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Category Archives: Kings

Nightwing discusses his journey, shoes and basketball

Chris Chase, better known as Nightwing2303 from WearTesters.com joins the show to talk about his journey, his favorite sneakers and so much more. You don’t want to miss this conversation!

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Sunday Musings: The State of California has Four Relevant NBA Teams

The state of California has been treated to quality basketball in the 2018-19 season. The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers are expectedly competitive, with LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry — the NBA’s three best players — populating the same state.
But, unlike recent seasons, Golden State and L.A. aren’t the only relevant cities. The Sacramento Kings continue to bulldoze their way through the Western Conference, winning games they shouldn’t and sitting in 8th place.
The Clippers are also putting a quality product on the floor. If the playoffs started now, California would comprise half of the eight Western Conference teams. Historically, that hasn’t been commonplace.
While the Clippers sit a tier above Sacramento, both teams are on the rise. Both teams have unexpected All-Star candidates in De’Aaron Fox and Tobias Harris. Both teams have Most Improved Player candidates, with Fox representing Sacramento and Montrezl Harrell representing the Clips.

The Warriors and Lakers will continue to dominate the national conversation, but the Kings and Clippers are establishing themselves as unique contenders. Not necessarily title contenders — at least not yet — but both would be an enjoyable watch in the postseason.
As for how it’s happening, pace continues to play an important role. The Kings rank second in pace, trailing only the Atlanta Hawks. With Fox spearheading the transition attack, multiple shooters on the outside, and some excellent rim-running bigs, the Kings are well-equipped to punish opponents in transition.
Whether it be rebounds or turnovers, the Kings can run-and-gun their way to points in rapid-fire flurries. To a certain extent, it’s what allows Sacramento to make so many double-digit comebacks. The Kings capitalize on opponents’ mistakes, creating scoring opportunities and quickly seizing momentum.
The Clippers rank 9th in pace, but they’ve been similarly effective in certain areas. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has adjusted to the starting role in swift fashion, mastering the ability to abruptly change speeds and create angles with veteran-like precision.
Lou Williams, Avery Bradley and Patrick Beverley anchor a deep backcourt, which is complemented by Harrell’s rim-running, Danilo Gallinari’s offensive versatility and Tobias Harris’ three-level scoring.
One thing the Kings have been surprisingly good at is limiting turnovers, sitting 8th in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio. The Clippers, by comparison, sit 20th. For such a young group, that’s a promising trend for Sacramento.
While the Clippers have some solid young pieces, long-term upside favors Sacramento. The Kings aren’t supposed to be winning yet — Nemanja Bjelica is the team’s best veteran — but without draft picks on the line, their 19-16 record is a welcome sign. The Kings, for the first time in a while, are legitimately moving in the right direction.
Marvin Bagely possesses immense talent, despite the relative disappointment compared to Luka Doncic. He’s going to become a really solid player, as will Willie Cauley-Stein, who’s thriving in a contract season. The backcourt, with Fox, Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, has three cornerstones to build around. Hield is a fringe All-Star candidate at 26, though it’s unlikely he gets voted in. Fox might sneak in.
The Clippers aren’t old and all indications point toward Harris re-signing next summer. When it comes to high-level prospects, though, L.A. just doesn’t stack up. Harris, SGA and Harrell provide a sturdy foundation, but the other core pieces are moving beyond their prime years.
For now, however, there are four successful, entertaining teams in California. That’s a win for everyone.
2018-19 MVP LADDER
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
2. James Harden, Rockets
3. LeBron James, Lakers
4. Stephen Curry, Warriors
5. Joel Embiid, 76ers
2018-19 ROY LADDER
1. Luka Doncic, Mavericks
2. Deandre Ayton, Suns
3. Jaren Jackson Jr., Grizzlies
2018-19 MIP LADDER
1. De’Aaron Fox, Kings
2. Derrick Rose, Timberwolves
3. Domantas Sabonis, Pacers
1. Robert Covington, Timberwolves
2. Paul George, Thunder
3. Rudy Gobert, Jazz
The Duke Blue Devils are scary good, as are their prospects. Zion Williamson’s unique blend of size, grace and skill earn him top grades, while R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish are second and third. Reddish hasn’t been overly impressive, but one can attribute that to role more than talent. As long as his interior finishing improves, it’s easy to picture Reddish blossoming in the NBA.
As for the other top prospect in North Carolina, Nassir Little continues to tumble down draft boards. His AAU/pre-college tape probably keeps him in the top-5 conversation, but the Tar Heels have been reluctant to unleash Little on a consistent basis. He’s struggling to create quality shots against wings in isolation, which is cause for concern.
Ja Morant, with Darius Garland succumbing to injury, has established himself as the top point guard prospect. Flying under the radar at Murray State, Morant’s athleticism, scoring instincts and playmaking chops pop in a way mid-major prospects seldom pop.
Despite flashes, mild skepticism is warranted for Oregon’s Bol Bol. He’s 7-foot-2 and can hit threes, but a skinny frame and questionable effort level are among the many concerns regarding his NBA transition.

