.

Random Observations

  • De'Aaron Fox was outplayed by T.J. McConnell tonight. It hasn't been a good start to the season for De'Aaron, and although he's had a couple of nice games in a row, tonight was a reversion back to what we had seen in the games prior.  Fox shot just 7-19 from the field and on the other end wasn't making it particularly difficult for McConnell to get to his spots.  Being the star player comes with hefty expectations, and so far, Fox hasn't lived up to them.
  • Davion Mitchell once again showed out with his defense, but we'll also need to see some more offensive consistency from him going forward.  Today he shot just 1-7 from the field in 28 minutes in what ended up being a one possession game.
  • Alex Len had some good minutes once again, finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks in 20 minutes.  While Holmes put up better raw stats, Len did better tonight at dealing with Indiana's size.
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SexyNapear
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November 7, 2021 6:08 pm

Go Kangz.

Fat Fox is the man.

Tyrese from 35 with three seconds left was awesome.

TJ McConnell is a superstar so no biggie.

Playoffs here we come

RikSmits
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November 7, 2021 6:17 pm

The reports of the end of Fox’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, it seems.

at home against an East team with a so-so start to the season and missing their best player; these are the games you have to win.

Teams will target us on the boards and that is not easy to fix with this roster.

Bluejohn
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November 7, 2021 6:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Thanks Rik, very right about Fox. He’s not playing well but there is no reason to believe that is the way he’s going to play all season. The only good news on the boards is that there are
more teams playing small than there playing two bigs like Indy did.

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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November 7, 2021 7:17 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

I shudder to think how we’ll fare when we play the Cavs.

Rosevillain
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November 7, 2021 7:34 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

Extra weight isn’t a reason?

Gregoryl
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November 8, 2021 2:01 pm
Reply to  Bluejohn

What makes you think he’s not going to play this way all season? I see lots of signs, including getting TORCHED my TJ McConnell when it counted.

WizsSox
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November 7, 2021 6:19 pm

Couldn’t shoot tonight…had some good looks that might normally go down.

But this is a game that the Kings would have lost by 15-20 any other season. They can play enough defense in spurts to let them hang around and steal games when they aren’t shooting well. Coulda been tonight, it wasn’t.

Keep bringing some defensive intensity for chunks of game and they can be in the mix. Not going to shoot sub 40 percent most games.

Disappointing, chance to get back on track tomorrow

Last edited 10 months ago by WizsSox
BobbyFresh
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November 8, 2021 5:19 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

I hope you’re right. Hopefully the “any other season” narrative will continue to hold up and this really is a different Kings squad. In this case though, losing by 15 would mean only scoring 79 which would be truly bad (though previous teams have done it).

deltarich
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November 7, 2021 6:22 pm

Fox getting cooked by TJ in crunch time and taking ill advised shots when the game was there for the taking. Sheesh

Kings_Life_Sentence_86
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November 7, 2021 6:28 pm

The more I watch Fox play the less confidence I have that he can pull himself out of this rut. He’s missing shots at the rim, bad body language, getting cooked on defense…TJ was targeting Fox like Buddy had been targeted all of last season.

MillersCornrows
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November 8, 2021 11:12 am

I’ve said this all along as well. There’s too much going wrong for Fox. He’s not going to make a quick turnaround.

Bbmuteman
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November 7, 2021 6:35 pm

I was hoping the kings would try to foul out sabonis or turner towards the end, but I guess that wasn’t the game plan. The kings played hard. I’m not even mad.

kgdobter
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November 7, 2021 6:43 pm

We were outrebounded by 54 to 33 and only lost by three points. Walton should have used some more bigs to help Holmes.

SexyNapear
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November 7, 2021 6:56 pm
Reply to  kgdobter

Free Marvin

kgdobter
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November 7, 2021 7:10 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Or Metu, Thompson or Jones

AnybodyButBagley
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November 7, 2021 7:13 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

They should let him go home again.

