They’re Back: Kings Set To Face Lakers In Preseason Opener
After 176 days of waiting, the Sacramento Kings are back in action tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sure, it might only be a preseason matchup between these two old rivals, but Monday night’s game at crypto.com Arena will have plenty of storylines to follow as we inch closer toward October 19th’s season-opener.
The win-loss result of preseason games might not matter (Sacramento went a perfect 4-0 last preseason), but there is still plenty of meaning for the players that are currently fighting for roster spots, starting roles, and rotation minutes.
Here’s everything that you need to know for tonight’s Kings vs Lakers showdown:
Kings vs Lakers. TONIGHT. pic.twitter.com/VzY3oIhhUh
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) October 3, 2022
Where To Watch & Listen To Kings vs Lakers:
TV: NBA TV
Radio: Sactown Sports 1140 AM – Pregame coverage starts at 6:00 pm PST on Game Night
The Kings and Lakers split a four-game series last season.
Sacramento won the most-recent matchup between the two teams on January 12th by a final of 125-116 at Golden 1 Center.
Storylines To Keep An Eye On
Mike Brown told the media on Saturday that his starting lineup could look different in each preseason game. In other words, whoever starts for Sacramento tonight in Los Angeles–outside of De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, and Harrison Barnes–isn’t necessarily locked in to start on opening night against Portland.
“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. “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.”
During Saturday’s practice, forward KZ Okpala was spotted in the starters group alongside De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, and Domantas Sabonis. The 6’8 defensive-minded wing could be in the starting lineup during Monday’s preseason opener.
Saturday action here at Golden 1 Center.
The Kings will open up their preseason on Monday in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/hSTqbv6VTs
— Frankie Cartoscelli (@FCartoscelli3) October 1, 2022
If Okpala starts against Los Angeles, it will be interesting to see how Brown deploys his forward depth. Fourth-overall pick Keegan Murray should be in the mix for plenty of minutes in his NBA preseason debut, but not much else is known about Sacramento’s rotation at the forward spots.
Behind Barnes and Murray, players like Okpala, Kent Bazemore, Chima Moneke, Chimezie Metu, and Trey Lyles will be battling it out for rotation minutes, and in some cases, roster spots.
Brown’s game-plan and lineups are probably going to look different during the opening games of preseason, but it’s still something to keep an eye on as there are plenty of uncertainties surrounding who will and will not be on the final roster come October 18th.
Third-String Point Guard Battle
In my opinion, the most significant preseason position battle is the third-string point guard competition.
Veteran guards Matthew Dellavedova and Quinn Cook are currently vying for a roster spot, and it will be interesting to see what Brown does when the time comes to go deep into the bench tonight.
Behind De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell, the Kings had no third-string option last season, something that became a glaring issue for the team once Fox went down with a hand injury in mid-March. Both Dellavedova and Cook are respectable options for the role, as each guard possesses a strong locker room presence and can also bring championship experience to a team that hopes to snap a 16-year postseason drought.
- No players are listed on Sacramento’s injury report for Monday night. All 20 players will be available.
- As for the Lakers, All-Star big man Anthony Davis (back) is probable. Dennis Schroeder (not with team), Lonnie Walker IV (ankle), and Troy Brown Jr. (back) are all out.
Upcoming Sacramento Kings Schedule
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)