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NBA Return to Play – Do Kings Start Buddy or Bogi? ‘Good’ Problem to Have

USA Today

Written By: Tom Witt
Contact: [email protected]
Blog: TomTooWitty Sports Blog

The NBA is BACK!

The NBA is coming back July 31st, after much discussion about what would be the best way to ‘return to play’ for the NBA. The Sacramento Kings are one of the final twenty two teams invited to DisneyWorld Resort in Orlando, Florida to play for a chance to make the playoffs!

  • Read ahead for more information on the NBA’s return to play!
  • Stats, analysis and opinion on the Kings return to play.
  • The Kings ‘good’ problem of having two starting caliber shooting guards.
  • Impact players POTENTIALLY returning from injury!

The Kings Are In!

For weeks, the talking heads and decision makers kicked around a number of different scenarios for return to play.

The powers that be ended up coming to a solution, which is outlined below by ESPN’s Adrian ‘Woj’ Wojnarowski.

And the solution that was approved by the NBA was music to Sacramento Kings fan’s ears.

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

So You’re Sayin’ There’s A Chance?

According to ESPN, the top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences — New OrleansPortlandSan AntonioSacramentoPhoenix and Washington, sources said. (ESPN Sources: NBA to approve plan for 22-team return with eight regular-season games)

Return to Play Format

“Each of the 22 teams would play 8 regular season games in the bubble, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, teams will have the opportunity to participate in a play-in tournament for the 8th seed in their respective conferences, based on how they finish the regular season.”

The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams — if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth, sources said. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament, and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament, sources said.”

Kings POTENTIAL Opponents

The NBA determined it will ‘resume’ the regular season with the ‘remaining’ schedule for each team.

Per a report from Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, each team’s schedule will consist of the next eight games they were originally slated to play.

The games that involve teams who will not be in Orlando will be skipped over for the next available matchup.

Kings Playoff Hiatus

Sacramento has a chance to make the playoffs, legitimately, for the first time in OVER A DECADE!

The Kings currently hold the longest current playoff-less streak in the NBA …. Fourteen LONG seasons.

2006 NBA Playoffs – Kings Kevin Martin Beats Buzzer To Sink Spurs

Start Buddy or Bogi? … A ‘GOOD’ Problem to Have

The Kings started the 2019-20 season injured, and not quite performing up to their pre-season expectations.

A change was needed, and imminent.

Since 1/24, when Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton decided to move Buddy to the bench, the Kings have sported a 13-7.

Arguably this has been their best stretch of the season. Which has also been aided by a return of a healthy and improved De’Aaron Fox.

This shows that Sacramento can win with Hield in the mix… though, it may be important what order Chef Walton mixes him into the recipe.

Will Coach Walton continue to start Bogi over Buddy?

Will starters be based on who is ‘hotter’?

Or will starters be based on match-ups?

Great Teams Need Great Bench Players

2003-04 NBA Sixth Man Award Winner Bobby Jackson – NBA.com

Most great teams need someone other than their starting five to play like a starter.

Toni Kukoc of the famed Chicago Bulls 90’s era teams, featured on the ESPN docu-series, “The Last Dance”, was a pivotal player in the Bulls second NBA championship 3-peat.

The Spurs championship runs featured future hall of famer, smooth lefty, Manu Ginobili, coming off the bench.

Great Sacramento Kings teams of the past featured bench players like Bobby Jackson, who won 2003-04 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award, and other starting caliber bench players like Hedo Turkoglu. 

Even NBA scoring machine James Harden once won the 6th man award for the Oklahoma City Thunder, during the 2011-12 season. The same season that OKC made it to the NBA finals but lost to LeBron and the Miami Heat 4-1.

Players don’t need to start the game to have a huge impact on the outcome.

Coach Luke Walton Speaks – Impact Buddy Hield Can Make Off the Bench –

“Even with Buddy (coming off the bench), he was still playing starter minutes, he was still finishing certain games, and it’s one of those things where if you’re truly bought into being on the team, you end up accepting it because that’s a huuuggee value.

I mean, you look at Ginobili with the Spurs, you look at Lamar with our Lakers teams, Steve did it with Andre up in Golden State. So you need starter caliber players kind of playing with that second group a lot of times. And I thought Buddy had really, really done a nice job of embracing that and making our team better.” – Luke Walton, Kings Head Coach

“Walton weighs in: Buddy, Bogi, Kings growth and a season (somewhat) saved”, 4/28/2020, Sam Amick, The Athletic, https://theathletic.com/1780069/2020/04/28/walton-weighs-in-buddy-bogey-kings-growth-and-a-season-somewhat-saved/?source=dailyemail

Hield’s Reaction to New Bench Role

Buddy Hield is one of the major keys to the Sacramento Kings success.

And in some fans minds, to their lack of success, at times.

Buddy has been vocal about his displeasure in the past with his lack of minutes, especially in crunch time situations.

When asked about how Hield responded to being told about his move to the bench Coach Walton stated,


“Buddy was not happy about not starting, but he didn’t bitch. He said, ‘You’re the coach. I’m going to do what I need to do.’” 

“Walton weighs in: Buddy, Bogi, Kings growth and a season (somewhat) saved”, 4/28/2020, Sam Amick, The Athletic, https://theathletic.com/1780069/2020/04/28/walton-weighs-in-buddy-bogey-kings-growth-and-a-season-somewhat-saved/?source=dailyemail

 Numbers Never Lie…

Hield IMPROVES with Move to the Bench

According to NBA.com advanced stats, during Buddy Hield’s 20 games off the bench he was second on the team in points per game, with 19.4, only behind De’Aaron Fox.