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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November 7, 2021 7:16 pm

This is going to be the King’s kryptonite: Rebounding, Fit and Coaching. Walton was outperformed by Carlisle tonight, our team needs a rebounding power forward and Fox is still in his funk. Getting a stretch-4 for Buddy and Bagley should be Monte’s priority right now, hopefully there’ll be some takers out there.

Rosevillain
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November 7, 2021 7:37 pm

This team would be horrible without Buddy right now.

BobbyFresh
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November 8, 2021 5:21 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

It seems Walton has finally figured out how to properly use him.

GrandCanyonFunyun
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November 7, 2021 8:14 pm

We have our rebounding stretch 4 in Barnes. What we need is a competent 3 or to give Lou King some burn

murraytant
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November 8, 2021 1:15 pm

I know it is tempting to want to trade Buddy but he has kept us in games all year.
I like Moe- but he is the weak link. Without a trade, perhaps time for MB3 or Metu.

deepshot22
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November 7, 2021 8:06 pm

Harkless had an ugly game. Fox getting burned by McConnell repeatedly was uglier.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
November 8, 2021 6:45 am
Reply to  deepshot22

Harkless is having an ugly year. SSS and all, but he is way below his career numbers.

deepshot22
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November 8, 2021 7:38 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I agree he has been subpar with a decent game or two thrown in. But last night, he had some bad fouls and some of that weak/disinterested body language thing.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 8, 2021 7:48 am
Reply to  deepshot22

He is who he is, which is an end of the bench wing on a good team. That fact that he is not only starting for the Kings, but the King HAVE TO start him tells you all you need to know about the depth and hope for this team.

GrandCanyonFunyun
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November 7, 2021 8:11 pm

Fox sure has looked like a max player 😎
We all know how subpar his play has been, but his body language and effort just seems horrible. Is it bad I have way more faith in Mitchell/Hali running this team going forward?

Last edited 10 months ago by GrandCanyonFunyun
Daydreamer
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November 8, 2021 5:51 am

Short-term thinking! Fox was brilliant offensively against the Hornets on Friday.

Daydreamer
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November 8, 2021 8:55 am
Reply to  Daydreamer

At the end of the game Fox tied up the ball and then won the tip. All terrific effort. His shots didn’t fall. However, see the long comment from Kings4ever, who argues that Fox would be more effective at a weight between his current weight and his weight when he came into the league. A really thought-provoking post.

On the other hand, also look at the video clips posted by HongKongKingsFan, which show that Fox is not doing what Davion does in on-ball defense: quickly retreat to the place the player is trying to get to. He is too slow on these retreats. Why?

Last edited 10 months ago by Daydreamer
TerzoM
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November 7, 2021 8:27 pm

4Q Close games- Opposing Coach: Let Fox shoot a jumper or a 3
Kings Coach:comment image

scatshot
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November 7, 2021 8:43 pm

It appeared that Walton’s plan was to play with speed. Don’t know if that would have worked or not, but the Kings did not get the message anyway.

eddie41
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November 7, 2021 8:49 pm

Mitchell had the biggest impact on the game. Hield is still balling. Barnes got to the line a lot. Otherwise this was last year’s team.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 8, 2021 6:47 am
Reply to  eddie41

Well, considering the only real rotational player that is different from the end of last season is Mitchell, this literally is last year’s team.

eddie41
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November 8, 2021 8:30 am
Reply to  Adamsite

maybe they should just place their mattresses on the court and take a nap at tip-off.

eddie41
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November 8, 2021 9:43 am
Reply to  eddie41

And introduce the starting 5 with a good lullaby

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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November 8, 2021 8:51 am
Reply to  Adamsite

And still the same coach. 🙁

RandyBreuersNeckHair
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November 7, 2021 8:54 pm

Fox for McConnell, please.

Thanks.

AnybodyButBagley
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November 8, 2021 7:12 pm

When Bagley played well against the Pacers the team was imploding. There was practically a fist fight on the bench. Bagley lucked into that game just like he lucked into Vlade picking him second.

