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Three takeaways from Kings 120-109 loss to Suns in final game before break

Sacramento has some things to figure out during the All-Star break
By | 0 Comments | Feb 15, 2023

In their final game before All-Star weekend — in which De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter will all be representing the Beam team — the Sacramento Kings put their weaknesses on display, losing to the new look Phoenix Suns 120-109 on the road.

The Suns were without their new superstar Kevin Durant, and also without two key, talented role players in Mikal bridges and Cam Johnson whom they traded away. Their roster was much different than what they’re used to and it was probably a little uncomfortable to play with the chemistry shaken up. But that didn’t stop the Kings from finding a way to lose.

Here are three takeaways from a game I think they needed to win:

The coaching staff will be BUSY during the break

Many of the top Western Conference teams improved before the deadline and the Kings did not. Going into the break, the Kings are just 2.5 games back from the second seed Grizzlies, but also only 2.5 games ahead of the eighth seed Timberwolves. To make things worse, the Kings’ remaining schedule for the season is not very friendly.

I called this a game I thought the Kings needed to win because KD wasn’t playing and Suns are still adjusting to roster moves. A situation the Kings should have taken advantage of. However, the same big issues they always face got in the way of that. Overall defense — especially points in the paint — consistent offense off the bench and making shots.

Mike Brown and the rest of the staff are obviously aware of the issues and are certainly working on solutions. This week would be the perfect opportunity to use the time off to think of some outside the box ideas or practice a scheme they’ve had in their back pocket for a rainy day.

Should the Kings look towards the buyout market

Though the market is not as deep as I would like and some of the better players are no longer available, it never hurts to add more depth. Someone like Stanley Johnson wouldn’t be a horrible addition. He’s got good size and length, as well as solid shooting ability. Wouldn’t cost much and could provide some quality minutes when needed.

Who will create on the bench when Monk is out

Over the last two games — Monk was out for both — the Kings’ bench has amassed a total of 11 assists. In the loss against Phoenix, the second unit only scored 15 points between just two players.

The Kings are currently ninth in the league with 36.9 bench points per game. This has been a strength for them all year, largely due to Monk’s ability to facilitate while also being arguably the best scoring option in the second unit. With him out, the bench has a lot of guys that can’t create for others and only a couple that can even create for themselves. Unless Fox or Sabonis are on the floor, they looked stuck.

Though he has not been himself on offense this season, I think it’s up to Davion Mitchell. He needs to bring out whatever he had in his bag last year and during the Summer. Even if his scoring ability is shot, Mitchell can have a major impact creating for others while still doing his thing on defense.

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