This was all while shooting an INTER-STELLAR 47.9% from three point range, on a whopping 9.3 attempts per game!

Buddy’s 2019-20 Season Stats

In 64 games played before the COVID-19 hiatus, Buddy started 44.

Hield’s per game averages – 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, while shooting 42.9% FG, 39.5% from 3PT range and 85.5% from the free throw line. Basketball-Reference Buddy Hield Stats

Bogi’s Stats Since Moving To Starter

In his third NBA season, Bogdanovic is averaging 14.5 points, 3.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game off the bench for Sacramento.

He is the Kings’ most versatile player, one of the better playmakers on the roster, and has championship experience.

Since being moved to starter on January 24th, Bogi has played well!

While averaging 29 minutes per game, he is scoring 14.5 points per game on 45% field goal shooting, 81% free throw shooting, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals and only 1.1 turnovers per game.

Compared to Hield, Bogi also brings better defense, passing, ball handing, as well as court awareness and imagination.

Bogi’s Championship History

Before bringing his talents to NorCal, Bogdanović became a professional hooper in 2010 at age 18 in Europe.

In 2017 Bogi earned an All-EuroLeague First Team and a EuroBasket All-Tournament Team selection.

He was named the 2017 All-Europe Player of the Year, by the international basketball website Eurobasket.com.

At the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Bogdanović solidified himself as the best player on the Serbian national team.

During the tournament, Bogi averaged 22.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists over 8 games, while shooting 55.6% from the field and 53% from the three-point line.

For his performances, he was selected to the FIBA Basketball World Cup All-Tournament Team. With 183 points scored throughout the tournament, he was the FIBA Basketball World Cup Top Scorer by total points scored.

No ‘Superstar’ No Problem!

Kings Embrace Deep Rotation

Coach Walton doesn’t have a superstar to turn to (YET, says Fox…), but he does have a DEEP team.

Sacramento is fortunate enough to employ two starting caliber shooting guards. A GREAT problem to have.

Players such as Harrison Barnes and Kent Bazemore both have playoff and championship experience.

Time Off Means Time To Heal From Injuries

This break will HOPEFULLY give the ailing Kings a chance to mend up some of their injured players.

Players like Richaun Holmes, who was arguably the Kings MVP so far this season.

The fully healthy return of a MUCH improved and confident De’Aaron Fox.

As well as ‘what-ifs’ like Marvin Bagley, who looked good in his brief return, when running next to Fox.

How will coach Walton utilize his ‘new’ roster?

My Predictions

After looking at the Kings schedule, I think they will finish 4-4, and 5-3 best case.

They need to win the games against teams whom they are close in the standings to – Pelicans (twice), Nets, Magic, Pacers, Spurs.

It would also REALLY help the Kings if they are able to take one of the games against the teams they aren’t really ‘close’ to – Rockets, Mavericks.

I think that Bogi will remain a starter for the beginning of the season restart.

In my opinion, the end of game minutes and majority of minutes will be determined by

  • Who is ‘hotter’
  • Match-ups

De’Aaron Fox Confident in Teammates

“I just think they’re both playing at a high level,” Fox said. “No one put their head down when the roles were reversed. They’ve just come ready to play. Buddy’s been a great spark for us off the bench. I think that’s all there is to it. Everybody’s playing well right now and we’re just trying to keep that up.”

https://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/article239941923.html

Go Kings!

-SpikeballTom

PLEASE SEND FEEDBACK, COMMENTS, QUESTIONS TO:

Email: tomtoowitty.sports.blog[email protected]
Instagram: @tomtoowitty_sports_blog

Sac-Town Crown Kings Report Blog Site

Read Previous Articles By SpikeballTom:

NBA Big Men, The Three Point Shot, and Kings Marvin Bagley III

Sac-Town Crown Kings Report- Can Buddy Hield Be a Future NBA Sixth Man? Kings Fans Sure Hope So!

References:

1. The NBA is back – and it’s sending 22 teams to Orlando, 6/3/20, FOX Sports, https://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/nba-return-22-teams-orlando-lebron-james-lakers-kawhi-leonard-clipers-060320

Tom Witt
My name is Tom and I am a 30 year old dude who loves sports, and the Sacramento Kings. I have a lifelong love for the sport of basketball which was instilled by my grandpa Ernie at a young age. He would me to the local hoop court at the park, teaching me to "keep my hand in the cookie jar", that "it's all in the wrist" when shooting, and that you can learn more from a loss than a win. Grandpa Ernie grew up playing on the dirt courts of Berkeley, CA and played basketball at University of San Francisco in the 1930s, before Bill Russell. My first live basketball game was a Cal Bears game in the Cow Palace with my grandpa, watching NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzales and my favorite, point guard Randy Duck! I grew up as a young kid falling in love with the NBA by watching Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Toni Kukoc and the Chicago Bulls on the national WGN Chicago television station. But when I received a Kings Kids Club flyer in the mail in 1998 it was game over, GO KINGS! I started off watching Lawerence Funderburke and Corliss Williamson, as they slowly built the pieces that got them to the "Greatest Show on the Court" with J-Will, C-Webb, Peja, Vlade, Christie and the 6th man! My favorite Kings player growing up was Gerald Wallace, I would always watch to the end of games just to see if my favorite high-flyer would get into the game for even a minute or two! We made it through the Donaghy travesty, the Maloof monstrosity, "Here WE Stay", and we are climbing our way back to the top! "If you don't like that you don't like KINGS basketball!" GO KINGS!
https://tomtoowittysportsblog.wordpress.com/
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