Put Bagley in and the Pacers are up by 15 at the half. His inability to play defense has never resulted in close competitive games.

Kings shot like dog shit but were able to stay close. Put Bagley in and they cannot keep it close.

GFunkClassic
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November 7, 2021 9:08 pm

I’m going to stay positive. We played like crap. Nobody had a particularly good game, but because of the defensive tenacity we still had a chance to win the game ,whereas past teams from the last decade we’d get blown out in these kinds of games.

With this game I mostly question coach. He kept going small ball even though the Pacers pretty much controlled most of the game with a big, traditional lineup. Off a timeout with a critical possession late in the game we get a low percentage shot with a Fox Jumper.

Last time Bagley played the Pacers he had 31 pts, 12 rebs. I don’t get what the Kings are doing with him. We were having trouble with their length and size, and having trouble scoring. This is exactly where Bagley can help. It’s so weird to me that he’s getting zero minutes.

Davion. My favorite player. Only guy that can be 1-7 and still have a good game. The amount of Turnovers, and bad contested shots he causes is unreal. Offensively, the shots he’s taking are good shots. He’s not selfish by any means. He just needs to find his rhythm. It’s his rookie year. This guy puts in crazy hard work. I have no doubt he’ll find his rhythm offensively. I love having this guy on the team!

We’re not Championship contenders but we are Playoff contenders!

GFunkClassic
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November 7, 2021 9:12 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

Another scoreless Harkless game?

AnybodyButBagley
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November 8, 2021 7:13 pm
Reply to  GFunkClassic

Still better for the team than the worst defender in the NBA.

HongKongKingsFan
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November 7, 2021 9:21 pm

When will Walton bench Fox, and let Tyrese, Mitchell, Hield to your 3 guards lineup ?

Fox deserve zero minutes in crunch time.

JoeMama
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November 7, 2021 9:47 pm

So the best thing Walton could draw up at the end of the game was a weird Halliburton 3 around 2-3 defenders?

SexyNapear
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November 7, 2021 9:53 pm
Reply to  JoeMama

Tyrese panicked and pulled the trigger too fast. For all his talent, he gets ahead of himself far too much, hence all the leaving his feet without much of an idea what to do with the ball

murraytant
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November 8, 2021 1:18 pm
Reply to  JoeMama

play was called for Barnes but he was covered. Hali was open for the pass and let it go way too quickly. Bad shot. Needed better spacing.

SexyNapear
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November 7, 2021 9:51 pm

I’m not sure how Bagley became completely unplayable, but it’s all very odd.

He can’t get any of Harkless minutes? I assume the plan is to deal him by the trade deadline, but he won’t even be worth a second rounder by then.

HongKongKingsFan
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November 7, 2021 10:04 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

You would still play Louis King or Metu in front of Bagley.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 7, 2021 10:13 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

I don’t think he was worth a 2nd rounder before. Other team’s aren’t dumb and everyone can see he isn’t really an NBA player. I called that before the draft in 2018 and I think he would have fallen a lot farther than people realize if the Kings hadn’t taken him. All of his flaws were apparent at the time and he’s done almost nothing to improve them. The injuries haven’t helped but this was probably always going to be where he ended up.

SexyNapear
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November 7, 2021 10:34 pm

For all his faults, he has talent. Can’t believe giving him a 5-minute run every now and then to see if can get a put-back or get a few offensive rebounds has become some an stretch of the imagination.

4on5
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November 7, 2021 10:47 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

I’be never been a Bagley guy and don’t mind the “Just you haters watch!!! He’s going to be an All Star” fans coming around to reality.

But going from force feeding Bagley 25 minutes a night. To never playing him in 9 out of 10 games interesting.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 8, 2021 7:08 am
Reply to  4on5

I’m beginning to think he’s demanded a trade and is only sitting on the bench to be a good soldier. There might be some unwritten agreement that the Kings are going to move his as soon as they can. Playing him or not playing him is moot at this point so it might just be easier to build chemistry without him in the rotation.

