[Grades] Kings v. Jazz (#1) 10/17/2018

Goat o' the Game

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The Game Thread Dude
Well, we lost. But it was hard-fought and probably closer to the kinds of performances that we were hoping to see from our team this year. It certainly wasn't the blowout we had last week in preseason.

Endpoint: If the Kings play like this for the entire season, they're gonna surprise people and more importantly make Bill Simmons very sad.

And now on to the grades (Spoilers: Nemanja Bjelica is good)

Buddy Hield:

Nemanja Bjelica:

Yogi Ferrell:

De'Aaron Fox:

Justin Jackson:

Iman Shumpert:

Marvin Bagley:

Frank Mason: (inc.)
Looked bad in his short stint. Then hit a random buzzer beater to end the quarter to help stile Utah's surging momentum.

Harry Giles: (inc.)

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Hall of Famer
Gotta give Dave Joerger some love. This is what many of us have been waiting for. He cleared the way for this teams future at the guard spot and it looked good. It looked as advertised. If they continue to play this way Vlade can rub in all the pundits faces because he's done a good job bringing in talent. Now if he can heat up the 3 point line for Bogdan and Buddy and allows them to play together things will be off and running.

And yes, Nemanja Bjelica is good. I can't wait to see he and Bogdan share the court. The IQ will be off the charts.


Hall of Famer
Giles looked lost in there, Bagley needs to play more. Jackson still can't shoot but Fox and Willie put in work. Good defensive effort at times and they hung in there against a quality team, can't ask for much more than that.
Great effort from coaches to players.

Bogi will take those JJ/Mason/ minutes, keeping the bench playable. Hopefully Shump realizes its not practice, and he can't jack shots like he is being defended by Ben and JJ.

And if Bjelica needs to play some 3 to get the kids minutes, fine. But I take back my belief that he can defend the 3. Maybe he is still hurt, but his lateral movement was bad.
Buddy shot 50% for 19 pts but was only 1 of 4 on 3-pointers and earned only 1 free throw (which he missed). Had 4 turnovers and got bailed out on a 5th turnover. However, Buddy kept us in the game when we needed someone to make shots. (B)

Bjelica shot 67% for 18 pts and 2 of 2 on 3-pointers. Hustled, rebounded, played smart, and pretty much endeared himself to Kings fans in his first game. (B+)

WCS shot 67% for 23 pts, grabbed 7 boards and dished 4 assists. He doesn't even have to be this good, if he can only be consistent! His defense was very good. (B+)

Fox was special, and clearly we go as he goes. He shot 50% for 21 pts and dished 7 assists. Had everything going tonight except the 3-pointer. Very good defense. (A-)

JJ shot 40% for 8 pts and missed all 4 of his 3-pointers. Only 2 boards in 30 minutes. Joerger should be ashamed to give those minutes with so little production. (C-)

Yogi shot 43% for 12 pts, hit 2 of 3 3-pointers, and hit all 4 of his free throws. Played hard-nosed basketball. Really like what he brings. (B)

Shump shot 29% for 5 pts and was 1 of 3 on 3-pointers. Plays good defense and hustles, but is a negative on offense, often taking the team out of its rhythym with his one on one hero ball. A shooter needs to keep shooting. A Shump needs to stop shooting and lock down his opponent with pressure defense. (C-)

Bagley shot 50% for 6 pts in only 12 minutes. His 5 boards would be 15 boards in 36 minutes. That's getting it done. (B)

Giles - incomplete (only 9 min).
Really exciting game between the Kings and the Refs tonight. Refs came out on top but whats new right?

I gripe about Willie as much as anyone but I have to give it to him tonight. That was the best game I've ever seen him play and that includes the career night he had the game after Demarcus was traded. He brought it to Gobert on the offensive end and he brought it to the entire Jazz team on the defensive end. If anything resembling the guy we saw tonight is the guy who plays for us this year, he will wind up getting paid.

Bjelica was really good as well. Our best rebounder on the night and did a great job of tipping rebounds away from Gobert and boxing out when a box out was needed. Showed us nifty moves and even ran a beautiful pick and roll with Willie.

Loved Fox's aggressiveness. I hope this is the guy we see on a nightly basis this year. Pesky on defense and pesky on offense. That should be his M.O.

How can you not like the effort Yogi put in on the defensive end? His box score numbers don't pop off the screen but his effort was a welcomed sight out there.

