Kings Starting Lineup Expected To Be Fluid Leading Into Opening Night
If you’re hoping that Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown will reveal his opening night starting lineup on Monday against the Los Angeles Lakers, don’t hold your breath.
Following Saturday’s practice session at Golden 1 Center, Brown told local media that he is going to be using a few different lineups over the next two weeks as the team gets its rotations tuned up for the regular season opener on October 19th.
“Everybody has been busting their behinds here, so if I can, I’m going to try to play everybody this first game,” Brown said of his rotation plans for Monday night’s preseason opener in Los Angeles. “We’ll give guys that are probably going to be in the starting lineup and in the heavy mix one or two goes in the first half.”
When asked if Monday’s starters will be the five players that could start in October 19th’s season-opening game against Portland, Brown said that the lineup could look different down the line as preseason progresses.
“I’ll probably start the five that have a chance to start, but that group may not start at the end of the day. We may change it up the next game.”
While Brown did not announce his starting five for opening night, he did confirm that center Domantas Sabonis, guard De’Aaron Fox, and forward Harrison Barnes will be included in the eventual regular season starting lineup. The starting shooting guard and power forward positions remain up for grabs this preseason.
Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk, and Terence Davis will be in the mix for the starting two-guard spot, while Keegan Murray, Chimezie Metu, and Trey Lyles will be battling for minutes at the four. Richaun Holmes could also find himself alongside Sabonis this season, a possibility that both big men have spoken about positively during camp.
Nine-to-ten is Brown’s magic number
A majority of Sacramento’s 20-man training camp roster will log minutes during Monday’s preseason opener, but expect Mike Brown’s final rotation to be half of that figure.
“I learned a lot from Steve (Kerr), and one of the things that he does is tries to go 11 (players) deep. I actually handled rotations for us in Golden State the past six years, and it was hard to go 11 deep,” Brown said on Saturday. “If I can go 10 deep during the regular season, that would be great, because it keeps guys engaged. That ninth, tenth guy can change from game to game, so if we can figure out a way to go 10 for me, that would be ideal. Nine for sure.”
For a Kings roster that is currently deeper than teams of years past, Brown and his coaching staff will have some difficult decisions to make when making roster cuts later this month. Sacramento will need to trim its 20-man roster down to 15 (not including the team’s two-way contracts) by October 17th.
De’Aaron Fox put his three-point shot on display following Saturday’s practice. Before going down with a hand injury late in the season, the 24-year-old had snapped out of a shooting funk and was converting 38% of his attempts from deep over his final 18 appearances of the season. If Fox can add an outside shot to his game, he will be even harder to slow down in 2022-23.
De’Aaron Fox putting his shot on display while knocking down triples at practice.
Fox shot 38% from three-point land over his final 16 appearances of last season. pic.twitter.com/1FzTA0sDwo
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) October 1, 2022
Terence Davis says that he is fully recovered from his wrist injury that he suffered during January 25th’s loss in Boston. In the four games leading into the injury, Davis was averaging 22.0 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line. Davis is in play for rotation minutes at the two spot or backup small forward role.
Harrison Barnes will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and the veteran forward kept his cards close to his vest on Saturday when asked if he would like to sign a contract extension with Sacramento.
“It’s nice to be settled,” Barnes said when asked if he envisions a long-term future here with the Kings. “Having a couple years here, getting familiar, getting settled, that stuff means a lot. To be able to be here, obviously we would love to have more wins and accomplish more from a team perspective, but it’s been great to develop a relationship with these guys, this organization, and we’ll go from there.”
Since inking a four-year, $85 million deal with the Kings in 2019, Barnes has been a consummate professional both on and off of the floor for a Kings team that has sorely needed leadership. It’s unknown if Sacramento and Barnes’ camp are having extension talks, but it’s fair to assume that the veteran forward will want to cash in on what could be his final chance at securing another lucrative, multi-year deal.
With fourth-overall pick Keegan Murray beginning his Kings journey this season, it’s possible that general manager Monte McNair is eyeing the 22-year-old as a potential replacement for Barnes in the primary forward role once the rookie establishes himself at the NBA level.
Monday, October 3rd – Sacramento Kings @ Los Angeles Lakers – 7:30 PM PST (Preseason opener)
Sunday, October 9th – Sacramento Kings vs Portland Trail Blazers – 7:00 PM PST
Wednesday, October 12th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
Friday, October 14th – Sacramento Kings vs Los Angeles Lakers – 7:00 PM PST (Preseason finale)
Monday, October 17th – NBA rosters must be set for the regular season
Wednesday, October 19th – Sacramento Kings vs Portland Trail Blazers – 7:00 PM PST (Season opener)