One Player Takes Command As 4 Compete For 2 Open Spots In Kings Starting Lineup

De'Aaron Fox is obviously starting at the point for the Sacramento Kings. Domantas Sabonis is at the center and Harrison Barnes is the small forward. But that leaves shooting guard and power forward there for the taking. Kings head coach Mike Brown points to four players who'll be battling for those two spots during the preseason.

“Obviously, Fox is going to start for us. Domas is going to start for us. HB is going to start for us,” Brown told Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee“But we’re kind of up in the air a little bit with the two and the four spot, and there are some guys that we feel have a real good chance to start for us in those spots, but we’re going to keep mixing those two spots around to see what we can get.”

Two newcomers, Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk are competing for the starting 2-guard spot. Rookie Keegan Murray is competing mainly with 4th-year big man KZ Okpala at the four. 

And it was the rook, Murray, the No. 4 pick in the June Draft, that took command for the Kings in the first preseason game Monday night. 

Murray was the talk of the team, coming off the bench to score 16 points and grab 6 rebounds in just 21 minutes while registering a team-high plus-19 as the Kings blew out the Lakers in the 2nd half.  

Okpala signed a partially-guaranteed 2-year deal with the Kings this summer, and actually got the start, but didn't produce much, with just 2 points and 2 rebounds in 10 minutes. 

Huerter, acquired from the Atlanta Hawks in a July trade, didn't fare too well in his start at off-guard, posting just five points in 14 minutes. Monk came off the bench for 14 minutes as well, and was chucking it, hitting on just 3-of-11 shots for 8 points and 6 rebounds. 

Murray is the only one of the four that took an early choke-hold on one of the spots; still a few more preseason contests to go for coach Brown to make his decisions.

Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports