NBA

5 Takeaways From Sacramento Kings 2022-23 Media Day

Sep 27, 2022, 12:36 PM | Updated: 1:03 pm
PORTLAND, OREGON - OCTOBER 20: Richaun Holmes #22 of the Sacramento Kings reacts against the Portla...
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

If you were missing Sacramento Kings basketball, Monday’s Media Day was a jumpstart to the 2022-23 season.

Basketballs were heard bouncing around the Golden 1 Center practice gym. Cameras were flashing. An assortment of tangled power cords ran along the floor like vines in a forest. Players could be heard screaming at the top of their lungs while filming stadium hype videos.

Sacramento Kings basketball is back.

Here are some thoughts and takeaways from Media Day as we set our sights on training camp and preseason play:

Monte McNair’s contract

As we move to within just three weeks of October 19th’s opening night, the Sacramento Kings and general manager Monte McNair have not reached a deal to extend McNair’s expiring contract.

“Is my deal on the internet or something,” a relaxed McNair said on Monday when asked about the state of his contract. “For me and my group, we are excited about what we have done. We’re excited that coach (Mike) Brown is here. I’m the GM right now and I’ve got a bunch of work to do, so I’m going to do that until they kick me out, and I hope I’m here for a long time. I think with this team that we have put together, we are really going to start seeing that progress.”

It isn’t often that you see a general manager bring in a new coach like Mike Brown on a four-year deal and then not be brought back less than one year later. Why would Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive have McNair, somebody that he potentially doesn’t plan on having around after this season, making important decisions that will have implications for the next five years or more for this organization?

As of now, we don’t have an answer to that question. Has McNair earned a contract extension? In my opinion, I lean more towards yes than no. Sure, Sacramento is still looking up from the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but with a revamped roster that McNair and his team have built, those days could be coming to an end.

This is arguably the best roster that the Kings have had on paper in over a decade. All three of McNair’s first-round draft selections — Tyrese Haliburton, Davion Mitchell, and Keegan Murray — are widely seen as successful selections.

An extension for McNair could hinge on the team’s success in 2022-23, but successful organizations normally like to have their general manager and head coach on the same page. Aligning McNair’s deal with Brown’s to the tune of a three-year extension doesn’t seem like an awful idea.

Richaun Holmes Seems Rejuvenated After A Rough 2021-22

There was no other way to put it: 2021-22 was “hell” for Richaun Holmes.

After a strong start to the season in which the center averaged 15.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 71 percent from the field, Holmes suffered an eye injury during a November 22nd loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. After returning to action a week later, it only took five more games before the big man injured his eyes during a loss to Dallas on New Year’s Eve.

Upon Holmes’ return from his second eye injury, the 28-year-old struggled to find his game leading into February’s trade deadline. With Holmes’ production at an all-time low, the Kings swung a trade to acquire Domantas Sabonis, sending Holmes to the bench for the first time in over two seasons.

In eight games as a reserve, Holmes looked uncomfortable while posting averages of 3.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game while shooting an uncharacteristic 44 percent from the field.

Holmes was expected to be traded during the offseason as it appeared as if the center needed a fresh start with another franchise that could offer him a starting role. Instead, once Mike Brown was hired as the team’s new head coach, the word from around the organization was that Brown was very high on Holmes.

Both Sabonis and Holmes will enter camp with the possibility of sharing the floor this season, something that both players spoke about during Media Day.

“I see that fitting perfectly,” Holmes said on Monday when asked about his fit next to the two-time All-Star in Sabonis. “We’re basketball players, man. You put us out there, we’ll make it work.”

“Of course,” Sabonis said Monday on Cattles & Ramie when asked if a front-court pairing with Holmes could be effective. “It’s a thing that can be played. I’m not sure if it will be played all game, but we have the right coaching staff to put us in the right positions. Whether it’s a certain number of minutes or a quarter, or a game where coach thinks that we have an advantage, I think it could be great.

Outside of the Sabonis-Holmes conversation, the fact that Holmes is back in good spirits and ready to get back to himself — both on and off of court — is encouraging to see. Just months after signing a four-year contract with Sacramento, Holmes’ season was lost due to eye injuries and off-the-court issues that have now been resolved.

