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Kings Pulse: KZ Okpala starting, Keegan Murray shines & more preseason takeaways

The first KP podcast from the start of the 2022-23 (pre)season!

It felt great to be back to talking about a recent game in the latest episode of the Kings Pulse podcast. A new season meant it was time for a new intro and outro to the podcast as well, so I'd love some feedback on that!

The episode started with a conversation about KZ Okpala being in the starting lineup and what he could potentially bring. I talked about why he might be Sacramento's best defender and questioned if he could be a situational starter.

Of course, that quickly led into a conversation about Keegan Murray. Murray was the leading scorer across both teams and looks about as NBA-ready as anyone could be. His shot was falling, he had his moments on defense, and he looks calm and composed for mostly the entire game.

I included some quotes from head coach Mike Brown's postgame where he praised the rookie's poise in his preseason debut. There were also audio clips of Coach Brown talking about what could be expected for rotations and starters, which is important to keep in mind with what we saw.

With that being said, how could I not spend some time overreacting to the rotations?? Some of the notable highlights were Fox and Sabonis not being staggered, the backup four spot, and the bench backcourt.

I also went through most of the 20 guys that played and gave some quick thoughts on their preseason debuts. I'm excited for yet another season of covering the Sacramento Kings in written and audio form for the Kings Herald and on the Kings Pulse podcast!!

The Kings Pulse podcast is available on all major listening platforms and also in video form on YouTube!

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keith_kar
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October 4, 2022 5:02 pm

Ultimately I would build the Kings around Murray/Sabonis, and make Mitchell the starting point guard. If we can somehow package Fox/Barnes, or trade them separately to get our first round pick back that we traded away to get Huerter, do it.

If the Kings are let’s say 10 games below .500 at the all-star break, see what we can get for Fox while his value is still relatively high. Barnes is another story, as he is already a couple of years past the time the Kings should have seriously shopped him.

TheGrantNapear
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October 4, 2022 11:31 pm
Reply to  keith_kar

Not sure either has a ton of value at this point. If Fox improves, sure his trade value goes up but if he improves to thay extent we are likely hovering around .500 in which case MM wouldn’t trade him.
If we suck, Fox’ trade value stays low. Kind of a double edged sword.

HB is certainly tradeable, but you’re not getting back what you would’ve if you traded him last season.

CheekMagnet
October 5, 2022 12:23 pm
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

Fox isn’t a bad player. His only problem is his contract and that Davion looks like he can fit right into that role. We just need to find another bad contract but better fit.

The one I keep coming back to is Fox/Barnes to NO for Ingram and filler.

CheekMagnet
October 5, 2022 12:28 pm
Reply to  CheekMagnet

Or they keep Ingram.

Fox for Graham, Nance Jr., Murphy III, Herb Jones

Kingsguru21
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October 5, 2022 12:51 pm
Reply to  CheekMagnet

I’m not eager for either trade, but that’s just how I feel about it.

I don’t think New Orleans does anything that doesn’t include McCollum and I don’t see any reason for the Kings to do that either.

markdog333
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October 5, 2022 1:02 pm
Reply to  keith_kar

I don’t see how this makes the team better. Even taking into account the poor shooting, I thought Fox was the better player in the first half while they were still playing against rotational players.

49taylaners
October 4, 2022 6:30 pm

What do you think about Fox for B Simmons trade straight up. Simmons plays point forward and solves some of our defensive shortcomings.
starting 5 , Monk and Heurter, Simmons at the 3 Murray at the 4 and Sabonis.

aplumley
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October 4, 2022 8:21 pm
Reply to  49taylaners

In a heartbeat. In terms of trading max contact guys Simmons is the better player. Work out fit issues later

SelecaoKOJ
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October 4, 2022 9:25 pm
Reply to  49taylaners

Based on the way Simmons played last night. He looked dominant. I doubt the Nets move him. A healthy Durant, Irving and. Simmons are frightening.

