Kings

Instant Replay: Kings end 2016-17 season with loss to Clippers

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USATSI

Instant Replay: Kings end 2016-17 season with loss to Clippers

BOX SCORE

With one team focus on developing their young core and the other looking ahead to the postseason, the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers locked up Wednesday night at the Staples Center for the season finale. The Clippers found their rhythm in the second half, pulling away from Sacramento for the 115-95 victory.

All five starters scored in double-figures for the Clippers, including a team-high tying 18 for J.J. Reddick. The sharpshooting guard knocked down 3-for-7 from long range and chipped in four assists as LA locked up the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

DeAndre Jordan shot 8-of-10 from the field to score 18 points and added 17 rebounds. Chris Paul went for 17 points and dished out nine assists. Blake Griffin barely missed the triple-double, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and Luc Mbah a Moute added 14 points.

Arron Afflalo came to play against his hometown Clippers. The veteran wing scored 18 points on 8-for-11 shooting and added six assists in the loss.

Willie Cauley-Stein finished the season on a strong note, stuffing the stat sheet with 19 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and a block.

Buddy Hield went for a career-high 30 points against the Suns on Tuesday and he backed that up with 16 points on 7-for-15 shooting against Los Angeles.

With both Darren Collison and Ty Lawson sitting, Langston Galloway picked up another start. Galloway finished with 14 points and six assists in 41 minutes of action. 

Ben McLemore chipped in 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting and Skal Labissiere added seven points and three rebounds as the Kings finished the season 32-50.

STANDOUT PERFORMER:
The Kings lost the game, but Cauley-Stein put up big numbers again for Sacramento. The second-year big plans on heading to Navy Seal training next month as he looks to add strength and endurance for next season.

TURNING POINT:
The Kings kept it close through the first half, but the Clippers experience won out after the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE:
Veterans Garrett Temple, Kosta Koufos, Ty Lawson and Tyreke Evans sat out for scheduled rest. Darren Collison missed his second straight game with a migraine headache. Rookie Malachi Richardson is officially out for the season with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles.

WHAT'S NEXT:
The Kings season is officially over.

 

Patience needed for young and inexperienced Kings

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AP

Patience needed for young and inexperienced Kings

The Sacramento Kings are attempting to do something rarely seen in the NBA. They’ve paired four first round selections from the 2016 NBA Draft with another five rookies for the 2017-18 season. They’ll open the season with nine players with one year of NBA experience or less and three others with two years in the league or fewer if you include two-way contracts.

Veterans Vince Carter (40), Zach Randolph (36), George Hill (31), Garrett Temple (31) and Kosta Koufos (28) push the average age of the Kings to 26.1. According to RealGM, they’ll enter the 2017-18 season tied for the 15th youngest roster in the league.

If you remove the veterans, the Kings youthful core averages less than 22 years of age. But age doesn’t tell the entire story.

Entering his third NBA season, Willie Cauley-Stein has seen action in 141 of a possible 164 games. On the current roster, he might as well get lumped in with the veterans.

Buddy Hield donned a Kings uniform for 25 games last season after coming over in a midseason trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. He played 82 games in total between the two clubs, which is five more combined contests than his fellow 2016 draft mates Skal Labissiere (33 games), Georgios Papagiannis (22 games) and Malachi Richardson (22 games) played in.

Sacramento selected three first rounders in the 2017 NBA Draft, including De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles. They also landed point guard Frank Mason III with an early second round pick and convinced 25-year-old former first rounder Bogdan Bogdanovic to leave the European game behind and join the club.

Without bringing two-way players Jack Cooley (16 games) and JaKarr Sampson (147 games) into the discussion, the Kings have a major experience issue. They’ll walk into the season with 10 players having a combined 300 games of NBA experience and 223 of those games were played by Cauley-Stein and Hield.  

Sacramento’s veteran group has appeared in 3718 regular season contests. Dave Joerger will have no choice but to turn to the group for plenty of minutes as the Kings’ young players learn on the fly.

Patience is necessary. Vlade Divac and his team have assembled a lot of talent, but they will need time to develop. Joerger has a strong staff in place, including Elston Turner, Bryan Gates, Duane Ticknor, Bob Thornton, Jason March and Larry Lewis. Phil Ricci was also added to the staff as a player development coach this season with the influx of young players.

Even with an expanded staff, there is no way Joerger can fit all 10 of his youngsters into the rotation. They’ll need playing time to develop and there is a good chance that some of these freshman and sophomore players will spend time with Darrick Martin and the Reno Bighorns.  

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.