Holmes will be rocking protective eyewear for the rest of his career, something that he did near the end of 2021-22, and now that his personal issues have been settled, the veteran big is ready to get to work on the hardwood.

“I’m looking forward to stepping back on the court,” Holmes said. “Last year was hell, no other way to put it. But you go through that, become a better person, and get a better finished product.”

If the Kings get a productive Richaun Holmes off of the bench or in the lineup alongside Sabonis, one of the better center combos in the NBA would reside in Sacramento.

Quick Hits

Headband Huerter Arrives

Kevin Huerter is rocking the headband, something that he intends to do until he feels that he can’t pull it off anymore.

Huerter will battle Malik Monk for the starting two-guard spot, but the former Atlanta Hawk could have a leg up in that competition as he has started in 216 of his 275 career games (78% of his appearances).

After shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc over four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, Huerter will look to bring his sharp-shooting abilities to a Kings team that needs stability beyond the three-point stripe.

The Return of Baze

Kent Bazemore is very happy to be back in Sacramento for his second go-around with the franchise.

“My first time here, I really wanted to return (in free agency). I was definitely missing Sacramento,” Bazmore said during Monday’s Media Day. “I love the feel here. Seeing people and kids run around with the ‘Sac Proud’ shirts again, it feels good.”

Bazemore was acquired by the Kings back in January of 2020 during a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. Over 25 games with Sacramento, the 6’5 wing averaged 10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc.

Following the 2019-20 season, Bazemore inked a deal with the Golden State Warriors for 2020-21 before signing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2021-22. After only appearing in 39 of the Lakers’ 82 games, Bazemore hopes to break through here with the Kings and secure a roster spot following preseason play.

The 33-year-old will battle Chima Moneke, KZ Okpala, and Sam Merrill for a roster spot in the coming weeks.

Mike Brown’s Scream

The top moment of media day. Not much more needs to be said.

All Kings players spoke very highly of Mike Brown during Media Day, and this moment shows exactly why the new head coach has already fallen into the team’s good graces.

Chemistry is such an important aspect of creating a winning culture, and the vibes were incredibly fun and positive on Monday afternoon.

Newsletter

NBA

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: Keegan Murray #13 of the Sacramento Kings stands on the co...
Franklin Cartoscelli

Murray’s career-high helps pace Kings to blowout win over Clippers

The Sacramento Kings have enjoyed 20+ point wins in back-to-back games after securing Saturday's 123-96 win over the Clippers
1 day ago
De'Aaron Fox drives to the basket against Larry Nance Jr....
Joseph Jarosz

De’Aaron Fox says he is feeling ‘fine’ after dealing with soreness, bug

De'Aaron Fox spoke to the media Friday before the team leaves for Los Angeles, saying he's playing through some soreness.
2 days ago
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Cleveland Cavaliers gets tangled with Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacram...
Joseph Jarosz

Sacramento Kings Mailbag: What’s the best win of the season so far?

In the first edition of our new mailbag segment, we answer your questions about the Sacramento Kings, including which win we think is the best
2 days ago
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 28: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns is guarded by Harrison Ba...
Joseph Jarosz

Doug Christie says Sacramento Kings can ‘compete with anyone in the NBA’

The Sacramento Kings are 2-3 over the last five games, having faced teams like the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns, two of the best teams in the league. On Thursday, Kings assistant coach Doug Christie joined Cattles & Ramie to discuss the team’s recent road trip and how the team could fare in the playoffs. […]
2 days ago
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 30: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after the Kings ...
Franklin Cartoscelli

Monk on Brown’s Sixth Man campaign: ‘I ain’t going to argue with him.’

Sacramento Kings guard Malik Monk met with the media following Wednesday's impressive 137-114 win over the Indiana Pacers
3 days ago
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 20: Kevin Huerter #9 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates after mak...
Franklin Cartoscelli

Kevin Huerter on Golden 1 Center: ‘There are not a lot of places like this.’

Sacramento Kings guard Kevin Huerter spoke to the media following Wednesday's blowout win over the Indiana Pacers
3 days ago
5 Takeaways From Sacramento Kings 2022-23 Media Day