I am not sure of Fox’s trade value. We’ll find out if he becomes a dog this year.

if not, his trade value won’t be very high.

I see the Knicks, Miami, Hou(For Picks), may we a couple other surprise teams being interested around the ASB.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 4, 2022 10:00 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I agree that a Fox deal can be a salary dump for picks and a fresh start.

Gregoryl
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October 5, 2022 10:59 am

Not many teams would take that deal. Fox reeks of getting the “We’ll take Fox and his contract, but you need to include picks and young studs with him” type of deal.

Kingsguru21
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October 5, 2022 11:04 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

I’m now excited to see what you’ll say after this season when Fox is a big reason the Kings win 45 times.

I keed, I keed. Not about Fox or the Kings winning 45 times, just the razzing you part Gregory. But I am curious to see how the narrative shifts if and when that does happen.

andy_sims
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October 5, 2022 11:11 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

“Well, that’s because Murray and (insert name here) played so well. It had nothing to do with Fox.”

Gregoryl
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October 5, 2022 1:04 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I hope you’re right, but I have seen little in Fox’s career that makes me think he will lead this team to the promised land. If there is any season that he should do it, with the talent around him, its this one.

andy_sims
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October 5, 2022 1:28 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

But you keep moving the goalposts in this particular thread. It began with the idea of a Simmons/Fox trade, and now you’re talking about Fox’s inability to “lead this team to the promised land.”

Do you feel that Ben Simmons is going to be a player who is the main guy on a championship team?

I don’t.

Gregoryl
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October 5, 2022 5:40 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Would you do Simmons for Fox? I would.

Want2win
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October 5, 2022 6:03 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

I think Fox is a good player, he improved each of his first 3 years. He has had crummy coaching the last few years .. I don’t think he is worthy of his contract but he certainly is not the trash that so many people on this site seem to make him out to be.

i thought I was bullish at 41-43 wins but like your 45 better

AnybodyButBagley
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October 5, 2022 1:38 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Not saying it is a this year trade. At some point I could see Fox being that type of a deal.

Kings might have to do something weird to dump him to make room for progress?

Another team might end up needing a decent point guard to make a run when their point guard is out?

WizsSox
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October 5, 2022 1:46 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Fox reeks of getting the “We’ll take Fox and his contract, but you need to include picks and young studs with him”

I am not sure what Fox’s value is to other teams to be honest.
I do feel pretty confident that if the Kings trade him in the near future (minus injury) that they will not have to include their good young players and draft picks, just to get him off the roster. He’s not a Russell Westbrook or John Wall type albatross.

Gregoryl
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October 5, 2022 5:42 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

I don’t think any teams right now would do a Fox trade that didn’t involve picks and/or young studs. There are many reasons why the Pacers wanted Hali, and not Fox.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 5, 2022 7:50 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

That reality is often ignored.

Kingsguru21
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October 6, 2022 5:03 am
Reply to  Gregoryl

There are many reasons why the Pacers wanted Hali, and not Fox.

Curious what you think these reasons are.

Gregoryl
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October 6, 2022 9:04 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

A few I think of: Better contract, higher ceiling, longer team control, better player, etc..

AnybodyButBagley
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October 6, 2022 10:15 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Hmmmmm…I wonder what he might be thinking?

WizsSox
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October 7, 2022 12:06 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

There’s a wide gap between saying Fox could only be traded by unloading all the King’s best assets and the Pacers preferred Hali when trading for an All Star center. One is not like the other.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 7, 2022 9:39 pm
Reply to  WizsSox

Please translate.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 4, 2022 9:56 pm
Reply to  49taylaners

One sided fantasy trade in the Kings favor.

This was a possibility when Simmons was up for grabs. Was not even close to happening then and unfortunately it is not going to happen now.

I would love to have Simmons here.