Kingsguru21
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November 8, 2021 7:46 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d be really surprised if he’s on the roster past the deadline. But as far as I can tell, he’s really an expiring contract at this juncture.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 8, 2021 7:52 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Yup, and really not that valuable of an expiring contract. His $11.3M expiring is kind of “meh” in today’s NBA. Truth be told, a contender would have far more interest in TT’s expiring $9.7M deal because he can at least contribute on the court for the remainder of the season and playoffs.

Kingsguru21
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November 8, 2021 1:37 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Teams like Orlando and OKC perhaps. Or a team with a place for a project like Bagley. He’ll have to play his way into a rotation. That won’t happen in Sac most likely.

AnybodyButBagley
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November 8, 2021 7:23 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

He doesn’t have much of a choice. If he wants an opportunity to get another contract anywhere he cannot be a malcontent ass. His agent knows this. He has three years of garbage. He has to behave in order to get another job. If he acts out on social media or on the bench he is a jack ass without a decent resume. If he behaves he is a talented player with a good attitude.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 8, 2021 7:16 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

Does he really have talent though? What talent exactly? He can jump high? He can’t score in the post, he can’t shoot well enough, he can’t pass and he can’t defend. He can rebound ok but it doesn’t outweigh any of the other stuff. This is why drafting him in the first place was so perplexing. I’m not sure I ever really saw any of the talent. I’m totally fine with him receiving 0.0 minutes until he’s either traded or cut.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 8, 2021 7:45 am

The dude has basically turned into JJ Hickson 2.0. All athleticism and promise but no translatable basketball skills or IQ.

Kingsguru21
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November 8, 2021 7:48 am
Reply to  Adamsite

He’s made 40 million though on his rookie deal. Not sure Hickson made anything even close to that.

Just looked it up: Hickson made a tick over 27M in his career.

Last edited 10 months ago by Kingsguru21
SexyNapear
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November 8, 2021 7:45 am

The guy was a force at every level he played. Not sure if it’s a basketball IQ thing, but he’s flashed at times. All I’m saying is that burying him makes no sense. There is some weird shit going on behind the scenes.

Adamsite
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November 8, 2021 7:55 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

To be fair, every NBA bust or fringe player was a force at every level they played, until they got to the elite level of the NBA.

I do agree, though, something is going on behind the scenes. Dec. 14th (the date in which all recently signed free agents can be traded) can’t come soon enough. Something like the last 35% of the league becomes tradable at the point.

Kingsguru21
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November 8, 2021 8:11 am
Reply to  Adamsite

Dec. 14th (the date in which all recently signed free agents can be traded) can’t come soon enough.

That’s if you signed another team’s FA Adam. If you re-signed your own FA, that date is actually Jan 15th. Here’s the link to that Larry Coon guy.

Here’s the relevant text though:

  • For three months or until December 15 of that season (whichever is later) after signing a contract as a free agent or matching an offer sheet to a restricted free agent. This obviously does not apply to the trade completing a sign-and-trade transaction (see question number 92).
  • For three months or until December 15 of that season (whichever is later) after converting a Two-Way contract to a standard contract (see question number 83), with the three months beginning on the date the contract is converted.
  • For three months or until January 15 of that season (whichever is later) after re-signing a free agent with Larry Bird or Early Bird rights, if the team is over the cap, the player’s new salary is above the minimum, and he receives a raise greater than 20%.
  • For 30 days after signing as a draft pick. This applies even for later-signed first round picks, who are signed using cap room at least three seasons after they are drafted (see question number 49).
  • For 30 days after signing a Two-Way contract (see question number 82).
  • For one year after signing a player to a Designated Veteran contract or extension (see question number 24).
Last edited 10 months ago by Kingsguru21
Adamsite
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November 8, 2021 8:25 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Thanks for the clarification, Pook! I wonder what percentage of free agent signings are by the same team vs. a new team.

