DISCLAIMER: This preview is brought to you in part by with our friends, The Kings Herald (For those not in the know, they were squeezed out of their previous SBNation home). Will Griffith provides excellent content for the Sacramento Kings, hosts a podcast with former Kings head coach/GM/Broadcaster Jerry Reynolds, and is my best friend who constantly motivates me in life. I assure you, he will be one of the best follows for you on social media (@WillofThaPeople)! Will is going to toss me an assist by helping with the coverage of these trio of April Kings-Timberwolves games. He’ll provide insight from Sacramento’s perspective with game 1 being our collective pessimistic angles at our franchises, game 2 as optimistic tilts, and game 3 as our most realistic expectations moving forward. Enjoy!
Kings Outlook by Will Griffith:
This might go over the head of any who hasn’t been glued to HBO over the last decade or so, but I’m going to attempt the long-winded metaphor regardless. In their three season show The Leftovers, two percent of the population disappears one day and the next three seasons deal with the grief, depression and gamut of other emotions that come with trying to cope with the unknowable. It’s a heavy show, suffers from a slow, very depressing first season but it’s a fantastic study of humanity and the lengths we’ll go to as individuals and collectives to move past tragedy. In the show, there’s a cult of people who give up their life and belongings, swear to never talk again, constantly smoke cigarettes and stalk those whose loved ones departed. They don’t act upon these people, only stand there, hoping their mere presence will provoke an emotional response.
Eventually the main characters have to deal with this group in various ways and in a moment in the show, one of these Guilty Remnant cult members reveals why they smoke, why the do all the annoying shit that they do.
“We smoke to remember.”
“Remember that the world already ended.”
The rest of the world tries to move past this mysterious disappearance and this cult forces everyone to confront that this shit actually happened and no one knows why.
Tonight’s supposed to be a realistic view of the Kings future and while Sacramento didn’t lose 2% of their population in a blink of an eye… They did lose their championship window.
June 21st, 2018, the Sacramento Kings passed on the favorite for the second pick, Luka Doncic, picking Marvin Bagley III and unknowingly destroying the best hope they would ever have for winning a championship in Sacramento.
It’s been three years, two head coaches, two more general managers and zero playoff appearances and most in the fan base are trying to move on. Hell, I am too. The future is “bright” because of De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton and a high pedigree GM in Monte McNair. A good deal of national guys will get lazy and call Fox and Hali, a new young Dame and CJ. Fox has broken out as a scorer this season and is the only player in the second half of the season to average 29 and 6 assists, and many quote that thinking the future is right there for the Kings, trying to move past the fact that if the GM had done what 85% of fans wanted the Kings wouldn’t have Dame and CJ, they’d have a young Lebron and Wade.
Am I overstating it? Sure, maybe. I remember seeing Wade streak down the court with LeBron tossing oops full-court to the man and wonder, still, every game that gets played just what would stop Luka and Fox from replicating. Most of the issues with the Kings franchise are solved with the reversal of that decision. Jersey sales bolstering an empty coffer. A true superstar putting Sacramento back on national TV more than their pitiable once a season. We are happy Fox is breaking out, very happy Hali is panning out to be a steal at #12. We’ll also absolutely never have an opportunity for a true superstar in a Kings jersey for another decade or so. Make the playoffs? Sure, Fox and Hali have 6th seed ceilings in their primes. A championship window? Ehh. Maybe someday with the right amount of maneuvering from a crafty GM. With this ownership, with this current stretch of playoff-less basketball, they will never fully tank. They’ll never drop low enough to find a true, true star in this league. They might get lucky and jump to a decent pick. But, they won’t ever find another Luka.
Everything involving the Kings, their record, their financial woes, still surrounds that decision. Every retweeted game winner he hits is just a man in a white tunic, smoking Marlboros outside our collective house. Every All-Star Game a reminder of who was lost for no real tangible reason. Sacramento is trying to find love with new rookies, trying to hope for a brighter future with what we have now instead of what we saw evaporate before our eyes. And yet, every goddamn night we see more Luka Magic and we’re forced to remember. Remember what? That the world already ended.
