Instant Replay: Kings ride Lawson, Hield past Suns in home finale

Instant Replay: Kings ride Lawson, Hield past Suns in home finale


SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings finished their 2016-17 home schedule in style Tuesday night against the Phoenix Suns at Golden 1 Center. With both teams on the outside looking in of the postseason picture, the Kings found a way to pick up their 32nd win of the season with the 129-104 victory.

Auditioning for all 30 teams after the season, free agent-to-be Ty Lawson ran circles around the Suns guards. Lawson, 29, notched his first triple-double of his career, finishing with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in the win.

Buddy Hield looked like a man on a mission. The first-year guard dropped in 12-for-20 from the field on his way to a new career-high in points with 30.

Skal Labissiere didn’t have another 32-point game against Phoenix, but he found a way to play his way into the action, scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds in the blowout.

Fellow rookie Georgios Papagiannis added 13 points, seven rebounds and picked up his first technical foul of his young career.

Willie Cauley-Stein put up 13 points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Ben McLemore chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds and Anthony Tolliver went for 12 points and seven rebounds.

With starting guards Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker shutting it down, rookies Tyler Ulis and Derrick Jones Jr. got the nod in the backcourt. Ulis used his speed to score 27 points and hand out six assists. Jones Jr. added 10 points and four rebounds in the loss.

Sacramento native Marquese Chriss managed 22 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. T.J. Warren scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Allen Williams worked the paint for 14 points and 11 rebounds as the Suns finished 24-58 on the season.

Papagiannis clearly doesn’t care for fellow rookie Dragan Bender. The rookie bigs almost went to blows in the first half, resulting in a double tech. Rarely does a player get the standout performer call for picking up a technical foul, but it was good to see Papagiannis show some fire.

Phoenix laid down before the game even started when they decided to sit Booker. The Kings led by 19 at the half and finished the game off early in the third quarter.

Veterans Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos and Tyreke Evans sat out for scheduled rest. Darren Collison missed the 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.

The Kings finish the season Wednesday night with a battle against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.


Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

With the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Kings selected the 2016-17 Player of the Year in point gaurd Frank Mason III.

Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game as a senior at Kansas. 

The Kings wrapped up the 2017 NBA Draft with point guard De'Aaron Fox at No. 5, small forward Justin Jackson at No. 15, power forward Harry Giles at No. 20 and Mason at No. 34.