If Sunday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers was a dress rehearsal, one can consider tonight’s game against the Kings a walk-through. The Utah Jazz will play their final preseason game of the season against the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento.
In what can be described as a season teaser, these two teams will actually open up the season against each other six days from now. The main goal of tonight’s game for both teams will most likely be avoiding injuries and making sure that each respective coaching staff is able to hammer out the rest of their rotation.
For Utah, they will hope to see their starters be in more control of the game as they face off against NBA-caliber starters. The Utah Jazz have dismantled the two NBL teams they have played while struggling against NBA caliber starting lineups in Portland and against Toronto. The Kings will be a calmer beast for Utah as they aren’t the playoff caliber type squad Utah has faced in preseason. This could allow Utah’s starting lineup to get more in sync before the season starts.
The Kings are coming off a 132-100 win against Maccabi Haifa. In that game, Willie Cauley Stein and De’Aaron Fox both had big games. While Sacramento isn’t a playoff team, they are a team that toward the end of the season last year began to start to look respectable and less like the tire fire they had been the years prior.
This game will give Utah a great chance to know how the rest of their guard and power forward lineup shakes up as they enter the season.
With a win tonight, Utah will have a chance to go undefeated for the preseason. It should be noted that the first time Utah ever went undefeated in preseason, that same year Jerry Sloan retired and Deron Williams was traded. So just for the sake of karma, maybe we should be rooting for a loss.
When: 8:00MT • Thursday October 11th, 2018
Where: Sleep Train Arena · Sacramento, CA
TV: AT&T Sportsnet RM, NBA League Pass
Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone
Raul Neto — Right Hamstring — OUT
Isaac Haas — Right Knee — OUT
Kosta Koufos — Hamstring — Day to Day
Bogdan Bogdanovic — Knee Surgery — OUT
Iman Shumpert — Calf — Day to Day
What to watch for
He’s gotta play defense
Quin Snyder didn’t mince words when talking about Grayson Allen a couple days ago. When asked about Allen’s preseason, Snyder had a very direct critique of Allen’s defense:
Right now his biggest adjustment is transition defense, so he’s either going to make that adjustment or he’s not going to play. I hope he reads that.
Allen has been a firecracker offensively, but defensively he’s had his pitfalls and looked every bit like a rookie. Snyder has backed his words up about defense no matter who the player is (minus Boris Diaw, but c’mon, it’s Diaw), if you want to be on the floor, you gotta play defense. If Allen wants to surprise people and get minutes in the rotation to start the season, he’s gotta pull himself up by the boostraps and play defense for all 24 seconds of the possession.
The Alec Burks show
Alec Burks has been fantastic in preseason. Utah has an embarrassment of riches on its bench and Burks great play is part of that. Alec Burks looks like he has earned first or second man off the bench responsibilities so far in preseason, being the first or second man off the bench in almost every contest. One more great game from Alec could cement him in the rotation to start the season.
Jae Crowder and threes
Jae continues to struggle from behind the 3 point line. He started to show signs of busting out of his mini slump against Portland the other night. Utah needs Crowder at his best this season in order to build on their success from last year. He’s a pivotal part of their ability to match up against stretch fours and go small. Tonight he’ll get another shot at getting in rhythm before the real lights of the season turn on.