Overview: The NBA restart preseason is almost over, with just one more round of scrimmage games left. Check out this Clippers-Kings scrimmage preview to get updated on all the major storylines in this one before the regular season returns.
Where: Orlando, Florida
When: 1:00 PM PT
How to Watch: Fox Sports Prime Ticket, AM 570
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings: De’Aaron Fox – Bogdan Bogdanovic – Kent Bazemore – Nemanja Bjelica – Harry Giles
Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Marcus Morris – Ivica Zubac
Kings: Marvin Bagley Out (Foot), Richaun Holmes Out (Suspension), Harrison Barnes Questionable (Quarantine), Alex Len Questionable (COVID)
Clippers: Lou Williams Out (Quarantine), Patrick Beverley Out (Personal), Montrezl Harrell Out (Personal), Landry Shamet Doubtful (Quarantine), Ivica Zubac Questionable (Quarantine)
The Big Picture
The NBA restarts’ “preseason” is almost over, and the actual seeding games are rapidly approaching. The Clippers have been kind of a mess in the first two contests, though that’s largely due to their missing half their rotation and three of their five best players. At least they’ve avoided injury, a plague that has already befallen other NBA teams (including the Clips opponent in this one), and something that would be more serious long-term than the personal issues and resulting quarantines that have kept their players out thus far. In terms of actual play, there hasn’t been much to take away, but new addition Joakim Noah has looked solid, and fringe players such as Amir Coffey and Rodney McGruder have played well. Hopefully the Clippers continue to avoid injury and round into shape in this one.
The poor, poor Kings were (as mentioned above) struck by the injury bug when Marvin Bagley injured his foot in practice last week. Bagley has dealt with several foot injuries thus far in his NBA career, a very bad sign, and has been a mixed bag when he has played. In his stead, Harry Giles will be the Kings’ center, and while Giles has talent, he’s someone the Clippers should be able to attack defensively. The Kings’ future and danger lies in their backcourt of Fox, Bogdanovic, and super-sub Buddy Hield, but there are questions regarding the trio’s fit. Realistically, barring a breakout from a younger player like Bagley, the Kings seem like they will be stuck in the treadmill of mediocrity for the next couple years. They don’t have enough talent, and their free agent additions have been poor at best.
Zu Back: After being away from the team through all of training camp, Ivica Zubac finally joined the Clips in Orlando on Friday night. With a two day quarantine, he should be cleared to play in this one, but whether Doc Rivers thinks he’s ready for actual game action, even a scrimmage, is a different story. Then again, Marcus Morris played in a scrimmage just a day after arriving in Orlando, so Zu will probably play as well. This will relegate Joakim Noah to the second unit, and will probably limit the amount of small ball the Clippers will play. It will be interesting to see how Zu looks – hopefully he’s been able to stay in shape during the season hiatus.
More Sophisticated Offensive Sets: Doc Rivers said in his Wizards postgame press conference that he has opened up his playbook and is running more of the team’s actual sets. This fits in what we’ve seen this season, where the Clippers have been running pretty basic offensive sets, probably due to all the injuries and new players. Bringing in more sophisticated offensive tactics could be part of why the Clippers have looked so sloppy – they’re adapting to the new stuff. However, while there will be growing pains, these sets will be needed in the playoffs, where each bucket is needed and hard to come by. Maybe in this third scrimmage the Clippers will look a bit smoother on offense.
Guarding Fox: De’Aaron Fox is the engine to the Kings’ offense – and their best player. If Patrick Beverley was playing, he would certainly grab this matchup, but with Pat out, it will be interesting to see who draws him. Since it’s a scrimmage, maybe Reggie Jackson just gets the assignment straight up as the opposing point guard, but it could be a good chance to get Kawhi or Paul George practice guarding such guys before the seeding games start. So far both guys have coasted a bit defensively in the scrimmages, which is fine, as the games don’t matter. Defending Fox could allow them to ramp up a little while still not going full throttle.
The King’s Herald: Some of our lovely friends who are Sacramento Kings fans are doing the same sort of thing we do here at 213Hoops–running an independent blog by fans, for fans. For the opposing perspective on this match-up, check out their site.
That ends this Clippers Kings scrimmage preview. Stay tuned for more updates regarding this game and the Clippers’ various player quarantine situations.
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