If starting off the season with a blowout loss to a questionable Suns team wasn’t bad enough, news broke yesterday that Marvin Bagley will be sidelined 4-6 weeks with a fractured thumb. To put that in perspective, we’re talking about a possible month and a half without a key member of Walton’s lineup.
Bagley plays a pivotal role at the four position as he has proven early on in his career that he can score with ease and terrorize on the glass. Needless to say, he’ll be a hard piece to replace.
It doesn’t help that fellow big man, Harry Giles, is starting the season with an injury as well. Although Giles should not be out for too much longer, he is still listed as day-to-day. The Kings’ organization is taking particular precautions with Giles’ knee, which has been an issue in the past for the young big-man, leaving his return date undecided.
The “Sticky Bandits,” a nickname coined from the criminals in Home Alone 2, will be missed in Sacramento as their youth and talent remain vital to the Kings’ success.
Until Giles returns, Bjelica will most likely get the starting nod at the four position. Look for the Kings to play small as it is not unusual seeing Ariza and Barnes at the power forward position.
When the time comes that Harry Giles does return, he will instantly be an important aspect of the lineup, as anticipated with Bagley sidelined. They will likely let Giles ease in from his injury with limited minutes before unleashing him at full strength to pick up the slack.
The year the Kings have a realistic chance at making a postseason bid is not off to a good start, but it is no time to worry or lose hope. Although Bagley’s presence will be sorely missed, trust in Luke Walton to use sharp, nuanced strategies and lineups during his absence.