Hield was Hield. Bunch of dumb plays on both ends of the ball and a bunch of good plays on both ends of the ball. Would really like to see him take more 3 pointers out there. Loved his chase down block on Exum.

Good to see Bagley and Giles hit their first shots on their first attempts. Giles looked lost out there. Bagley looked a bit better. I really think the coaching staff has their positions all wrong. Bagley should be the C and Giles should be the PF. Their size and skills compliment the opposite positions they have them playing.

Shumpert played some good defense but I'm not a fan of his shot selection.

Bench lost the game for us. Almost all the starters have double digit positive +/- scores and all of the benchers have double digit negative scores.

The good for Joerger is he had these guys ready to compete and he leaned heavily on the starters who were playing well (did not agree with JJ being out there at the end though). The Kings also scored 117 against one of the best defenses. The bad was having the team go to horns sets as soon as Shumpert entered the game in the first quarter and the Kings promptly stopped scoring and the Jazz came all the way back in a hurry. Also way way way too many mid range shots. Jazz took 27 threes, Kings took 19. That was the difference in the ball game.
I’m going Joerger. But what do I know, I’m just a fan. But I certainly wouldn’t have kept Bagley on the bench in the 2nd after a very effective 1st and then opt to keep JJ in there for crunch time instead of Bjelica . Moron
Loved Fox got 7 free throws and played better defense. Did a better job of finding shooters but bears some blame for the Kings yet again with less than 20 3 attempts. Went 0-2 from 3 himself and the rotation on his free throws looked bad. B+

WCS had a great game on offense and defense. Plays so much better when surrounded with shooters. 3-6 for free throws needs to improve. Having Beli and Bogdan surrounding him will only make him more effective. A-

Beli had a good game but is clearly a stretch four. Great compliment to Willie and Fox. Opens up the spacing for both. Had the most rebounds on the team. Such a high IQ will kick ass with Bogdan. A
Got to give props to Joerger. That is the way this teams should play. 4-out with space and lots of pick and rolls. Should have played that way last year so its nice to see. Bjelica is very good. Should probably play 30 minutes a night. Willie was very good as well. Loved how he took it to Gobert. Fox defense was nice. I wanted him to be more agressive offensively in the 4th as Gobert seeemed a bit off.
I love what yogi brings. He gets his shot off with so little daylight (thats one issue I always had with Buddy - he is a great shooter but he needs space to shoot). Giles and Bagley struggled defensively.
Jazz could emerge as a nice villain team along with Warriors and Lakers. I'm kinda starting to hate them. I hate the skinny pants coach, I hate the crybaby Crowder, and I hate the flabby old Ingles.

It's a start.
Huh? I sctually think Utah is one of the most easy teams to root for. Small market team that has success because they draft well, care about their players and develop them.
Is that the solution to the Buddy/Bogdan starting together, Buddy at SF? It was always Bogdan length v Buddy core strength

Loved seeing Fox’s progression.

Bjelica starting at PF and being a baller as I predicted, but a bit torn on how that affects the young duos playing time. We are still a developing team despite not having the pick, Bjelica is 30 (22 minutes combined Giles/Bagley).

Even as a detractor of WCS, it’s fun watching him on offense particularly when he’s on his game, but innate talent was never the issue. I hate being a couple years beyond not expecting the 8/5 next game, but he did his thing.

Maybe going small will limit some of Jackson/Shump
I hope people stop with the Willie hate..which is extremely irrational imo. For some, it feels like he needs to put up this statline every night to satisfy. Even in preseason I thought he was BY FAR our best big man, and he definitely proved it tonight.
Not sure being better than two guys who haven't played an NBA minute is really worth shouting about..
Also way way way too many mid range shots. Jazz took 27 threes, Kings took 19. That was the difference in the ball game.
As I said in the game thread, no it wasn't.

The Kings were +16 in 2 pt FG's made by both teams. The JAZZ only made up +6 on 3 pt FG's made by both teams. So the Kings were still +10 counting all FG's.

The difference in the game was at the FT line where UTAH was +16. Some of those attempts occurred in the final minute when the Kings fouled to extend, but the damage was already done before that.

Judging from the tone of your post, it sounds as if you felt like me that UTAH was helped out a bit by the officials. I thought they allowed the JAZZ to bump, grab and hold a lot more than they allowed the KINGS to do it. Consequently they got bailed out more often and the disparity in FTA's bear that out.
Saw the final half of the game today and game 1 has showed that Vlade's FA haul are real nice rotation players. I think Bjelica could be up for a real nice season, same with Yogi.

