SACRAMENTO -- A test run. The Kings open the season next Wednesday against the same Utah Jazz team that ran them over 132-93 Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center. They'll have to play better, or the season is going to get off to a rough start.
There is no question that Sacramento's defense is behind their offense. The Kings also ran up against a team that has perfected the pick-and-roll and has a combination of players that compliment their style.
"You have to watch the film and see the things we did wrong," rookie Marvin Bagley III said. "We gave up a lot of lobs today. When we play them next week, we have to figure out what we did wrong and how to stop that."
For Bagley and fellow rookie Harry Giles III, playing defense against Utah is like jumping straight from undergraduate coursework to a Master's level class. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell torched the Kings for a combined 31 points on 11-of-14 shooting in 34 total minutes of action.
It wasn't just the young bigs. The guards were manhandled as well, including the starting trio of De'Aaron Fox, Yogi Ferrell and Buddy Hield. Not only did they allow the Jazz guards to break down the defense, but they combined to shoot 4-of-26 from the field.
"That's just a young team trying to figure it out as they're getting bopped over the head," Kings head coach Dave Joerger said Thursday. "There are going to be more of these, I'm not trying to sugarcoat it and tell you that everything is perfect."
Overall, Utah shot 60 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from behind the arc. The Jazz led 39-10 after the first quarter and never looked back.
It's a harsh lesson for the Kings to learn, but one they need to move on from quickly. The team boarded a plane for Portland following the game and will play another quality opponent Friday night in the Trail Blazers. Sacramento will need to put forth a better effort.
Welcome back Shump
It's been a long and arduous journey for Iman Shumpert. The veteran wing made his Sacramento Kings debut Thursday evening after playing just 14 games last season due to knee surgery and a bout with plantar fasciitis.
"I got to play a little last year, but even when I played, I was playing through a lot of stuff, you know, just trying to be a tough guy," Shumpert said. "Whatever. I made it worse for myself, had to sit out a long time. It feels good to play without any pain."
Shumpert scored two points and grabbed four rebounds in 19 minutes off the Kings bench. He's not sure if he'll play Friday in Portland. After a year away from the game, it's unlikely Joerger will run Shumpert out there and risk a setback.
"We've got a lot of young guys, they want to try a lot of things and this is a back-to-back after I just sat out a year, so I don't know," Shumpert said. "But, if they play me, I'll jump off the bench and play, but if not, I'm not going to be angry."
There is no word on whether Shumpert is part of Joerger's rotational plans this season. He's known as a quality perimeter defender, which could help the Kings on the wing.