The Sacramento Kings are used to dealing with injuries. During the regular season, Luke Walton had to manage lineups without the likes of De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, and Bogdan Bogdanovic. So now that the continuation of the NBA season is approaching in just a little more than a week and with the Kings’ depleted roster filled with the injured and the ill, Walton should feel right at home dealing with this situation.
Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker, and Alex Len all tested positive for COVID-19 several weeks ago. Although Buddy and Parker joined the team in Orlando last week and have begun to practice, Len only recently joined the bubble and will not play in the first scrimmage game on Wednesday against the Miami Heat. The first “real” game against another team since the Kings lost to the Raptors on March 8.
Additionally, Harrison Barnes has yet to join the team in Orlando because of his positive COVID-19 test and Richaun Holmes had to enter quarantine for 10 days after crossing the NBA campus line to pick up food. His quarantine has just ended and he will have 10 days to practice before the season’s continuation. He will not participate in tomorrow’s scrimmage.
On the injury side of the inactive list, De’Aaron Fox suffered a sprained ankle in practice last week and will be reevaluated in the coming days. Marvin Bagley, the man who played just 13 games this season and was feeling 100% going into the continuation games, injured his right foot on Sunday and the team is still awaiting the MRI results. Hopefully it’s not another bad break for the second year big man.
The Kings could very well be going into their first game against the Spurs on July 31, short on talent. I was hoping Marvin Bagley could play the x-factor role during these eight games as he possesses incredible athleticism and a high motor. He still has the chance to do so assuming his injury is very minor, but with the amount of injuries Bagley has sustained in his short time in the league, concern is high.
Holmes made a mistake and it cost him and the team his presence in practices and at least one scrimmage. Holmes has outperformed everyone’s expectations and he truly has become a rock for the team. They need his heart and hustle on the floor and hopefully he is good to go come July 31.
I am glad to hear Buddy, Jabari, and Len are all back from their short-lived COVID-19 stints. Although Jabari didn’t play much for the Kings during the regular season, with all the injuries and illness surrounding the team, he might be given a larger role once the NBA resumes.
While Buddy is obviously an important component of the Kings’ roster and success, Len made a name for himself in Sacramento since he arrived in early February. He took on the role as the enforcer and has been stellar on the low post blocking shots and grabbing boards.
There is no timetable for Harrison Barnes’ return. His absence will definitely be a crucial blow to the Kings’ playoff chances and the closer we get to the NBA resuming without Barnes in Orlando, the more doubtful I feel about him joining the bubble. Barnes has playoff experience and has been a starter all year long. Without Barnes, the team’s deep roster gets relatively more shallow and the Kings lose a veteran leader.
Last but not least, De’Aaron Fox’s injury could be absolutely devastating to Sacramento’s postseason hopes. If Fox cannot play in Orlando, then any chance the Kings had at making a playoff push are basically going to be washed down the drain. Fox is the best player and the leader of this team and without him, the Kings will hardly stand a chance. I hope his injury is minor because Sacramento needs him more than ever.
Injuries and illness have not been kind to Sacramento all year and they weren’t about to stop now that the NBA is close to resuming. Although the Kings might be able to manage without perhaps Bagley or Len, if the team wants any chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, they will need Barnes and Fox to rejoin the team as soon as possible.