Kings

Tyreke's late foul costs Kings in Cleveland

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Tyreke's late foul costs Kings in Cleveland

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CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving was calm and confident when he stepped to the foul line with 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock Sunday night."I imagined myself back in my backyard," he said. "I felt like it was a routine situation for me. There was a little bit of pressure, but I was prepared for it."Irving, looking like a seasoned pro instead of a 19-year-old rookie, hit two clutch free throws to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 93-92 win over Sacramento that extended the Kings' losing streak to five games.The Cavaliers bounced back from Friday night's embarrassing 111-87 home loss to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, after which Cleveland coach Byron Scott questioned his team's toughness. While the Cavaliers failed to hold a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, they showed some much-needed grit down the stretch in a game that was tied 17 times and featured 19 lead changes."We got a little lucky tonight," Scott said. "That's all I can say."Irving, the No. 1 pick in the draft, won an unexpected duel with Kings rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas, the last pick in the draft. Thomas, making his second NBA start, scored a career-high 23 points and had 11 assists for the Kings."He was the No. 1 pick, I was the last pick," Thomas said. "Why not use that for extra motivation? He's a great player, so it was a lot of fun."Irving's foul shots came after DeMarcus Cousins' basket with 2.9 seconds left gave the Kings a 92-91 lead.Cleveland called timeout to get the ball at midcourt. Irving inbounded to Antawn Jamison, who gave the ball back to the point guard. Irving drove into the lane, where he was fouled by Tyreke Evans."Three seconds is a long length of time," Irving said. "I was going to shoot a jump shot or get to the basket. Luckily, Tyreke fouled me and I got to the free throw line."Irving was surprised when Evans reached in."Even if they didn't call a foul, I saw the lane open up a little bit and I was going to go for a layup," Irving said. "He fouled me. It was a unique situation."It was yet another frustrating night for the Kings, who weren't so sure Irving was actually fouled."I can't answer that, my wife will be mad (if I get fined)," Sacramento coach Keith Smart said when asked about the play. "I just saw a good defensive play.""We were switching everywhere, so I didn't know who was going to guard who," Evans said.The Kings had one last chance. After a timeout moved the ball to halfcourt, Evans' alley-oop pass hit the rim and the game appeared to be over. However, the officials ruled the clock started too early and Sacramento had another opportunity. Evans inbounded to Cousins, but his fallaway shot from the right side caromed off the rim and came after time expired.Sacramento is 0-4 on its six-game road trip and the Kings play at Miami on Tuesday."It's unfortunate how it ended," Smart said. "Our guys deserved to win this game, but it wasn't in the cards for us tonight."Cleveland built an 80-70 lead early in the fourth period, but the Kings rallied to go ahead. The lead changed five times before Tristan Thompson's tip-in tied the game at 90-all with 35 seconds left.The Kings missed three shots on their ensuing possession and Alonzo Gee was fouled trying to grab the rebound. He missed the first shot, but made the second.After a timeout, Cousins took the inbounds pass from Thomas, drove the baseline around Jamison and scored on an underhand layup.Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and Cousins had 19 for the Kings. Jamison scored 21 points for Cleveland.The Cavaliers are 3-3 on their nine-game homestand, the longest in franchise history.The teams were involved in an offseason trade that sent small forward Omri Casspi to Cleveland while power forward J.J. Hickson joined the Kings. Casspi scored six points and had a career-high 12 rebounds while Hickson was scoreless and had four rebounds off the bench. The Cavaliers also received a lottery-protected first-round draft pick.NOTES: The Kings, who are 3-16 on the road, play in Miami on Tuesday and in Washington on Wednesday. ... Smart went 9-31 as interim coach of the Cavaliers in 2002-2003, replacing John Lucas at midseason. ... Cavaliers G Daniel Gibson missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle. Scott said Gibson might return Tuesday against Detroit. ... Cleveland G Anthony Parker sat out his 10th consecutive game because of back spasms.

Kings hire VP of professional development

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AP

Kings hire VP of professional development

It’s been a summer of change for the Sacramento Kings. A roster upheaval has 10 new players vying for minutes once training camp opens on Tuesday. The coaching staff has been bolstered and fresh blood was added to the front office in the form of analytics guru Luke Bornn and assistant general manager Brandon Williams. On Thursday, one more piece to the puzzle was brought in to help develop the team’s young core.

With the hiring of Galen Duncan as the franchise’s new Vice President of the Kings Academy and Professional Development, Sacramento is making a major investment in the future of their team.

According to the team’s official press release, “Duncan is responsible for implementation of the Kings Academy program, a developmental, player-centric curriculum aligning multi-faceted organizational philosophies and ideals to help athletes mature into well-rounded professionals. Under Duncan’s oversight, Kings Academy will augment on-court progress with access to practical material and experiences that help balance on-court priorities and personal responsibilities with opportunities to become impactful contributors in the community.”

After 10 years with the Detroit Lions, Duncan is making the jump to the NBA game. He’s already had a taste of the league, working with the league office as part of the NBA Rookie Transition Program.

With five rookies and another four sophomores on the roster, the Kings are investing in a seasoned mentor and life coach. Armed with a Ph.D. in health psychology from Walden University, Duncan will aid the players in everything from finding an apartment to dealing with the stress of life as a 19-year-old millionaire with no experience paying a bill.

“My passion has always been sports,” Duncan told NBC Sports California. “Sports has done wonderful things for me. I don’t care what level they’re at or how much money they make, I think there is something to learn and I have something to teach.”

With the Lions, he brought incoming rookie classes through everything from etiquette courses to teaching them how to tie ties. His goal is to transform a group of young men into professionals, who just happen to be professional athletes.

It’s not just about making a polished product for the media and general public. Duncan will work with players on a variety of personal issues, including money management, dealing with family and professional on-court performance.

“Unfortunately, sometimes family can be your worst enemy,” Duncan said. “But if structured correctly and if nurtured, I think the education goes beyond just the player. I think you have to educate the family as well about what they’re doing.”

The transition to the NBA game will be interesting for Duncan. He comes from a game where the incoming rookie class can be anywhere from 10-15 players. He hasn’t dealt with 19-year-olds at the NFL level and guaranteed contracts are new as well, but the job is very similar.

Sacramento has always had a support staff to help with the transition to the NBA game, but the addition of Duncan is a new level of commitment by the team. They have a huge group of young players and they are making an investment into their futures and the future of the franchise. It’s a clear step in the right direction.

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.