Kings

Wade, Heat too much for Kings in 120-108 win

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Wade, Heat too much for Kings in 120-108 win

BOX SCORE
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat knew what was coming from Sacramento. Eventually, they handled the Kings' challenge.Dwyane Wade had 30 points and 10 assists, Mario Chalmers and Chris Bosh each scored 20 points and the NBA-leading Heat stretched their winning streak to seven games with a 120-108 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night."It was a good game for me, just trying to be aggressive and was able to get my teammates some shots," said Wade, who shot 11 for 16 and has tied his career-best with 11 straight games of shooting 50 percent or better, matching a run from his rookie season. "And I was also able to continue do what I've been doing the last couple games, just taking high-percentage shots and making them."

LeBron James scored 18 points, Norris Cole had 12 and Udonis Haslem added 10 for Miami (26-7), which has won each of its games during this streak by at least 12 points.Next up for Miami: The New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin come to town Thursday."It's going to be fun," James said. "It's going to be electrifying. ... It could be one of the most-watched games that we've had in a long time."Isaiah Thomas scored 20 of his 24 points in the third quarter for Sacramento, which dropped its sixth straight. Marcus Thornton scored 23, Tyreke Evans finished with 21 points and 10 assists, and Jason Thompson had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings.The Kings were without guard John Salmons, a late scratch with a sore right hip."You needed to play a perfect game to win this game against this team and we were pretty close to the perfect game," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "We had moments, but when you give up 25 points off turnovers, you're not going to beat many teams."Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he didn't expect Sacramento to come out and play like a team with one of the NBA's worst records, and he was right. Thompson had 10 points and six rebounds in the opening quarter and Evans' buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near midcourt gave Sacramento a 32-26 lead after 12 minutes.Maybe the biggest surprise of the first half was that it took Miami - a team that had led by 20 points at some time in each of its six previous outings, but never enjoyed better than an 18-point margin Tuesday - nearly a full hour after tipoff to get the highlight reels cranking."I don't think we came out flat," said Chalmers, who matched a career-best with six 3-pointers. "I just think they knew how to get out early on us."Late in the second quarter, James blocked a drive by Thomas, the Heat controlled the rebound, and took off running. James got the ball to Wade, who leaped, stayed airborne long enough to draw contact from Cousins and then made an acrobatic layup while falling to the floor. The three-point play put Miami ahead 49-47 and the Heat kept the lead - such as it was - the rest of the half.Another spectacular James-to-Wade connection helped.Wade forced Donte Greene into a miss, and Francisco Garcia grabbed the rebound and tried to lay the ball in, all in the same motion. James blocked Garcia's shot - the Kings wanted goaltending - and moments later threw a 70-foot chest pass to Wade for an alley-oop layup at the other end, part of a late mini-flurry that sent Miami into halftime leading 57-53."They played very well and they have some weapons, some young weapons on that team that you saw," Spoelstra said.The Heat kept the lead for the entirety of the third quarter, despite Thomas' best efforts.Thomas' 20 points came in a 10-minute span of that quarter, a 5-for-6 effort from 3-point range and 5-for-5 from the foul line, the last three there coming when he was fouled by Cole while trying about a 25-footer in the final seconds of the third and getting Sacramento to 93-88."I've always been a scorer my whole life," Thomas said. "I score in bunches but we didn't get the win. That's the most important thing."Early in the fourth, the Heat seemed to decide enough was enough.A 15-5 run, mostly from the Heat reserves, provided the long awaited breathing room. Cole had four points and an assist in the early stages, and after Mike Miller missed a 3-pointer, Haslem capped the flurry with a one-handed putback dunk that sent Wade running about 15 feet onto the court at the other end in celebration."We know teams are going to play better than they usually play against us and that's OK," James said. "If it takes four quarters, which we're capable of playing, we just continue to weather the storm and continue to do what we need to do."NOTES: Haslem (now with 4,549) passed Rony Seikaly (4,544) for second place on Miami's all-time rebounding list. At his current pace, Haslem would have a chance to catch Alonzo Mourning (4,807) by the end of the season. ... Thomas' third-quarter barrage was the biggest one-quarter scoring effort by a Kings player since Kevin Martin scored 24 in the fourth against New Orleans on Feb. 23, 2009. ... A number of fans chanted throughout the night that they wanted to see Jimmer Fredette in the game. Fredette did not play. ... Boxer Floyd Mayweather was in attendance, seated near the Kings' bench.

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.