Mike Brown says ‘there is reasoning’ behind Kings lineup changes
Oct 18, 2023, 9:10 AM
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Last season, the Sacramento Kings’ starting five led the entire NBA in minutes played by a five-player group.
The group of De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray, Harrison Barnes, and Domantas Sabonis were Sacramento’s starting lineup in 63 of the Kings’ 82 games, which was a glowing example of how healthy and consistent last year’s surprising team was on a near day-to-day basis.
Although the 2022-23 ‘Beam Team’ stunned the NBA world by claiming a Pacific Division title and securing an NBA Playoff berth for the first time in nearly two decades, Brown has started to tinker with starting lineups in preseason play.
Kevin Huerter, a player who has started in all 82 appearances as a Sacramento King and 80 percent of his career appearances, was moved to a reserve role for Sunday’s preseason game against the Golden State Warriors as Chris Duarte got the nod to start.
According to Brown, the change-up had reasoning–as did Sasha Vezenkov’s start against the Los Angeles Lakers last week.
Mike Brown explains recent lineup changes
“There is reasoning behind everything that we do,” Brown said following Tuesday’s practice.
“Even against the Lakers when we started Sasha [Vezenkov]. There is reasoning behind it. It’s real, and we feel like we have more depth this year than we did last year, so we want to give different combinations looks at different times. There is a realness behind it. There’s realness behind everything that we’ve done so far.”
While Huerter did not start on Sunday night, ‘Red Velvet’ will be in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game in San Francisco–something that Brown says was always planned.
“Both Chris and Kevin knew that Chris was going to start the last game, and that Kevin was going to start this game,” Brown said. “Kevin was going to start (on Wednesday) regardless of if Chris was healthy or not.”
Duarte, who has been ruled out for the final two preseason games as he handles a left knee bone bruise, was placed in the starting lineup as a way to get the newest member of the Kings reps with returning players. Now that Duarte is out, Brown says it’s unfortunate that the wing won’t be able to gain experience before the regular season tips off.
How much should we read into the Sacramento Kings’ recent lineup changes?
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) October 17, 2023
“From the standpoint of [Duarte] continuing to get reps with this being his first year with us, that stinks, but it’s part of what we have to go through.”
With Huerter back in the starting five on Wednesday, the guard will have a chance to assert himself as the opening night starter. According to Brown, only two members of the roster have solified starting spots: All-NBA stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
As for the other spots?
“It’s always up for debate,” Brown said when asked if the starting shooting guard spot is up for grabs.
“As the head coach, it’s my job to put the best five out on the floor at any given time. To have that flexibility is something you always want to have. You don’t want to put yourself in a box… Every good team that I’ve been a part of doesn’t always go with the same lineup every single day… A lot of it is, are you going to end games and finish games, and that’s the most important aspect of it.”
Sacramento and Golden State will meet again on Wednesday night at Chase Center as both teams inch closer to the conclusion of their preseason schedules.
After facing the Warriors on Wednesday, the Kings will return home on Thursday to play the final game of the preseason against the Utah Jazz.
Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Warriors coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown San Francisco.
Sacramento Kings 2023-24 Preseason Schedule
- 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 PST (Season Opener)
- Friday, October 27th – Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST (Home Opener)
- Sunday, October 29th – Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers – 6 PM PST
- Wednesday, November 1st – Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors – 7 PM PST