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Should Willie Cauley-Stein get paid in Free Agency?

Written by: Tony Soria
The Kings are finally going through a successful rebuild. General Manager Vlade Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive have built an up and coming team through the draft and now opponents are starting to give the Kings the credit and respect they deserve.
The commencement of this current rebuild started back in 2015 when they drafted Willie Cauley-Stein with the sixth pick in the 2015 draft. At the moment, he was seen to be more of a role piece around DeMarcus Cousins as he was not terribly gifted on the offensive end but had stellar defensive ability that he displayed when he played for the University of Kentucky.
Cauley-Stein, or Trill, as he’s known, did not get much of a chance to develop his game while playing in the shadow of Cousins. In Cauley-Stein’s rookie season, Cousins led the league in usage rate leaving Cauley-Stein in the 409th spot that year with a 12.9 usage rate. In turn, Willie only averaged seven points while pulling down 5.3 rebounds and adding a block each game.
The next year started off in a similar fashion as Cousins was the focal point of the offense, not allowing other players to touch the ball very much. Then, halfway through Cauley-Stein’s sophomore year, Divac shipped Cousins off to New Orleans adding the next rebuilding piece in Buddy Hield. The trade not only brought Hield to Sac Town but it got rid of the negative culture and attitude Cousins produced in the locker room.
The first game back after the Cousins’ trade was against the Nuggets. Although Cauley-Stein did not get the start at the center position that night, he showed what he was capable of without Cousins monopolizing the ball the whole game. Cauley-Stein dropped 29 points on .636% shooting while pulling in 10 boards. Since this game, Willie Cauley-Stein and the Sacramento Kings as a whole, have never looked back.

As of today the Kings sit in the 8th seed with a 19-16 record and show no signs of slowing down. As the longest tenured player in Sacramento, Cauley-Stein has emerged as one of the leaders of this youthful team and has improved each year in the league.
Cauley-Stein is in the final year of his rookie contract. The Kings are able to make him a restricted free agent if they extend him with a $6.2 million qualifying offer. This then means that other teams are able to offer him contracts that the Kings will be able to match if they want to keep him.
As of right now, the Kings have $11 million in cap space and have close to $40 million coming off the books at the end of this season including Willie Cauley-Stein’s contract. The Kings have no need to make a big splash in free agency as they should keep their young core together and refrain from bringing in anyone that might disturb the chemistry.
Before the season started, Willie Cauley-Stein said in an interview with James Ham, “I’m ready to get paid, this is what we’ve got to do, that’s what type of focus I’m on. I’m ready for it. I’ve seen everybody else—all my peers. Alright, I’m ready for that. What do I got to do to do that? That’s what they’re doing? Alright, I’m going to go ahead and do this now.”
Cauley-Stein has proved so far this year that he deserves some money in free agency. He has played well all year and knows his role.



*According to Basketball Reference
His numbers might not stand out, but he has proven to be a serviceable big man with great mobility and room for improvement. In today’s NBA, it seems that a lot of players are being overpaid for what they can bring each game and the same thought has to be kept in mind for Cauley-Stein during free agency.
Coming out of college as a defensive specialist, Willie has not lived up to the hype surrounding him on that end of the floor. He needs to become a better rim protector if he wants to be seen as a serious asset in the NBA.
His scoring has improved each year in the league, with most of his points coming within the paint and off assists. He has tried to develop a jump shot that he will occasionally knock down if given an open mid-range look. It still needs work, but shows that he is capable of establishing a consistent jumper.
The most significant aspect of his game that he brings to Sacramento is his leadership. He has been through so much change in Sacramento but has not let it affect him. He leads through example by displaying his hard work and knowing his role. He never tries to do too much which is important for young players to learn so that they do not go rogue and mess up chemistry on the court.
He mentioned in his interview that he has seen all his peers get paid and that it is his turn following this season.