Last edited 1 month ago by AnybodyButBagley
TheGrantNapear
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October 4, 2022 11:33 pm
Reply to  49taylaners

Nets won’t trade Simmons straight up for Fox or at all, I think they’re all in on this season. If Simmons returns to form and the 3 stay healthy, they’re a contender imo.
I don’t know if a Simmons for Fox trade was ever offered to MM, but I would do it in a heartbeat.

WizsSox
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October 5, 2022 10:31 am
Reply to  TheGrantNapear

I don’t know if a Simmons for Fox trade was ever offered to MM, but I would do it in a heartbeat.

Seems like multiple people support this idea…Are we just choosing to ignore Simmons sat out last year because he didn’t like his playing/team situation? Got what he wanted and was traded but didn’t come back in playoffs from back injury where everyone thought he was going to, including teammates. Just flat decided not to by reports. This is the guy who we think will embrace coming to Sacramento and thrive? Making more money and on a shorter contract. I’m personally not giving up anything of value for that potential nightmare.

Fox has warts…I get it. But up to this point he hasn’t done anything to make me worry about his overall commitment to the team/franchise (Everyone insert the Fox commitment to Defense jokes here) I don’t buy the Fox has never led this team anywhere… while it’s true, pretty sure if Fox played alongside Embiid and or Butler they would make the playoffs too. CIrcumstances matter.

Is Fox the alpha on a decent playoff team…probably not. But I think he could be second. Not comfortable saying the same for Simmons at this point.

49taylaners
October 5, 2022 10:44 am
Reply to  WizsSox

We could also say that C-Webb didn’t want to come here as well. Simmons would be the Alpha on this team and would thrive. The point is moot anyways because Brooklyn would not do that trade straight up. Unless we dangle, say HB? Maybe get back TJ Warren?
Wishful thinking..

WizsSox
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October 5, 2022 11:14 am
Reply to  49taylaners

Simmons would be the Alpha on this team and would thrive.

Well he never has been the alpha and lead of a team, so that’s hard to imagine based on his actions/inaction in the NBA thus far.

I don’t think citing C Webb as an example of what could happen outweighs what is more likely to happen in a trade to Sacramento. Different era, guys willing to go to more extreme lengths/actions to play where they want. Could be wrong, but it’s hard for me to fathom he just comes here and plays out 3 years in harmony.

Kingsguru21
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October 5, 2022 11:01 am
Reply to  WizsSox

Is Fox the alpha on a decent playoff team…probably not. But I think he could be second. Not comfortable saying the same for Simmons at this point.

Guess it’s a bad thing he’s on a team with two #1 options then…..

Just the thought of Simmons and Sabonis is a nightmare. There’s not a #1 or possibly #2 option!!!

Probably a good thing I’m not the biggest Ben Simmons fan.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 5, 2022 2:11 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Roster must remain the same and must win championships.

Kingsguru21
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October 5, 2022 3:48 pm

Huh?

AnybodyButBagley
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October 5, 2022 7:45 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Apparently Fox and Sabonis cannot function without each other.

Kingsguru21
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October 6, 2022 3:31 am

Which has what to do with winning championships exactly?

AnybodyButBagley
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October 6, 2022 9:37 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

According to you this team must remain as is and still win championships. Nobody can be added or traded because they fit perfectly or no deal works.

Magic is going to happen.

Jack
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October 5, 2022 8:33 am
Reply to  49taylaners

I think you should consider Davion as your point guard.

andy_sims
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October 5, 2022 9:51 am

“Anticipatory” is absolutely a word, and you used it in perfect context.

“I hope that’s a word. Jesus Christ.”

Howling.

RattleSeattle96
October 5, 2022 6:26 pm

Tired of coaches trying to be cute and out smart themselves with the starting line up. Just start the obvious with Sabonis, Barnes, Murray, Huerter, and Fox. If that doesn’t work then make changes.

AnybodyButBagley
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October 5, 2022 7:47 pm

Don’t forget finding playing time for all the guys on the G league team as well.

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