Twenty-nine different opposing NBA teams will walk through the doors of Target Center to play the Wolves this season, and we want you to know as much as you can about all of them. We’re going worst to first in order of last year’s standings and telling you everything you need to know. Today, we’ll preview a Kings team that added a huge piece in the 2018 draft.
Key Players Acquired: C Deyonta Davis (trade), SG Ben McLemore (trade), F Marvin Bagley III (draft), F Nemanja Bjelica (free agency)
Key Players Lost: Vince Carter (free agency), G Garrett Temple (trade)
The Kings finished 27-55 on the season, marking the fewest amount of wins for Sacramento since 2011-12. It was also the team's 12th-straight losing season.
The fact that Willie Cauley-Stein led the team with 3.9 wins shares tells you a bit about the season. To put that in perspective, that’s the lowest amount of win shares to lead the team in franchise history.
The biggest problem with the team is that it just wasn’t really able to stop anyone. They allowed opponents to shoot 47 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from the 3-point line.
If we’re looking for positives, there are a few. Cauley-Stein won’t be a star, but we knew that already. He’s at least a rotational player. Bogdan Bogdanovic looks like the real deal, and rookie D’Aaron Fox had his moments. Buddy Hield isn’t the star that Sacramento hoped he’d be when they made the DeMarcus Cousins trade, but he averaged 13.5 points per game off the bench, shooting 43.1 percent from deep. That’s pretty impressive.
We’re still waiting for a bonafide player to build around in Sacramento, though. And that’s exactly what the risk was in trading Cousins.
The Big Question:
Can Marvin Bagley III, the team’s No. 2 pick in the draft, be that star? It looks like Fox will be a starting point guard in this league for a long time, but he doesn’t have the ceiling that Bagley does.
We saw mixed results from Bagley in Summer League and it didn’t help that he was outplayed by former teammate Wendell Carter Jr. who went seventh overall to the Bulls. That only adds to the pressure.
Bagley should be fine. He needs to add some strength. He put up numbers in college, averaging 21 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, but the NBA is a totally different beast.
The biggest fear if you’re a Kings fan is that guys who could have been drafted at No. 2, like Luka Doncic or Jaren Jackson Jr., become franchise cornerstones and Bagley does not.
Don’t sleep on Harry Giles on making some noise. He didn’t play in a game last season dealing with a knee injury, but whatever Giles can contribute will be an added bonus.
How Do The Wolves Beat Them?
From top to bottom, Minnesota’s a better team than Sacramento. The Wolves were 3-0 against the Kings last season and it’d be a disappointment for Minnesota if it didn’t win the season series again.
Expect big games from Karl-Anthony Towns against the Kings. They don’t have anyone who can body him and that showed last season when Towns averaged 28.3 points, 13 rebounds and five assists per game while shooting 69.8 percent from the field.
This team is still out of the playoff picture, but the Kings should be better this season than they were last. There is plenty of depth, especially after adding former Wolves wing Nemanja Bjelica. But the issue will be matching up with opposing team’s top players.
Describe This Team In 15 Words Or Less
This team really needs Marvin Bagley III to be a star.
So When Can I See Them?
The Wolves host the Kings on Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. and on Monday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. They’ll play in Sacramento on Friday Nov. 9 at 9 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 9 p.m.