The rookie big man and the veteran guard were positioned in front of their stations in the Kings’ locker room late Thursday night deep inside Golden 1 Center, each offering their perspectives on a 132-93 preseason loss to the Utah Jazz.
Nineteen-year-old Marvin Bagley III, the second overall pick in June’s NBA draft, stood in front of his locker, saying the game was “a tough one” and his team has “a lot to learn” after drawing boos from the home crowd. Iman Shumpert, 28, sat with ice packs wrapped around both legs after making his Kings debut, describing the loss as just “one of those games.”
“I’ve been on a championship team that got blown out by 30 during the regular season,” Shumpert said. “ ... This is one of those games where we let our offense affect our defense and you can’t do that in the NBA, but you’re going to have games where you can’t buy a bucket and you’re going to get blown out.”
Bagley nearly posted his second double-double of the preseason, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Shumpert played for the first time in almost a year, but little else went right for the Kings. Utah shot 60 percent from the field and made 14 of 30 from 3-point range while holding the Kings to 34.4 percent shooting overall and 3 of 18 beyond the arc.
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“I’m just trying to find different ways to help my team, whether it’s rebounding, blocking shots, scoring, making a great pass, whatever it may be,” Bagley said. “I’m just trying to make sure I make the right basketball play and try to help the team in any way.”
Shumpert was acquired last season at the trade deadline in the deal that sent George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he never suited up for the Kings after developing plantar fasciitis while recovering from knee surgery. He missed the first four preseason games with a sore calf.
“It feels so good to play basketball,” Shumpert said. “It was good for me to finally get out there.”
Kings coach Dave Joerger said his team was pushed around from the opening tip.
“It was a tough night for us,” he said. “We didn’t come out and play with force again. Against teams that are in the West, you have to come to play right from the jump. Physically, we’re at a deficit. We’re smaller, shorter and not as strong.”
The Kings missed 12 of their first 13 shots and 23 of 27 in the first quarter. The first smattering of boos came when they fell behind 32-7. A louder chorus followed when the Jazz went up 62-29 late in the first half.
“I just want these guys to understand the bigger picture and what we have going on,” Shumpert said. “It was actually good that the crowd started booing today. Of course they want to see good basketball, but we’ve just got to make sure that we’re bringing effort. The effort will keep the boos away.”