Out With A Bang: Kings End Season With Dismantling Of Lakers
Sacramento was firing on all cylinders against Los Angeles, giving Kings fans something to smile about as they head into the offseason
Although it was a disappointing NBA season restart for the Sacramento Kings, they left it all on the floor in their season finale on Thursday morning.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had another incredible game, Buddy Hield found his stroke and Nemanja Bjelica did a little bit of everything in a 136-122 blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Kings trailed early, falling behind by 10-points in the first-quarter.
Once play entered the second-period, it was all Sacramento, who led by as many as 28-points in the final game of the regular season. It was an efficient day for the Kings, who shot 56-percent from the field and 44-percent as a team from downtown.
Sacramento’s 21 made three-point field goals tied a franchise record.
Impending restricted free-agent Bogdan Bogdanovic showed once again why he deserves a big payday this offseason, finishing with 27 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
The 27 year-old guard was a force during bubble play, averaging 19.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 44-percent from the three-point line over eight-games.
Bogdanovic will hit the free-agent market this offseason as a restricted free-agent, meaning that Sacramento holds the right to match any offer-sheet that the talented guard might sign.
Buddy Hield, who struggled for most of the season restart, finally found his rhythm, scoring 28 points on eight-of-14 from beyond the three-point line.
Per the Kings public relations team, Hield became only the third player in NBA history to hit over 270 three-pointer’s in consecutive seasons. Hield joins former MVP award winners Stephen Curry (2014-2017) and James Harden (2018-2020) as the only players to eclipse the mark in back-to-back seasons.
The ball movement was impressive by Sacramento, largely due to the passing clinic put on by Nemanja Bjelica.
Bjelica finished with a career-high 13 assists to go along with 15 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Sacramento will need to make a decision this offseason on Bjelica’s future, as the team holds a $7.15 million option on the forward.
Bjelica had a career-year for the Kings in 2019-20, finishing the season with career-high averages of 11.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.8 steals per game. The 32 year-old was one of the most efficient three-point threats in the entire league, ranking eighth (.421) in the league in three-point field goal percentage.
Jabari Parker had another strong showing, finishing with 19 points on nine-of-10 from the field and eight rebounds.
The 25 year-old has a $6.5 million player-option that he will need to decline or exercise in October. Parker has looked good when healthy, but his fit in the Sacramento offense is something that the Kings will need to take a look at this offseason.
In what could be his final game with the team, Harry Giles III scored four points over just three minutes of action.
Kings general manager Vlade Divac opted to decline Giles’ option for the 2020-21 season, making the 21 year-old an unrestricted free-agent this offseason.
Both teams were without key contributors during Thursday’s season finale, as the Kings opted to rest their banged up contributors to ensure that they are fully healthy come next season.
The Lakers rested most of their role players in preparation of next week’s postseason action.
Sacramento was without De’Aaron Fox (shoulder), Kent Bazemore (calf), Richaun Holmes (hip) and Marvin Bagley III (foot). The Lakers played without Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Alex Caruso, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Lakers forward LeBron James and guard Danny Green were active for the first half before resting for the remaining two periods.
What is next for the Sacramento Kings? Your guess is as good as mine.
For 14 years, the Kings have been looked at as the punching bag of the NBA. Year after year, fans return with a glimmer of hope that things could be different–‘Maybe this is the year’.
Will this be the offseason that things turn around?
The roster will need several changes. The front office could look different come next season. When will next season even take place? With COVID-19 not appearing close to letting up anytime soon, it’s quite possible that next season takes place in a similar bubble format.
According to reports that surfaced over the summer, the expected start date for next season will most likely be in mid-late December.
As for some upcoming dates, here’s what to look forward too while we wait for next season:
- Thursday, August 20th — NBA Draft Lottery
- Thursday, October 15th — Deadline for Kings F Jabari Parker to accept or decline his $6.5 million player option for 2020-21
- Friday, October 16th — NBA Draft
- Saturday, October 17th — Last day for a player to receive a qualifying offer (Bogdan Bogdanovic)
- Sunday, October 18th — Free agent negotiations can begin
- Friday, October 23rd — Free agency begins
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