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The Keon Ellis era and an improved Sacramento Kings defense, with Jerry Reynolds

The Kings are playing... good defense?
By and | 27 Comments | Mar 26, 2024

The Kings Herald Show returns with Jerry Reynolds, Will Griffith, and Tony Xypteras to break down the new Sacramento Kings starting lineup, a tight Western Conference playoff race, Kevin Huerter’s injury, Keon Ellis’ emergence, and much more. Thanks for listening!

If you enjoy The Kings Herald Show, the easiest way to support us is to subscribe, rate, and review the show on your preferred podcast platform.

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In addition to our bi-weekly podcast with Jerry Reynolds, we also record a Patreon exclusive Q+A once a month where Patrons at any level can Ask Jerry Anything.

You can submit questions for Jerry on Patreon, or write your questions in the comments below this post! Or you can just yell questions to Tony or Will on Twitter. 

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TheBaker
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March 26, 2024 10:07 am

Would you rather:

1) Face the T-Wolves in a first-round matchup assuming KAT may come back sometime in the series?
2) Face the Clippers as a first-round matchup with their roster intact?
3) Play either the Thunder or Nuggets if you were guaranteed play-in wins?

andy_sims
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March 26, 2024 10:56 am
Reply to  TheBaker

Interesting questions, to be sure. Given the Kings’ success against these teams, I guess I’d prefer to play whichever team is playing worst down the stretch. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything once the playoffs start, but they’re all good teams so any small advantage could be valuable.

TheBaker
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March 26, 2024 11:32 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Good thoughts. Clippers are struggling but I suspect they will get it together. Playoff Harden will be intriguing now as a 3rd wheel – and I’m not sure what to make of it. If he is usual playoff Harden, I like our chances; however, I think he can be really useful as a set-up man for the other two stars – especially as playoff offense usually slows – and Kawhi and Paul George are pretty good at getting buckets.

jwalker1395
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March 26, 2024 11:41 am
Reply to  TheBaker

Personally, I am licking my chops at a #3 v #6 matchup with the T-Wolves. We have proven we can beat them, they have less playoff experience among their key pieces, and KAT is injured. Plus McDaniels was talking trash so it adds some extra stakes. I’d be fine with a matchup against the Clippers or Thunder. I do not want any part of Denver.

RikSmits
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March 26, 2024 12:27 pm
Reply to  TheBaker

I don’t really care. If you want to be a champion-caliber team, you have to be able to beat any team in a 7 game series.

Also, regular season record against another team means little come play-off time. It’s so hard to predict with everyone so close together.

I’d really would like to miss the anxiety of the play-in. That’s an absolute crapshoot.

SavageBeast
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March 26, 2024 3:27 pm
Reply to  TheBaker

I mean obviously if you want to win a championship you have to beat whoever you face. But some matchups are tougher than others. I’d love to see the Pels vs Clips just to get one of them out of the way, and play the Wolves as a 6-3. I’d give us better than 50 percent odds to get through that and then face either OKC or a play in team in the second round, saving a Denver matchup for the WCC.

andy_sims
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March 26, 2024 11:58 am

Does the audio cut off kind of suddenly at 52:20 or did I just get a bad download?

Hobby916
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March 26, 2024 1:53 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Mine did that too. I was using Podbean. Spotify also has the show length at 53 minutes.

Kfan
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March 26, 2024 2:12 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Spotify cut off mid sentence at 52:20

andy_sims
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March 26, 2024 4:28 pm
Reply to  Kfan

Probably for the best, they were about to reveal my Terrible Dark Secret.™

Oh, you all know about that already.

SavageBeast
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March 26, 2024 6:10 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Which one. There are so dang many it’s hard to keep track.

Tankathon
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March 26, 2024 4:33 pm

When are we going to come to terms with the fact that Tyrese Haliburton might be a top 10 player in the next 2-3 years while Foxy and Sabonis might never reach those heights. In the short term, this was great and don’t get me wrong, I’ve had fun the last year but this trade will have ramifications for years, especially after this run is over. Tough to say that McNair “nailed” it.

rockbottom
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March 26, 2024 5:12 pm
Reply to  Tankathon

Have you followed his stats the last 15 games ? Big drop off . Top 10 maybe but don’t count on it . Hope he is but see at lot more than 10 ahead right now .

Tankathon
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March 26, 2024 6:06 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

He’s been playing hurt but still seems to be averaging a double double. Assuming the old guys retire or lose a step (KD, Lebron, Steph and even maybe Kawhi), the next 2-3 years will most likely be: Jokic, Giannis, Embid, Shai, Luka, tatum, book, wemby, and Ant as locks. If Hali is not 10, he’s definitely a lock in the top15 (other guys in that range might be Zion/Chet/Morant). It’s nice to have 2 top 25 guys like we do but it won’t be enough firepower for a championship if that is what we want. This doesn’t include the fact that we might be capped out in terms of legit trade assets other than some middle first round picks and Keegan.

rockbottom
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March 27, 2024 7:18 am
Reply to  Tankathon

Not a lock yet has yet to play in a playoff game . I hope you are correct but nothing to indicate that currently .

andy_sims
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March 28, 2024 11:49 am
Reply to  Tankathon

If coaches and reporters weren’t such an unfortunate blend of stupidity and bias, Sabonis would be discussed as one of the favorites for MVP this season. There just aren’t many guys whose numbers compare favorably to Sabonis’.

Injuries aside (which Sabonis plays through, by the way), is it your opinion that Halliburton is having a better season than Sabonis?

