Kings basketball returns as Sacramento faces Raptors in tune-up game
Oct 7, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Oct 8, 2023, 7:52 am
(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
It’s been 161 days since the Sacramento Kings saw their magical 2022-23 season come to a close in Game 7 of the NBA Playoffs at Golden 1 Center.
For nearly six months, fans have waited to see ‘The Beam Team’ back in action, especially following an offseason that featured some exciting new–and old–additions.
Familiar faces Harrison Barnes, Trey Lyles, and Alex Len signed new deals to return to Sacramento and provide reigning NBA Coach of the Year award winner Mike Brown with depth in the front court.
EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov finally made the trip from Greece and is ready for his NBA debut, while new faces JaVale McGee and Chris Duarte will join a talented Kings bench unit that features Davion Mitchell, Malik Monk, and Lyles.
Of course, returning All-Star and All-NBA duo De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis are the engines that make Sacramento go, and the latter is fresh off of signing a five-year extension that will keep him in a Kings jersey for at least the next five seasons.
With Media Day and training camp in the rearview, it’s time to roll the ball out and see what Sacramento has in store for 2023-24.
Let’s dive into the top storylines that you should keep an eye on during Sunday night’s preseason opener between the Kings and Toronto Raptors in Vancouver, BC.
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) October 3, 2023
Sacramento Kings vs. Toronto Raptors Game Info
When: 5:00 PM PST
Where: Rogers Arena – Vancouver, BC
Broadcast Info: You can watch the game at Kings.com/live
What will Mike Brown’s rotations look like?
This is something that most Kings fans will be watching closely on Sunday night.
Although the first preseason game’s rotations will not determine how Brown will line things up during October 25th’s season opener, it will be interesting to see who comes off the bench behind the starting lineup of De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, Harrison Barnes, and Domantas Sabonis.
Davion Mitchell and Malik Monk will surely be the first two reserves off the bench, but after that, Brown will have to find minutes for Trey Lyles, Sasha Vezenkov, and JaVale McGee.
Will Chris Duarte take over Terence Davis’ role playing a two-three hybrid? How much will players vying for a roster spot like Jaylen Nowell and Jeremy Lamb play?
Expect the core rotation players to play limited minutes in what will be the first of five preseason games.
Will Keegan Murray spread his wings?
One of the biggest storylines of the offseason was Keegan Murray’s potential growth in Year 2, something that the forward’s head coach and starting point guard have also discussed during training camp.
Brown has been vocal regarding Murray needing to be more aggressive on offense, while Fox told the media that the All-Rookie First Team forward got yelled at during practice for passing up shot opportunities.
The 2023-24 season should see Murray progress in several categories like field goal attempts per game, usage rating, and free-throw attempts per game.
Sacramento needs Murray to be more aggressive on offense and be more than a spot-up three-point threat, and the 23-year-old has shown that he can be a top option on offense. During the summer, Murray scored 41 points at the California Classic, tapping back into his NBA Summer League MVP form.
Can Murray become a legit scoring threat at the NBA level? Sunday’s preseason opener is the first step in that process.
Sunday’s game is exciting for several reasons, but Sasha Veznkov’s Sacramento Kings debut has to be at the top of the list.
The hype surrounding last year’s EuroLeague MVP winner has grown by the day since Vezenkov inked a three-year contract with the Kings in July.
“He shoots the [expletive] out of the ball. It’s crazy,” De’Aaron Fox said of his new teammate following the first day of training camp. “We were doing (three-point) shooting drills where you have to take 150 shots, and I think missed like seven. Like, he’s up there with some of the best shooters in the world.”
While Vezenkov might not play regular-season minutes, it will be exciting just to see the 6’9 sharpshooter in uniform to put his quick release on display.
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule
- Sunday, October 8th – Sacramento Kings @ Toronto Raptors – 5 PM PST (Preseason Opener)
- Wednesday, October 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7 PM PST (in Anaheim, CA)
- Sunday, October 15th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Wednesday, October 18th – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST
- Thursday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs. Utah Jazz – 7 PM PST
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Regular Season Schedule
- Tuesday, October 24th – NBA regular season begins
- Wednesday, October 25th – Sacramento Kings @ Utah Jazz – 6 PM (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM (Home Opener)