117 pts on the Jazz, is a nice take away for Game 1 of this season.
JJ sucked badly on this game though, and I hope Jeorger does consider his options and keep a leash on JJ's minutes. When they went with smallball, where JJ was the PF, I was cringing that Bagley or Giles could really fit in his place for a small ball lineup.

The way Bjelica was partially coaching Willie to those nice switches, I think that combo with Bagley could work nicely as well.
Nice run for the kids, I'm satisfied. Unto the next game then.
Shump and Yogi. Loved their toughness on defense. On the ball, in the opponents chest, wouldn't back down. Don't care about Shump's offense (would obviously love more), but give me that 82 games a year, please.

Bjelly looked great on offense. Loved his toughness as well.

These new additions are changing the identity of this team--there's a time for diplomacy and professionalism (Temple and Vince) and a time for grimy, go get your sh*t attitudes.

I'm still wondering why Bags didn't see any play in q3. Joeger sending a message, obviously. Wasn't his play on offense. Haven't watched the film, but I do remember the Kings scrambling more on defense when he was in there. Likely the reason.

Giles got rushed a bit last night.

Fox. Not surprised. Going to be the best two way guard in the league by the end of this year--barring injury. Notice Exum not being able to do anything when Fox was on him then he blows by everyone when Fox is out?

Good Willie showed up.

Buddy is a 6 man. Dribble less, please. Scores 19 points, but has 4 turnovers. Kings lose by 7--margin for error gets crushed because of those 4 turnovers.

We need a two way bull at the 3 spot. A Ron-Ron type (Winslow, Stanley Johnson). A guy who will beat up his opponent and who will take the ball into the paint and create havoc--look at our FTs relative to opponents.


Hall of Famer
Re Shumpert: He's the classic 3 & D guy. He could be very valuable to this team going forward in guarding very good 2s and 3s because he's an experienced, athletic, physical, and willing defender. But on offense, he really should be the guy who stands in the corner. At this point in his career I hope that he could shoot a decent percentage on wide open 3s. Last night he was doing a lot of shooting off the dribble, which is just not his thing. As he gets more experience in the offense and more guidance by Joerger, hopefully his offensive efficiency will go up considerably.

Fox: He's going to be an All Star. Bank on it. If he ever gets into the high 30s percentage on 3 point shots, it's light's out for the league. Last year, Rubio won the matchup. This game, Fox dominated Rubio.

Buddy: Had one play where he stood and watched a Jazz player who had a wide open shot. Other than that, I saw effort on the defensive end. Still has his issues with turnovers; it's going to take more time. He was particular effective in navigating into that 14 foot area just below the free throw line and throwing up floaters; I like that.

Yogi: Outstanding defense crowding Mitchell and others with his quickness. This guy is nails. On one play he was totally robbed by a ref when he got called for a block that should have been a charge. When I watch Yogi play I don't miss Mason at all.

Bjelica: The only thing that surprised me was why he wasn't used more in the preseason. I guess Joerger already knew what he had in Bjelica. I'd like to see him at the 5 sometimes; he's got the girth and the rebounding ability, and he could stretch the floor considerably for Fox & Co.

JJ: He has to improve considerably to be a positive impact for the Kings. He seems to still have the same flat shot that he had last year. Didn't he work on that during the summer?

WCS: Had a game in which he played well against a top tier center. Still didn't have the rebounds that you want to see, but his offense against Gobert was very nice and he hustled on defense. Stein's progress isn't going to be evaluated in one game; it will be evaluated over the entire season. He's got to flip the ratio of good games to bad games: Instead of playing good 2 out of 10 games, he's got to play good 8 out of 10 games.

Bagley: He's going to get minutes, just not the minutes that he would have gotten last year. He continues to show me his very high ceiling. I know he was out of control when he took the ball full court on the dribble and charged into the Jazz player, but I don't want Joerger to reign him in too much. In a couple of years I could see him finishing that play because of an improved handle.

Giles: Didn't get a read on him in this game. He certainly had one great pass. I want to see Giles have an impact on defense like what we saw in the preseason. He's got the lateral quickness, BBIQ, and length to be very good on D.