*According to Basketball Reference
In the 2015 draft, four players from Kentucky were chosen in the top 13 spots. Karl-Anthony Towns was the first pick in that draft and was the first to be given an All-Star selection which happened last season. Booker, who was chosen last of these four, is already a star and probably would have been named an All-Star last year if he had not missed a large chunk of the season due to injury.
Towns and Booker have already gotten the money they deserve prior to the beginning of the season as Towns signed a 5-year $190 million extension, while Booker signed a 5-year $158 million extension. Lyles on the other is in the same boat as Willie, waiting to be extended through a qualifying offer at the end of his rookie deal.
As seen in the stats comparison, Cauley-Stein will not be offered a contract anywhere close to the deals Booker and KAT received. He will more likely be offered money starting around $15 million a year with a max of around $20 million.
With all the cap space the Kings will obtain following this year, Divac should extend him and match any offer that is not too absurd.
A problem that might occur in signing Cauley-Stein is that he might plateau after being given a substantial contract. He said he is playing for a contract this year and might be working harder for the money rather than the team. Hopefully, once he gets paid, he will continue to work hard and not let the money affect his performance
Cauley-Stein is an important part of this young Sacramento team. He might not be the most talented player on the court but he does his job well and knows where he fits in. He has developed into a leader and with the Kings having rookie big men in Giles and Bagley, Trill will be an important factor in helping them through the process.
Cauley-Stein might not get paid like his fellow peers from Kentucky, but he has earned a sturdy sum of money coming his way in free agency. The Kings needs to do what they can to keep him at home and hope he continues to work hard. He was the first piece of the rebuild and has proven to be an important component in Sacramento moving towards a promising future.

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Timberwolves @ Kings Game Preview

Category : Kings , NBA , ProCity Hoops , Timberwolves

The Timberwolves are in Sacramento for a late-night matchup against the Kings. The game is set to tip at 9 PM CT. The Wolves and Kings have one matchup on the season, a game the Kings won 121-110. In fact, that game was the last game that Jimmy Butler played for Minnesota, as he was traded to Philly the next day. In their first matchup, Karl-Anthony Towns led the way for the Wolves scoring 39 points and grabbing 19 rebounds. For Sacramento, they were led by Willie Cauley-Stein, who recorded 25 points on 11-16 shooting from the field. Fast forward a month, and the Kings and Wolves are still right in the thick of things in the West. Sacramento sits at 14-12, coming off a four-game road trip where they went 3-1. For the Wolves, they currently sit at 13-14, losing their last two games on the road to the Blazers and Warriors. Let’s get into the keys to tonight’s matchup for both teams.
In order to leave Sacramento with a win, the Wolves need to find a way to get Karl-Anthony Towns the ball and contain De’Aaron Fox. Towns dominated in the two team’s first matchup of the season, and Minnesota will need more of that tonight. In order to get KAT going, it would be beneficial for the Wolves to let Towns share the court with Dario Saric more often. In 133 minutes played together this season, the Wolves have outscored opponents by 12.6 points per 100 possessions when KAT and Dario share the floor. Additionally for Minnesota, their defense will have to put the clamps on De’Aaron Fox. While Robert Covington has mostly been matched up against the opposing team’s best player this season, it will likely be Jeff Teague’s responsibility to contain Fox tonight. Jeff Teague isn’t the quickest defender in the NBA, so it will be a challenge that he needs to take on in order to slow down De’Aaron Fox.

The Kings need to continue doing what has been working for them so far this season. The Kings are playing with the second fastest pace in the NBA this season, and it’s been working. The Kings need to continue to run and play fast against a Wolves team that has been improving on the defensive side of the ball. Additionally, the Kings need to stop Towns. Since the Jimmy Butler trade, the Wolves have been running their offense through the big fella. For the Kings, they will need to attack Towns with a fierce double-team that makes it hard for Towns to get in a rhythm.
While the Kings got the best of Minnesota earlier in the season, I think Minnesota ends their short two-game losing streak tonight in Sacramento. I think the Kings will have a hard time containing Towns, which will lead to a 30-10 performance from KAT. In the end, I forsee the Wolves coming out on top 112-105.

