Kings

Kings return home looking for fresh start vs. Pacers

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Kings return home looking for fresh start vs. Pacers

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INDIANA (9-3) vs.
KINGS (4-10)7: 00 p.m.
Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel is pleased with his team's defense, but the offense still needs some work.Sacramento Kings coach Keith Smart can relate to those concerns.The Pacers go for a season-high fourth consecutive victory Wednesday night at Sacramento in their only meeting with the Kings in 2011-12.Indiana (9-3) is among the league leaders in scoring defense with 88.9 points per game, field-goal percentage defense at 41.5, steals per game at 9.6 and blocks with 5.7. The stingy play at the defensive end has given Indiana a chance to match its best start since 2004-05 with a win Wednesday.

The Pacers, though, are shooting 41.3 percent and averaging 93.2 points - 96.0 during their winning streak - as the team has struggled to adapt to the increased tempo Vogel is stressing."The total points per game is as much a byproduct of the pace of the game and we're not playing fast enough," he told the Pacers' official website. "Hopefully we'll start getting our scores up into the hundreds but our defense has been very solid. I'm very pleased where we are with that."Coming off a three-day break after a 97-83 victory over Boston on Saturday - the team's longest layoff of the season other than the All-Star break next month - Indiana will play 10 of 14 on the road as it begins a three-game trip.Forward Danny Granger doesn't seem too concerned about where the Pacers play."I think the message is that we're a force to be reckoned with in the East," he said after scoring a team-best 21 points against the Celtics. "It's not one of those fluke things where we just started having a good beginning of the season. We're actually a legitimate contender in the East. We're right there, and we should be recognized as that."Granger scored a season-high 37 in the Pacers' last game in Sacramento, a 107-98 victory Nov. 30, 2010. Among active players with 10 games against the Kings, Granger averages the fifth-most points per game, 23.5.
The Kings (4-10) return home following a 1-4 trip that ended with a 99-86 defeat to Minnesota on Monday.Sacramento, loser of five of six, is scoring 90.1 points per game - 88.3 in seven games since Smart replaced the fired Paul Westphal - and shooting a league-worst 39.6 percent."I've got the simplest offense you can run," said Smart, 2-5 as Kings coach. "You just move it to a spot and move it to the next spot. But for whatever reason we're trying to make the play ourselves with the defense set, looking at the basketball."Guard Tyreke Evans, though, is one Sacramento player having trouble in that offense. He has totaled 12 points and gone 4 of 19 from the field in the last two games."We've got to find a better way to swing the ball a few times and take better shots," Evans said.Indiana has held opponents to 84.0 points and 40.2 percent shooting during its 5-1 stretch.Evans had 16 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the Pacers' last visit. In his first game back after missing 19 with plantar fasciitis, he finished with six points with eight boards in a 110-93 victory at Indiana on March 25.DeMarcus Cousins scored 19.0 points per game with 11.0 rebounds versus the Pacers in 2010-11, while Indiana center Roy Hibbert totaled 27 points and 13 boards in those matchups.The last five games between these teams in Sacramento have been decided by nine or fewer points, with Indiana winning three.The Associated Press contributed to this report

Kings finally get to unleash highly skilled weapon Bogdan Bogdanovic on NBA stage

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AP

Kings finally get to unleash highly skilled weapon Bogdan Bogdanovic on NBA stage

The legend of Bogdan Bogdanovic grows. After another deep run against European competition, the 25-year-old shooting guard is headed for the NBA with plenty of fanfare.

Bogdanovic and his Serbian teammates fell short of the ultimate goal of winning EuroBasket 2017. Goran Dragic and Team Slovenia took home the gold, pulling away from Serbia for the 93-85 victory in the finals on Sunday.

Dragic scored a game-high 35 points in 28 minutes of action, giving Bogdanovic a taste of what the competition will look like on a nightly basis in the NBA. Bogdanovic led Serbia with 22 points on 9-of-21 shooting, but he struggled from long range, knocking down 2-of-11 from behind the international 3-point line.

The Kings acquired Bogdanovic from the Phoenix Suns, along with the rights to Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere for Marquese Chriss on Draft night 2016. Phoenix had failed multiple times in their attempts to bring the sharpshooter over from his Turkish league team after taking him with the 27th overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Vlade Divac couldn’t get Bogdanovic to come over for last season, but he found traction early this summer and added the talented wing as part of his July shopping spree.

After dominating league action overseas, Bogdanovic became the highest paid rookie in NBA history, signing a three-year, $27 million deal with Sacramento. He’ll make close to $9.5 million in his first season in the league, more than double what fifth overall pick, De’Aaron Fox, is scheduled to make.   

Bogdanovic walks into a crowded situation in Sacramento. He’ll compete for minutes with Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson at the shooting guard position. Both Hield and Temple worked under coach Dave Joerger for parts of last season, but the Kings front office is very high on their European import.

Listed at 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, Bogdanovic has great size for the two and he might even be able to shift to the small forward spot for short stints. He is not the defender that Temple is and Hield might have an edge on him as a volume scorer, but Bogdanovic has an advantage over both players in versatility.

He’s a highly skilled offensive weapon that should make an immediate impact on the floor. He spent plenty of time manning the point guard position for Serbia and can even act as the primary ball handler. Bogdanovic is blessed with an extremely high basketball IQ and he’s shown advanced playmaking skills, both with Fenerbahce and the Serbian national team.

Bogdanovic can light it up from distance, having knocked down 43 percent of 3-pointers this season for Fenerbahce, but he’s not just a catch and shoot player. He hit 50 percent from the field overall using a variety of moves to create space. He has a killer crossover and step back jumper, a nice floater in the lane and he is fearless going to the rack.

Where he has the biggest advantage over his competition is in the pick-and-roll. Bogdanovic uses hesitation dribbles and crafty maneuvering to create looks for both himself and his bigs moving to the hoop. He also has nice court vision and is an unselfish distributor.

If Bogdanovic’s European game translates to the NBA, Sacramento has a rotational player and possibly much more. He’ll likely struggle on the defensive end initially, like most rookies coming into the league, but he plays with effort and has solid instincts.

Joerger has a lot to work out during training camp and the early season. He has multiple bodies at every position and the competition for minutes is going to be intense. While it’s early to make predictions, it appears that Bogdanovic will have a substantial role as the Kings enter year one of their rebuild.

Kings miss potential competitive advantage while going floor crazy

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Twitter/@SacramentoKings

Kings miss potential competitive advantage while going floor crazy

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!