Three Positives and Three Negatives From Week 1 of Kings' Preseason

Week one of the preseason is in the books. The Sacramento Kings have already played half of their exhibition schedule and there are themes developing with the squad. 

It's early to predict what the rotation will look like once games begin for real on October 17, but Dave Joerger has gone young and he hasn't shied away from experimenting with his players. 

Sacramento sits at 1-2. They've had some good moments and some completely forgettable ones as well. Here is a look at three positives, three negatives, and a few random thoughts from week one. 


Fox has found his range

The Kings think they have a cornerstone building block. He hasn't been perfect in every game, but De'Aaron Fox has clearly improved and looks ready to take a huge leap in his sophomore season.

Everyone knows that Fox can get out and run, but he's worked hard to improve his perimeter game throughout the summer. In his first three games, the former Kentucky star has hit 6-of-13 from long range, including a 4-for-6 showing against the Lakers in just 18 minutes of action.

Joerger hasn't unleashed Fox for major minutes, but he will once the regular season begin. So far, he's showing the ability to score and to run the team. He might be the most important player for the future of the franchise. If can become a star, the rebuild gets a major boost.

Harry and Marv show improvement

Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere started the first two games for Sacramento with mixed reviews. Joerger has already turned to both his rookie bigs and they are producing out of the gate.

After a rough opening game, Marvin Bagley posted a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double against the Lakers. He's struggled with consistency, but he's starting to show why the Kings selected him second overall. 

Giles is a breath of fresh air. He's posting 15 points, six rebounds and two assists in 22.7 minutes a game early in the preseason. He's struggled with foul trouble, leaving two of the three games early, though. 

There is an energy and excitement that these two bigs bring to the game. They'll have struggles, but both look like players. 

Frank Mason isn't ready to step aside

Mason was considered the odd man out when the Kings added Yogi Ferrell late in the summer. The former Wooden and Naismith award winner came into camp in great shape, but his summer league experience didn't stand out. 

After spending the last few weeks of summer playing with USA basketball, Mason has turned heads with his strong play. Through three games, he's averaging 11 points and five assists in 21 minutes a game. He's shooting 80 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the arc.

With a spot in the rotation on the line, Mason has done everything asked of him. He's turned the ball over just two times. He's gotten to the free throw line 14 times in three games and has yet to miss. 

Opportunity doesn't always knock twice for an NBA prospect. Bogdan Bogdanovic's absence opens a temporary spot for Mason in the first few weeks of the season. If he continues to play like he has so far, he'll make life very difficult on Joerger and his staff.


Bogdan is missed 

When it was announced during media day that Bogdanovic was going to miss 4-6 weeks of action, there was a collective sigh in the room. The 25-year-old Serb was the team's best player last season and he's a perfect compliment to Fox in the back court.

The injury has opened the door for Buddy Hield to get a long look as a starter, but he's been erratic so far and might be better suited off the bench.

Bogdanovic is a calming influence. He also gives the team another elite shooter and a second ball handler on the floor. He's likely to miss the first week or two of the season, but he's a player the Kings are counting on for big things this season. 

Consistency from the young core

Cauley-Stein, Labissiere and Justin Jackson are getting a golden opportunity to shine during the preseason. At best, they've been hit and miss. 

Entering a contract year, Cauley-Stein has a ton riding on this season. He's talked about wanting to get paid and he's also acknowledged that he's inconsistent. So far, he's yet to give Joerger consistent production on either end of the floor. 

Labissiere clearly worked on his body, stacking on 20 pounds of muscle during the summer. He's still trying to figure out how to use his strength. Once Nemanja Bjelica returns to action, minutes are going to get tough to come by at the power forward spot. Labissiere has a few more preseason games to show he can contribute on a nightly basis.

Jackson has started all three games for Joerger and finally got a shot to go down Friday against the Warriors. He finished the game with eight points after going scoreless against the Suns and Lakers. More concerning than missed shots is that Jackson has four rebounds and two assists in 65 minutes of play in the preseason.  

Rolling over

The Golden State Warriors are a juggernaut. They've won two straight and three of the last four championships. They are a great team.

Saying all of that, the Kings needed a better effort. You can't lay down and allow a team to walk all over you. Losing by 28 points on Friday night threw away any momentum the team had built. 

Sacramento was short-handed, but the Warriors also kept Steph Curry and Draymond Green at home. Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson ran roughshod over the Kings' starters. They are tough matchups for almost every team, but against the Kings, it was way too easy.

Random thoughts

- Joerger has yet to send a player on the floor over the age of 25. A few of the vets are dinged up, but Zach Randolph has been a healthy scratch in all three games. Early word coming into camp was that Joerger was going to allow the young guys to play this season. So far, the Kings' coach has been true to his word.

- Ben McLemore is an insurance policy. Coming into camp, McLemore was an afterthought. He's worked hard to fit in and played valuable minutes at the small forward position through three games. He can shoot and run the floor and it's possible that things are finally starting to click for the high flyer.

- Wenyen Gabriel will be a fan favorite. Kings fans fell in love with two-way players Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson last season. Gabriel hasn't thrown up big numbers, but he hustles, rebounds, plays defense and can drill a 3-pointer. Give him a year or two to develop and then check back in.

Copyright CSNBY - CSN BAY
Contact Us