Colby Jones could add to Sacramento’s injury-riddled rotation

Apr 8, 2024, 1:22 PM | Updated: 1:33 pm

Colby Jones #20 of the Sacramento King dribbles the ball up court in the fourth quarter against the...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 31: Colby Jones #20 of the Sacramento King dribbles the ball up court in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Golden 1 Center on March 31, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Since being drafted by the Sacramento Kings 34th overall in last year’s 2023 NBA Draft, Colby Jones has logged most of his minutes with Lindsey Harding and Stockton in the G-League. However, he’s been called upon late in the regular season as injuries pile up to the Kings’ guard options.

Kevin Huerter (shoulder) is out for the remainder of the season. Depending on how extensive Sacramento’s run ends up being, Sixth Man of the Year Malik Monk (knee) may be able to return in the playoffs, but that’s certainly not guaranteed.

In the meantime, second-year player Keon Ellis has moved into the starting lineup and performed well. Ellis earned his minutes early into the season during what many people call ‘garbage time’ where the game is all but finalized, with a seemingly insurmountable lead held by one team.

For Sacramento head coach Mike Brown, ‘garbage time’ is not an appropriate term — he values any production shown while the game clock is ticking. In a blowout loss early this season, Ellis performed in ‘garbage time’ and earned a rotational opportunity in the following showings.

With single-digit games remaining in the regular season, we could see something similar with rookie Colby Jones. Going into the fourth quarter on Friday night, the Kings trailed the league-leading Boston Celtics 84-72, only for the lead to extend to 19 points with roughly six minutes remaining.

Frustrated with his team’s efforts, Brown turned towards his eager rookie from Xavier. Jones contributed to a 21-1 run that nearly allowed Sacramento to sneak away with a victory if they would have been able to secure one more defensive rebound (or whistle).

Colby Jones tallied two points, three rebounds, and one block in that stint and nearly converted a game-winning tip-back. The Last Two Minute report later confirmed that Jones was fouled on the play despite not being called.

After Boston, the Kings continued their road trip with a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night. Similar to how Ellis earned his role earlier in the year, Brown thought Jones showed enough in the Celtics’ game that he elected to bring Jones into the action in the opening quarter.

“Colby, based on his performance in Boston, in my opinion, deserved another shot tonight, and I thought he played well,” Brown told reporters in Brooklyn after their 107-77 win. Jones had seven points, four assists, and four rebounds against the Nets. “He had four deflections. I think he had three steals. He didn’t shoot the ball well, but I thought the shots that he took were good, and then I thought he guarded, and he got out in transition.”

NBA rookies rarely record a career-high in minutes (23) with five regular season games remaining on a team competing in a tight standings race. Yet, with Sacramento’s slew of injuries, the team desperately needs production from deeper pieces on its bench.

Even if Colby Jones’s opportunity down the final stretch is minimal, the early signs of his play are promising for his career and long-term projection. But he may be relied upon earlier than expected.

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will play its final road game of the regular season on Tuesday night when they face the third-seed Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Kings have secured two wins out of three matchups against OKC this season, although they dropped the most recent head-to-head meeting on February 11th as the Thunder coasted to a 127-111 win at the Paycom Center.

During three games against Oklahoma City this season, Domantas Sabonis holds averages of 18.7 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 11.3 assists on 55 percent shooting from the field.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Thunder coverage, beginning at 3:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 5:00 PM PST tip-off from Oklahoma City.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 9th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 5:00 PM PST
  • Thursday, April 11th – Sacramento Kings vs. New Orleans Pelicans – 7:00 PM PST
  • Friday, April 12th – Sacramento Kings vs. Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, April 14th – Sacramento Kings vs. Portland Trail Blazers – 12:30 PM PST (End of regular season)

Postseason Schedule

  • Tuesday, April 16th-Friday, April 19th – NBA Play-In Tournament (Teams & matchups TBD)
  • Saturday, April 20th – NBA Playoffs begin

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