AnybodyButBagley
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November 8, 2021 7:18 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

5 minutes in a game that is within two or three points and the game turns into a 15 point Kings loss.

Klam
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November 8, 2021 8:50 am

I had a bad feeling when he was drafted, even when not including the fact that the Kings could’ve taken a much better player instead.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 8, 2021 9:31 am
Reply to  Klam

Yeah I honestly thought all the Bagley noise was a smokescreen or something heading into draft night. I just couldn’t believe that any reasonable basketball person would look at Bagley against Doncic or even JJJ and determine he was a better player. But somehow Vlade did. People have searched for ulterior motives behind the decision but sometimes it’s simple: an incompetent GM made a terrible decision.

RighteousandHopeful
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November 7, 2021 10:54 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Maybe he’s not 100 percent healthy or in shape.

Inthestarz
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November 8, 2021 9:02 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

Why are you worried about Bagley when he is terrible?

And yes, he is a walking negative. You’d play King or Metu in front of him if minutes were given on merit

AnybodyButBagley
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November 8, 2021 7:16 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

They were in a close game. Do you put in the one player on the team that cannot figure out which player to defend?

RighteousandHopeful
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November 7, 2021 10:58 pm

Indiana’s a tough matchup for the smaller Kings. It’s Nov. 7, Kings are at .500, better than the champion Bucks. I am most certainly hopeful about Sacramento going to the playoffs. It’s a fun team to watch. Except that last play. That was awful.

HongKongKingsFan
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November 7, 2021 11:54 pm

How’s Pacers is a tough matchup ?

We eat them almost every single time.
They got no real BIGs.

For Pacer’s offense, Sabonis is good, but even Bagley can match his size, also Turner is not an interior threat, he plays outside the paint.

We lost this game because of poor defense of Fox, and interior defense of Turner, and their team defense.

ForKingsandCountry
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November 8, 2021 7:19 am

The thing they do have is two real bigs. Sabonis is an all star and Turner is leading the league in blocks and an excellent defender. The Pacers have some injuries but I think they’re a substantially more talented team than we are. They’ve just had some crazy bad luck in close games to start the year. This game was just regression you to the mean.

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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November 8, 2021 12:39 am

I think the Starting backcourt is probably the worst combination we can actually play right now. Neither Fox or Halliburton are strong on ball defenders. Passing lanes sure, swipe steal attempt absolutely, but watching them get blown by, or reacting to the pick and roll is even more more obvious each time Davion does it right. On the offensive end I don’t get it. Fox is your spot up shooting option? He can’t spot up shoot. Some guys just can’t. His percentage on uncontested 3’s has got to me about 15 percent. Tyrese is to smart to unselfish to start…he’ll try to get the other starters going often to the detriment of the team. I think the are BOTH fantastic players that just don’t play well off each other.
Fox + Buddy
Fox + Mitchell
Mitchell + Buddy
Tyrese + Buddy
Tyrese + Mitchell

The only one I know isn’t working to start games is the one we are using.

BuffaloDiaspora
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November 8, 2021 9:05 am

I really like Buddy coming off the bench – it gets him more minutes against mixed lineups where he can get cooking rather than playing against the starting/closing 5 that can better focus on containing him.

If they wanted to change the starting guards, I’d like to see Fox + Mitchell. Tyrese + Mitchell would be interesting as well, but I don’t think having your only max player open up games on the bench is really a tenable thing in the NBA.

Last edited 10 months ago by BuffaloDiaspora
HongKongKingsFan
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November 8, 2021 4:44 am

comment imagecomment imagecomment image 
Okay, we got PLAYs of the night……….

Present to you, T.J. McConnell bullying D. Fox……..

It’s all on Fox, not able to stop T.J. McConnell…put your body / 10 lbs muscle on him…
we lost this game, because of Fox’s poor shooting and awful defense…

Walton need to make adjustment, or challenge Fox to take less than 5 shots per game..

