The Sacramento Kings opened their 2017 Las Vegas Summer League schedule Friday night against the Phoenix Suns. It was a wild up and down game, with plenty of high-end talent on both sides of the ball. Here are five takeaways from the Kings 89-85 loss to the Suns.
-- De’Aaron Fox is fast. It was understood when the Kings drafted Fox with the fifth overall selection that he was one of, if not the quickest player in the 2017 NBA Draft. The 19-year-old point guard swiped a steal early in the game and took it coast-to-coast. He took the Suns off the dribble and was so fast around the corner he lost a shoe. The rookie point guard showed flashes of brilliance, finishing the night with 18 points, four assists and five steals in 27 minutes of action. He hit jumpers and even played off the ball alongside fellow rookie Frank Mason.
-- Justin Jackson is as advertised. Smooth on the offensive end, the rookie out of North Carolina looks ready to compete for minutes in training camp. He’ll need to get stronger on the defensive end, but the 22-year-old wing scored 18 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including a pair of triples in his debut. He hit jumpers off screens and used a head and shoulder fake to get in the paint where he finished with some fancy floaters.
-- Buddy Hield doesn’t belong in Summer League. The second-year guard struggled with his shot in his 18 minutes of action, scoring 16 points on 6-for-16 shooting. It was nice of him to show up to play with his new teammates, but Hield is an NBA regular, not a player who needs to prove something in Vegas. Don’t be shocked if he watches from the sidelines later in the tournament.
-- Georgios Papagiannis looks like a different player. The giant out of Greece turned 20 earlier in the week and he’s shed major pounds since the season ended in mid-April. He didn’t have a big night statistically, unless you’re counting personal and technical fouls, but he dominated the glass for stretches and the Kings are cautiously optimistic about the 7-foot-1 center.
-- Malachi Richardson’s transition to the three is going to take time. With the additions of Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic, Richardson needs to steal minutes at the small forward position if he wants to get on the floor. He held his own against rookie Josh Jackson, but he looked uncomfortable for stretches. The second-year wing needs to do more than just score if he hopes fend off Justin Jackson, who looked very nice in his debut.
Somebody has to warn me when sentences like this appear at random. From a tweet by Paul Lukas of UniWatch:
“International outreach: (Sacramento) Kings' new black alternate court includes graphics in Hindi and Mandarin, depending on team's promotional campaign.”
Now when did that become up for grabs?
Not the Hindi or Mandarin legends below the Kings’ logo, which were announced by the team on NBA.com Thursday. I think every nation that wishes to should feel a part of the Dave Joerger Experience – Mongolia, Kazakhstan, South Sudan, Placerville, you name it.
But what I didn’t know is that there is now a desperate marketing need for alternate floors.
I mean, you don’t get much more fundamental and frill-free than the ground. You can paint it, you can decal it, you can varnish it, you can stain it, you can scuff it, and it still stays pretty floor-y.
And it robs the Kings of a potential competitive advantage that they could desperately use.
The Boston Celtics made great use of their old parquet floor at the now spectral Bostonb Garden. There were hot spots and dead spots, seams and gaps that only the Celtics players knew, and they all used them to their benefit throughout the golden age of Celtic basketball.
And now that the Celtics are celebrating the Garden’s 20th year of rubblehood, they probably miss that old floor a bit. Even though they pretty much sold off most of the bits for great scads of cash and used others to be included in the current floor.
But the Kings need two. No, wait. They need three. Hmmm.
Now the Kings also have four different uniforms to go with their floors, meaning that every game prep will include a few minutes to figure what socks go with what grain of wood. This seems like an unproductive use of everybody’s time.
As for the languages on the floor . . . well, if I was from Bulgaria, I’d be pretty damned cheesed off right now that I can’t see my team’s name on one of my floors.
So I will do it for you. Go You царства на сакрамента!
Free Z-Bo. According to TMZ.com, Sacramento Kings big man, Zach Randolph, pled no contest to a misdemeanor resisting arrest charge stemming from an arrest during a block party in the Nickerson Garden area of LA on Aug. 9. The 16-year NBA veteran originally faced two felony counts, including marijuana possession with the intent to sell.
Randolph walked out of a courtroom on Aug. 31 with reduced charges, but still faced a pair of misdemeanor counts, including one for drug possession. According TMZ, potential drug charges were dropped in exchange for the no contest plea on Wednesday.
Per the plea agreement, Randolph was sentenced to 150 hours of community service and he must stay out of trouble for the next year. If he holds up his end of the bargain, the resisting arrest conviction will be voided from his permanent record.
Randolph, 36, signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the Kings over the summer after spending the previous eight seasons in Memphis. There is no word yet as to whether the NBA will chime in with a fine or suspension.