Hall of Famer
wasn't impressed with mason at all last night. Neither was jeoger hence no time in the 2nd half. Shump forced a bit much on offense and Harry looked like a squirrel in the road trying to decide which way to go. Willie shut alot of people up last night (i hope). Would have liked to have seen more Bagley as he looked good with 6pt and 5reb in just 12 min. thats a 18pt 15reb per 36. Beljcia looked nice on offense and a little slow on Defense but his IQ stood out quite bit. I believe if we had a real SF we could pull some upsets this year. Maybe a few of those bigs rotting at the end of the bench and Justin Jackson should get us at least a starter caliber SF. Skal, Randolph, and JJ for really anybody thats a true SF and i am happy.
Black hole Shumpert jacking up shots like he is Zbo on the block. Killed our momentum and let the Jazz back in it. This is the problem when you put a "vet" out there with the kids is they suddenly think they should play like Kobe.

WCS looked fantastic.
Fox needs to be more aggresive.
Buddy needs to be shooting 10 3s a game.

Ferrals defense was off the charts good.

Refs gave Utah a LOT of easy fouls which were not being called the other way. A highly aggresive Fox should be able to get a lot of these phantom whistles if he attacks on regular basis.

Jackson....is he a better 3pt shooter than giles or bagley??? Why is he at the 4? Bagley was beasting in first half. Should have played more with jackson getting only 12 to 15 mins a game. 30 is wayyyyyy to much.
I saw a lot I liked.

Shumpert should start at SF. His shot selection was terrible last night but defensively he was strong. He’s still playing his way back in the groove and I think he’ll show to be our best option at the 3 on both ends.

I’m going to be a fan of Yogi Ferrell. He’ll turn out to be of the Bobby Jackson mold. I want him off the bench even with no Bogs. The matchups made sense with the two small guard lineup for Utah but our bench really needs one of Yogi and Buddy to take the load off Bagley and Giles

If our bench combination is Yogi and Buddy with the first year bigs and atleast 25 games of a productive Justin Jackson that's going to be big time.

I think Willie is going to have a huge year. He had his game last night mainly taking it at Gobert. He is a game changer when he’s on.

Excellent all around game by Fox

I knew Bjelica would be a good pick up and that he was likely drowned in Minnesota. Even more than I thought. He has a sweet shoot, playmaking ability and he’s somewhat of a bruiser. Seems we didn’t get enough of him though and it seems our troubles began when he came out

Buddy had a good game. He was getting his shot. He just didn’t have that spurt in him last night but overall solid game.

Rough debut for both Bagley and Giles. They’ll settle.

JJ started strong but was taking up space in the second half. Dave likes him though.

I liked the rebounding and the Kings took care of the rock. Unfortunately still not getting to the line a lot even though the Kings attacked the paint all night. Terrible officiating

I liked what I saw for the most part.
The only thing that Joerger can get criticized for are the following (and I think most of them are picking nits)

Order of nits

1. JJ played too much and too much 4
2. Shump played a bit too much
3. Belly could have used about 3 more minutes in the 4th
4. Probably could have played Bagley 4-5 more minutes, but TBH this was not the game to throw Bagley/Giles to the wolves. Probably the best front line they will face all year (for sure top 3), no need to crush them out of the gate.

I'm glad Bagley is upset he didn't play more. I have not read his dads comments, I don't love that. But he should feel like he should play more.


Staff member
Jackson looked tentative and nervous. I think Bogs would have made a big difference and can't wait until he's back.

Giles was on the receiving end of a couple of bad calls/no calls right off the bat and I think it threw him off just a bit. I'm not worried about him in the least.

Fox was foxtastic. :)

Yogi impressed me more than I thought he would.

WCS was the WCS I've been hoping to see.

Bagley also impressed me...a lot. There's something there that just foretells greatness IMHO.

Shump drove me nuts. I just don't care for him or his game.

Buddy was good but not great.

Joerger was all over the place, exhorting his players, especially in the 2nd half. If the officials wanted to be jerks, they could have T'd him up for being on the court several times during the night.

Mason? Meh.


Bjelli had his moments. He and WCS in the pick and roll warmed this fan's heart.

G1C management - dump as effing stumps. Know why the arena looked so empty at the beginning? The idiots closed down all but one of the incoming gates before the game started so they could set up the stupid stage for the after-game concert. Not their brightest moment.

Rubio looked like an aging Lothario.

Gobert is still a whiny flopping thug wannabe.

It was a fun game and if they keep this up, they're gonna eke out some Ws from teams who look past them.