Game recap by Will Griffith:
This game is same as it ever was. Terrible defense giving way to decent offense. The Kings holding a 10 point halftime lead means absolutely nothing when they couldn’t stop a stubbed toe with Jello furniture and steel toed-boots. Naz Reid was a ton of fun in the first half. Anthony Edwards has done nothing in these two games to make me nervous about his future. He’s young and takes bad shots sometimes but he CERTAINLY isn’t destined for Dion Waiters’s career.
The second half was more of the same. Juancho’s prayer at the end of third being answered was fun. The Kings tossing threes to close the gap then take the lead with 4 minutes to play was fun. Buddy using a broken play to drop a three to take the lead with 8 seconds left was fun. But I still can’t find myself to muster much of anything in the way of enthusiasm when I know that barring a lottery miracle, the Kings are gonna be in this exact same position (give or take 5 games) this time next year. Should Rese have been called out of bounds in the scramble before Buddy’s dagger? Maybe. Was KAT pushed on that final shot? Probably. Will this win mean anything for us long term. Not a damn chance.
96.8%— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) April 22, 2021
MIN's win probability with 6:12 left, up 11 & w/ poss.
SAC over final 6:00...
Love Canis Hoopus and all that you have to put up with this team. Thanks for enduring a bit extra from a guy whose bad team just barely beat yours. See you all in the playoffs someday.
- Here were legitimately the majority of my game notes:
- I honestly can’t say enough positive things about Naz Reid tonight. He was clearly the best player on the floor and was doing absolutely everything. Sure, he was on the court for most of the epic collapse, but it was pretty wild to take out your best guy to finish the game. He finished with 24 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 three pointers, on 73% shooting.
- Finch rolled out a lineup consisting of Reid, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Juancho Hernangomez which resulted in the highest +/-’s of the game and you could tell just by watching. Vando was the consistent irritant on defense and the boards and Juancho had an efficient 16 points. The Kings had no answer for them. Despite that sound coaching move, he too had a strong hand in the late game debacle.
V8 revving the engine ⛽️⛽️⛽️⛽️ pic.twitter.com/f2K0AmP6J8— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 22, 2021
- Anthony Edwards had a rather forgettable game. He started hot early and had a few moments on offense, as he usually does, but his defensive lapses were absolutely killer. Ant was benched to finish the final few minutes of the game because of how wide open he consistently left the Kings backcourt. He truly needs to shore up his effort/awareness on that end of the court sooner than later.
- Overall, I’d say D’Angelo Russell had a positive impact on the game. He was unselfish with the ball with 9 dimes and just 2 turnovers while also hitting a big 3 that could’ve nearly put the game away. Looks like this 6th man thing may really stick. Meanwhile Ricky Rubio had a mediocre stat line by his measure (11/4/6), but also had his classic forehead-smacking “Ricky...” moments. The biggest was perhaps switching, whether he was instructed to or not, off of Buddy Hield who hit the dagger.
LET THEM KNOW, DLO pic.twitter.com/snmJABhtCY— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 22, 2021
- Shoutout Josh Okogie who has continued to play some inspired ball lately. He nearly pushed the Wolves to the finish line by ripping the ball away from Harrison Barnes for a layup, then following that up by generating an extra possession out of thin air by crashing the offensive boards. That resulted in D’Lo’s late three pointer.
THE NIGERIAN CLAMPGAWD pic.twitter.com/JzfIV8ipxE— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) April 22, 2021
- The 2 worst +/-’s of the game? Would you believe it if I said Karl-Anthony Towns and Jaden McDaniels were both -21? Yeah, I certainly didn’t expect that. KAT still should’ve had an obvious foul call in his favor on his final shot attempt to win the game, but alas the zebras fell silent.
KAT not able to get it to go pic.twitter.com/jimCknpc7f— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) April 22, 2021
- Speaking of officiating, it was fairly clear that Tyrese Haliburton not only traveled before getting a hockey assist to Buddy’s game-winning 3, but he also stepped out of bounds. But of course, it’s the Timberwolves. Other than that, he had a pretty good game: 16/3/6 on 66% shooting.
2 days off until the Wolves arrive in Utah on Saturday, April 24th to take on the Jazz at 8pm CT. Oh boy.