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 8, 2021 7:11 am

I was truly shocked at ow McConnell took it to Fox. I know Fox is struggling, but that was down right embarrassing at times. The closest thing the Kings have to an all-star got destroyed by a career backup. Ugh….

markdog333
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November 8, 2021 4:17 pm

Are those screens legal? The second two especially. Doesn’t it look like the guy just runs out and reach out to grab Fox’s hip? I haven’t noticed players doing that before.

HoustonJP
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November 8, 2021 6:08 pm
Reply to  markdog333

Under the current rules, they could be a foul.

Nonetheless Fox is fast enough to recover his position on both of those hand checks.

kings4ever
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November 8, 2021 7:48 am

Mr 4th Quarter looks like Mr. 4th Option. The Swipa has become the Swipee. You cannot be the fastest player in the league, allegedly, and get torched by TJ McConnell. What made Fox special, a Superstar, and can still see it so, is he had a gear no other player this side of Morant could get to. He had a god mode, a palpable swagger backed by substance to any opponent in his way. If he has lost access to that gear, and associate confidence, slowed down by excess bulk, enabled by a neglectful and culpable training staff, he has lost what made him special. Fox is too young to play this old.  

Fox still has that first step, that burst, as far as I can tell, and can jump off two feet, the power is there. Where I see regression is off one foot, along with the slithering through the lane, seizing cracks in the defense and finishing above or beyond the defender. Is he too broad shouldered to sneak into the crevices? Even in lieu of the refs swallowing their whistle, which is good for the game, the fearless attack is conspicously absent. Heaviness and tentativeness equate into indecision, and indecisiveness is a death knell in the NBA. 

You will hear fans say Fox needs to make shots. He needs to see the ball go through the rim. Well, duh, but it is more nuanced than this, like it is more nuanced to say we had a chance to win a game we shot 36% FGs, hence, progress and don your play-in party hats. Do you think the reason we shot 36% FGs may have been the level of resistance encountered, like the reason we dropped 140 on the Hornets was their corresponding lack of resistance? There is a foundational essence to shot accuracy beyond “one of those nights”, good or bad, or one of those stretches or one of those careers. 

The essence of shot accuracy is space creation. You cannot make the shot you cannot see, or distracted by the adversary that focus and mechanics are duly inhibited. This is what I have been harping on for months (years!) with regard to Buddy. Buddy is shooting 60.6% TS% in 10 games, hallelujiah! The forced attempts and sloppiness are still there, I doubt that goes away completely, the occcassional excursions to Chuck City, but the effeciency and activty on defense is such that Buddy can be a net positive player, approaching or surpassing his best season in 2018-19. 

It is not that his new role has helped him most, though certainly I do not think that has hurt. He seems to relish the sniper off the bench designation. The capable trio of playmakers at his diposal theoretically should enable him to have his best season, more drive and kicks, more open looks, more hot streaks. But the overriding factor in the resurgence is that he moves SO much better than last season. Hes not sluggish and chunky, he’s lean and mean, spry and feisty, more of an instigator than reactor. You could say similar with regard to HB, who came to camp even better shape than last year, lower body percentage by 1-2%, and look at the spectacular early returns there. 

Buddy is in the best shape of his life, using last seasons disappointment, as incentive to train insane, using the career low percentages, the willingness of his front office to quit on him, reject him, send him packing to La La Land for another underachiever. This spurred him to prove the doubters and naysayers wrong, including yours truly. 

The bottom line is Buddy is creating more space. It is the work you may not see before the shot goes in, on and off the court, that leads to shot going in. 

And this brings us full circle to Fox. Who sanctioned this bulking phase? Were not athletic tests done along the way to ensure speed quickness and agility was not sacrificed? You know it is possible to get stronger without getting bigger, hypertrophy occurs within 10-12 rep sets, strength gains with lower rep counts. It is the way guys like Beal and Curry train. A 200 lb playing goal is sensible only if your frame can support that much weight naturally. If memory serves, LeBron Kobe and MJ had off-seasons of bulking then regretted it and shed the excess as soon as they could.  

