Kings

Kings reward fans with 103-96 win over Jazz

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Kings reward fans with 103-96 win over Jazz

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SACRAMENTO (AP) -- DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 18 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings celebrated a possible new arena deal with a 103-96 victory over the struggling Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.The city, the Kings and the NBA announced a tentative deal Monday to finance a new arena that would be built by 2015 and keep the team in Sacramento for many years. The City Council will vote on the plan March 6.Marcus Thornton scored 21 points and made five of six free throws in the final 16 seconds to help the Kings secure the win.Rookie guard Isaiah Thomas had 18 points and eight assists for the Kings, who have won two straight. Tyreke Evans scored 13 and Jason Thompson had 10 points and eight rebounds.Thomas, the last player chosen in the 2011 draft, started his fifth straight game at point guard. He has scored 96 points in those five games to tie a franchise mark, matching Otis Birdsong's total in 1977.Perhaps getting the loudest ovation were Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloff, who addressed the crowd regarding the decision one day earlier to keep the club in Sacramento.The Kings almost moved to Anaheim a year ago before Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and city leaders convinced the NBA to give Sacramento one last chance to help finance an arena. The team has been trying to get an arena deal for 13 years, according to Gavin Maloof.Devin Harris scored 18 and had seven assists for slumping Utah, which dropped its fourth straight and 11th in 14 February games. Josh Howard had 15 points, CJ Miles 13 and Al Jefferson added 12 and eight rebounds.A basket from close range by Howard brought the Jazz to 98-96 with 1:08 remaining. After Gordon Hayward missed a 3-pointer from the corner, Thornton was fouled and made both attempts for a 100-96 Kings lead with 16.1 seconds left.Thomas tied the game at 87 with two free throws. John Salmons put the Kings ahead for good with a layup and Cousins scored four points, concluding an 8-0 run that gave Sacramento a 93-87 lead with 4:35 left.Thornton scored the final five points of the third quarter, including a three-point play with less than a second left that gave the Kings a 74-71 lead. Thornton scored nine points in the third when Sacramento outscored Utah 30-24.It was Cousins helping to keep the Kings close in the third quarter. He scored eight points and had five rebounds, but picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench at the 4:21 mark with the game tied 62-all.Harris scored nine points and Howard had eight in the opening half for Utah, which held a 47-44 lead. Cousins had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who shot 36 percent and committed nine turnovers.NOTES: Utah coach Tyrone Corbin spent most of the 1995-96 season playing for the Kings and said he was very happy to see the franchise remain in Sacramento. . After several turnovers, frustrated BYU rookie Jimmer Fredette was coming out of the game midway through the second quarter. However, before another dead ball situation could occur, Fredette hit a long 3-pointer and made a pinpoint pass to Chuck Hayes for a layup. Following a Kings timeout, Thomas went back to the bench and Fredette remained in the game. He finished with five points and two assists in 8 second-quarter minutes. .Utah second-year forward Jeremy Evans, the NBA slam dunk champion, didn't play. . The Jazz are 3-12 on the road.

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.