Tankathon
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March 28, 2024 1:23 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I would agree that the media is biased in the way they cover Sabonis but I also think there is some truth to the things said about him. My original comment comes from the lens of being a contender in the near term and not necessarily just the season. Without a doubt, Sabonis has had a more consistently better season but it’d be silly to say that he is the better player. Before Hali got hurt, he was the focal point of the offense, putting up better numbers, and having a bigger impact on winning.

I tend to see Sabonis as a bonafide #2 or #2.5 on a championship team whereas I see Hali as a legit 1b. Meaning Sabonis gives you a better floor for a team but Hali gives you a better ceiling.

When you trade 1b for 2-2.5, that’s just objectively not a good trade is all I’m trying to say. But as Kings fan, we let that go because they aren’t a lottery team and that is the only criteria it seems haha. I love Sabonis but if the Kings make the playoffs, I’m nervous for him. I think it’s way easier for opponents to take him out of a game than we’d like to think.

andy_sims
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March 29, 2024 8:47 am
Reply to  Tankathon

Before Hali got hurt, he was the focal point of the offense, putting up better numbers, and having a bigger impact on winning.

Better numbers than who? Sabonis?

Annotation-2024-03-29-084417
andy_sims
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March 29, 2024 8:48 am
Reply to  andy_sims

II.

efklteklwrgel
andy_sims
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March 29, 2024 8:48 am
Reply to  andy_sims

III.

tltpkortpor
andy_sims
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March 29, 2024 9:18 am
Reply to  Tankathon

I’m not seeing it.

If he can stay on the court, Haliburton could be a Hall of Fame guy. He’s very charismatic, which doesn’t hurt, and he’s a joy to watch. He was in the MVP conversation before his injuries began to pile up.

Sabonis is having a demonstrably better season. And not just better than Ty, but better than damned near everyone in the league. His play has been, and not in the hyperbolic sense, literally historic. If he finishes anywhere below three, they may as well just stop awarding it, and rename it the Coaches & Media Dreamiest Player In a Market Large Enough to Bother Thinking About.

I’m not concerned about Sabonis in the playoffs. For starters, he’s going to be available. Sacramento’s offense is more diversified than last season, and the defense has improved considerably, especially over the past month as the season gets into crunch time.

As things stand, the Kings would get the Lakers in the play-in, and I encourage you to look at Sabonis’ numbers against them this year, and versus Anthony Davis in particular. If there’s an idea that the Lakers had a strategy to neutralize Sabonis in the playoffs, but decided to take the sweep this year instead of tipping their hand, well, obviously that would be ridiculous.

There are players that Sabonis struggles against, some on playoff teams, others who aren’t. It’s the nature of things. I’m told that AD is one of the seventy-five greatest basketball players of all time, yet he disappears against the smaller, less-athletic Kings’ center.

Looney was a tough matchup last year, and combined with some ice-cold shooting, Fox’s broken finger, & very bad defense, the Kings lost a series they should have won. Circumstances have changed.

The fact that people are still pining for Haliburton is still beyond understanding. You don’t get Sabonis without Haliburton, and you also don’t get Malik Monk if Buddy Hield wasn’t thrown in to dump salary. There is no circumstance where the Kings have Sabonis, Fox, and Haliburton on the roster, delightful as it sounds.

If Sacramento should manage to meet Indiana in the finals, I throw Keon at Haliburton, and let the chips fall where they may.

rockbottom
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March 29, 2024 10:19 am
Reply to  andy_sims

We all love Tyrese but he was injured for 10 +Games but is playing so deemed healthy as is Sabonis . Also true his stats have dipped considerably and Domas has not . Everything said about Tyrese this season was said about Cade Cunningham , Trae Young and LaMello Ball in the past . Let’s pump the brakes for at least another season before HOF induction .

Tankathon
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March 29, 2024 9:37 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

My main point is whether the team can be a contender in the next 2-3 years. Yes, Sabonis is having the better season statistically, although my argument was that hali had a better season PRIOR to injury. I couldn’t tell you if the Pacers or the Kings have the better roster – seems kinda even at the moment, but as currently constructed, Sabonis is have a super historical season as THE focal point and this team is going to be a 45 win, play in team at best. Not to mention, this may be peak Sabonis. I’d love to be wrong. This isn’t necessarily me clamoring for Hali but rather, is this trade really even or best for the outlook of the franchise?

rockbottom
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March 30, 2024 5:49 am
Reply to  Tankathon

Pacers added Siakam who has been their best player in the last 15 games . Kings added Mason Jones .

Tankathon
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March 30, 2024 6:43 am
Reply to  rockbottom

Prior to the trade, the Kings (Fox/Sabonis) > Pacers (Hali/turner?) and from our discussion above about Sabonis having a better season, isn’t that supposed to mean Fox/Sabonis>Hali/Siakam as well? I know it’s not exactly cause and effect but a pre prime Hali essentially got the Pacers to a similar spot/record as the Kings. In this league, you’re only as good as your stars and our stars are essentially in their primes and about to be a play in team. Do we really think we can be a contender with these two? I believe Keegan would also have to be a top 25-30 guy. All I’m saying is it feels like a better shot of being a contender with Hali

rockbottom
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March 30, 2024 10:46 am
Reply to  Tankathon

Do agree if Hali can maintain health ( legit concern ) can be a top 15~20 players for years . Also.proven owner, coach and bball ops well ahead of Kings . Final thought if Kings keep Hali with Fox team would likely be a 32~35 win team. Personally, love a true warrior like Sabonis and wish we still had Hali . I have moved on ..

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