Young Kings Impress in California Classic Debut

Jul 3, 2018, 12:00 AM | Updated: Jan 4, 2019, 11:30 am
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

by Matt George – Sports 1140 KHTK Reporter

Monday night’s California Classic opener between the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers had buzz around it that has been building for the better part of a year. After drafting and essentially red-shirting Harry Giles last season, Kings fans finally got their first glimpse at the young man that was once considered the top high school prospect in the country.

On top of that, Duke star and 2nd overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Marvin Bagley III, took his first bumps in a Kings uniform in front of a sellout crowd inside of the Golden 1 Center. The Kings rolled out their starting lineup of Frank Mason, De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Bagley and Giles and the “future” of the franchise took form.

It didn’t take long for the already excited Kings fans to become unglued. Within minutes, the Kings executed a soft alley-oop to Giles in transition followed by one of the nastiest dunks in the short history of the Golden 1 Center.

18 points, six rebounds and three blocks in his NBA debut is not a bad stat line for the rookie out of Duke. His athleticism was on display on both ends of the floor, bailing out his questionable defensive positioning with quick recovery and blocked shots. Fellow Blue Devil Giles finished with 13 points and and three rebounds, shooting 60% for the night.

“I played better than I thought I would and felt better than I thought I would,” Giles said following his debut, “Toughness I can bring every day. I’m always going to bring that fight and grit”.

“It felt good to finally play and get out there with my teammates,” said Bagley, “The pace of the game was a little different. A lot more things to remember. I’m just having fun, doing it all, and (enjoying) the process”.

De’Aaron Fox’s performance was extremely encouraging, showing that, despite only playing for one season, his game is beyond the average talent in summer league. Fox led the Kings with 23 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals in 30 minutes. Arguably most exciting about the entire evening was Fox’s ability to push the tempo, leading his team effectively in the fast break. The Kings, who were near the bottom of the league in pace last season, were in desperate need of a tempo change.

“I worked on my game this summer. I get to the basket at the blink of an eye. As long as I’m making shots and get guys to go over screens, (my teammates) are going to have the easiest buckets or their lives” Fox said.

The only major disappointment of the evening was the play of Justin Jackson, who only managed five points on six shots and one rebound in nearly 33 minutes. The small forward position still appears to be a massive hole for this Kings team, who was hoping to see significant growth out of the former ACC Player of the Year.

While wins and losses don’t mean much more than bragging rights during the summer, fans left the Golden 1 Center happy after Sacramento topped Los Angeles 98-93. Another capacity crowd is expected tomorrow night, when the Kings host the Golden State Warriors for day two of the California Classic.


Rick Osentoski/Getty Images...
Amiliano Fragoso

Live Tracker: NBA Free Agency news and updates

Welcome to free agency season NBA fans! The NBA’s legal tampering period officially kicked off Thursday at 3 P.M. PST, starting the most dramatic and chaotic time of the year for the league. Where will the stars and the role players of the NBA wind up? Below is everything you need to know to stay […]
3 days ago
(Chris Watkins / Sactown Sports Digital)...
Chris Watkins

[VIDEO] Keegan Murray Speaks With Media After First Sacramento Kings Practice

Sacramento Kings 2022 first-round pick, Keegan Murray talks with the media following his first-ever practice in a Sacramento Kings uniform as the Summer League roster gets ready for the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer League. WHEN DO THE KINGS PLAY? Sacramento will play three games, beginning with its first contest on Saturday, July 2 […]
4 days ago
Dejounte Murray...
Amiliano Fragoso

Cattles & Ramie Discuss Dejounte Murray Trade

Wednesday on The Cattles & Ramie Show, the guys discussed the blockbuster trade that sent All-Star guard Dejounte Murray to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, three first-round picks and a pick swap to the San Antonio Spurs. Topics discussed: Initial reaction to the trade Was that too big of a haul for […]
4 days ago
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 28: Trey Lyles #41 of the Sacramento Kings brings the ball up court during t...
Franklin Cartoscelli

Sacramento Kings Expected To Exercise 2022-23 Option On Trey Lyles

Trey Lyles' $2.6 million team option has been exercised by Sacramento
5 days ago
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 08: Chimezie Metu #7 of the Sacramento Kings celebrates with the ...
Amiliano Fragoso

When Does Free Agency Start For The Sacramento Kings?

With the NBA draft now behind us, it’s time to look ahead to one of the most exciting and dramatic parts of the offseason: free agency. This summer should be no different as there are several high-caliber players likely on the move later this week when the window opens. But before we get to the […]
6 days ago
Chris Watkins

Keegan Murray Introductory Press Conference

Sacramento Kings GM Monte McNair introduces the fourth pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Keegan Murray, in front of the local media at Golden 1 Center. During Murray’s press conference, the rookie answered questions about his thought process on draft night and explains what Kings fans can expect from him when he steps onto the […]
6 days ago
Young Kings Impress in California Classic Debut