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Sunday Musings: The Kings are shocking the NBA and having fun doing it

Category : Cowbell Kingdom , Kings , NBA

The Sacramento Kings are 3-3, good for 9th place in the Western Conference. While that pace won’t continue, there have been several positive developments.
First and foremost is De’Aaron Fox. The sophomore guard is making the leap, averaging 17.7 points and 7.0 assists through six games. He isn’t perfect, but for someone who ended last season with lingering question marks, this has been an overwhelmingly positive start to the season.
Marvin Bagley has also put together a quietly effective two weeks. After tallying just 12 minutes on opening night, Coach Joerger has leaned on Bagley more often, giving him 26.8 minutes per game.
There are still some flaws in Bagley’s approach on both ends, but he’s a dynamic athlete who can attack off the bounce, hit the occasional jump shot and provide energy on the glass. His defense has been better than expected as well.
While Luka Doncic, Trae Young and DeAndre Ayton are early Rookie of the Year frontrunners, Bagley is looking like a 1st team All-Rookie candidate. Despite the criticism, he was the No. 2 pick for a reason. The kid’s talented.
Buddy Heild, Nemanja Bjelica, Iman Shumpert and Willie Cauley-Stein have all had their own promising starts to the season as well. The Kings are a difficult opponent right now, playing high-energy basketball on both ends.
Regression is inevitable, but the young core is moving in the right direction. For a team that has been stuck at the bottom in recent seasons, some positive momentum is a good sign. That’s especially true for a team that doesn’t own its 1st-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Wolves are a mess that even Jimmy Butler can’t fix. Karl-Anthony Towns has looked dejected and ineffective at times, struggling to find his groove on offense. As their long-term cornerstone, his development should be priority No. 1 — not winning a few more games before Butler walks in free agency.
The Rockets, Heat and Sixers are all teams to watch. Other struggling franchises — the Wizards come to mind — should also join the market. Expect Butler to get dealt at some point if Thibs has any awareness whatsoever.
After spending the summer lamenting the Hawks’ decision to trade Doncic, NBA fans are coming to the realization that both Doncic and Young are quality basketball players. Young putting up historic numbers in his lone collegiate season wasn’t a fluke.
In the long run, Doncic is the better prospect. The Hawks might have made a mistake. With that said, Young is already producing for a team that will add another high-profile draft pick (possibly two, due to the Doncic trade) next summer. Atlanta is far from hopeless.
L.A. is 2-4 after dropping their second matchup with the Spurs this season. The supporting cast around LeBron James is laughably bad at times, both in terms of talent and fit. That doesn’t mean the Lakers are a lost cause.
LeBron alone guarantees a playoff spot if healthy. Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball have also shown massive promise next to James in the starting lineup, a combination Luke Walton would be wise to continue.
As the season progresses, the Lakers will also have opportunities to add to their supporting cast. If the defense ever catches up, their offense (and LeBron) will make them a dangerous playoff opponent.
Kawhi Leonard is rusty and still looks the part of a top-5 NBA player. The Raptors are benefitting from an upgrade on both ends, looking like the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics will eventually figure things out, but Toronto has the depth, versatility and talent to beat them in a seven-game series. Leonard is the best player in that series, and that will hold significant weight when the time comes (which it will).
Also, the Bucks might join them in the East’s elite tier. Through six games, Milwaukee is leading the league in point differential (16.0), comfortably outpacing Golden State (12.8) and Toronto (10.8).
Mike Budenholzer’s offense has maximized the Bucks’ shooting, which opens up space for Giannis Antetokounmpo to attack inside. If their current pace continues, the Bucks will be a top-3 team in the Eastern Conference. That isn’t far-fetched.

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CK Podcast 353: Discussing Buddy Hield in depth and the best rookies thus far

Buddy Hield played 41 minutes for the first time in his NBA career and we discussed it with John from 10th Year Seniors. You don’t want to miss this podcast!

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