Sacramento Kings

Kings Mailbag: NBA playoff hopes, Dewayne Dedmon and Marvin Bagley III’s assist rate

The Sacramento Kings entertained fans before player introductions before the NBA season opener between the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz at the Golden 1 Center on October 17, 2018.
The Sacramento Kings entertained fans before player introductions before the NBA season opener between the Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz at the Golden 1 Center on October 17, 2018. Sacramento Bee file

The Kings will hold their annual media day Friday, with training camp set to begin Saturday at Golden 1 Center, so let’s dip into the mailbag for a quick round of questions.

Kangz @discgman asks: What are the expectations of the team this year? Deep in the playoffs? Who will play center?

The Kings are expected to vie for one of eight playoff spots in a loaded Western Conference field. Most analysts seem to think they will be good, but not good enough to end the NBA’s longest postseason drought after 13 consecutive losing seasons.

Sacramento won 39 games last season. The Kings were the last team eliminated from playoff contention, but they finished nine games back of the eighth-place Los Angeles Clippers.

The Kings have added experience, talent and depth. A deep playoff run seems unlikely at this point, but a postseason appearance is not out of the question. They will likely finish somewhere between No. 7 and No. 10 in the Western Conference. Anything more would mean something special is happening in Sacramento. Anything less would be a huge disappointment.

As for the center position, the Kings signed Dewayne Dedmon to replace Willie Cauley-Stein. Dedmon, a versatile stretch-five who could be a perfect fit for Sacramento’s system, is the likely starter. He will be backed up by Harry Giles III, who might eventually push Dedmon for the starting job, and Richaun Holmes, an energy guy who will give the Kings a nice spark off the bench.

Sacramento Bee Sports Boss Jim Patrick @mesofunblog asks: What game in the first month or so of the season will be the most telling?

Jim is great because he’s smart and funny and talented with a cool hairdo and great beer recommendations, but also because he asks good questions. (Editor’s note: This is what Jason actually wrote.)

The Kings will face several leading Western Conference playoff contenders over the first few weeks of the season. They play the Portland Trail Blazers on Oct. 25, the Utah Jazz on Oct. 26, the Denver Nuggets on Oct. 28, the Jazz again on Nov. 1 and the Blazers again on Nov. 12, but let’s circle their Nov. 15 road game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

This is the 11th game of the season, so it gives players a chance to acclimate with each other and new Kings coach Luke Walton time to tinker with his rotation before facing his former team. The Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, are expected to be a playoff team, possibly a championship contender.

It would be a good sign if the Kings can score an early road win over their fiercest instate rival. They went 1-11 against the Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers last season. A playoff berth seems unlikely if the Kings can’t improve on that record.

Joe Cook @GiantsKings9ers asks: Of players playing more than 10 games and averaging 25 or more minutes per game, @MB3FIVE had the worst assist to turnover ratio in the league (0.63) and assist rate of only 6%. Is that stat a concern moving into his 2nd season?

That’s a fair question. Marvin Bagley III demonstrated tremendous potential and some tantalizing skills as a rookie last season, allaying some of the concerns about the team’s decision to draft him over Luka Doncic, but nobody’s perfect. The ball tended to stick in Bagley’s hands and at times it looked like he was forcing it offensively, perhaps because he was not satisfied with his role as a backup.

That’s a good thing. The Kings didn’t draft Bagley with the No. 2 pick to bring him off the bench. They want him to become an All-Star. If he forced up a few shots while trying to prove something in his first season, so be it, but now the Kings need him to become a more willing passer with the vision to spot open shooters and cutters. There will be plenty of opportunities for everyone in this offense.

Dvdkrtsky @_Eolas asks: What year will @MB3FIVE win MVP?

Ask8ball.net says: Ask again later.

Sacramento Kings preseason schedule

Oct. 4 vs. Indiana Pacers, 6:30 a.m. (India)

Oct. 5 vs. Indiana Pacers, 6:30 a.m. (India)

Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix Suns, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 at Utah Jazz, 6 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. Melbourne United, 7 p.m.

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