If Fox does not get his body right, like Buddy did, regain what made him special, he could go from Franchise Player to Franchise Regret. The good news is Fox is a smart cookie. Hes stubborn but not stupid with enough humility to admit a faux-paus. His heart if not his mind was in the right place. It is understandable that he does not want to get beat up beyond the unavoidable to ensure longevity and health and earning capacity. There has to be a happy medium between 180 and 200, to take a beating a keep on ticking, to split the difference between lethal skill and self-care. Can we perhaps agree on 190 lbs and get back to the business of being awesome?

Our coach is not worried about Fox. That is the right answer publicly but he has to be freaking out beyond the scenes. His best player is 46% TS%. This was not the plan. The plan was to run a spread offense and give Fox room to operate and dominate. It bears mention, that our spread offense is kind of a flimsy version. Mo Scoreless is suppose to be a stretch forward for us. But ask yourslelf does Mo Scoreless really stretch the floor? Uh, pfft!  

No one respects his ability to make the three, and it is going to take more than one game against the Hornets for that to change, for him to show up on the opposing scouting report as a legitmate threat.

I contend you need three lethal gunners to to run a spread offense to go with your point of attack initiator (Fox) and your big (Holmes). We have two among the starters. Opponents have to respect Ty and HB as three point shooters. They are money if left alone. Harkless can be left alone, with only token defense provided, they know he is 30% from deep, not to be feared. Instead of playing off 1-2 steps, they can play off him 3-4 steps, as long as they do not venture into illegal defense territory. This makes the job of Fox more difficult. This is not to excuse Fox play but it is a contributing variable. 

Compare our spread offense to the Grizzlies and you will see Morant often has more room to operate and terrorize. Now he’s a better shooter, but so is Jaren Jackson Jr in a similar role that Harkless occupies. JJJ is shooting a lot of bricks too, but he is more respected by the opposition. I would have to go back and check the box scores but when Fox was playing his best basketball, second haldf of last season, he had Ty, HB and Buddy on the floor with him, thereby enabling a true spread offense. 

Now dont get it twisted. I am not shifting the predominance of the blame. Fox needs to make shots to best open the lane and regain his devastating speed to keep the defenses guessing and helpless. But the personnel, namely Harkless as a supposed stretch forward, does Fox NO favors to help to get his game unleashed. Accordingly, why not run with Holmes and Len in a game like last night? Slide Holmes over one spot, he’s more than capable. Holmes cannot guard away from the floor a guy like Sabonis or Turner? Of course he can.  

Now you shrink the floor with Len and Holmes, or Holmes and TT, but as I just stated Harkless is not exactly expanding the floor, and you have another lob target for Fox, pick setter for Fox, and you do not get destroyed on the boards to the tune of minus 20! Our coach bemoaned the fact post game that we have to do a better job on the boards. He went on to say Spud Webb needs to do a better job of boxing out Shaq and Woodard needs to do a better job of staying front of Giannis, then he spit up his post game drink on his shirt and asked for nappy, which James Ham dutifully provided, eagerly offering to dap his chin of the spillage. 

 

Kingsguru21
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November 8, 2021 5:14 pm
Reply to  kings4ever

Nice fuckin’ model McGenius!

KangzAteMyFamily
November 8, 2021 8:25 am

Yeah, Fox just isn’t meant to be a muscular guy. Man needs to find that balance. I’m not going to worry yet either.

TerzoM
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November 8, 2021 8:52 am

The Fat-Fox science experiment has Failedcomment image
Time to bring back Fast-Fox

Kosta
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November 8, 2021 10:54 am

Off topic, but I got a premonition that there is a new Nostradumbass leader:

I see a “D”……..and ……and……..two 2’s.
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