In the past five seasons, the Sacramento Kings have ranked in the bottom-third of the NBA in team-defense rankings, even finishing dead-last in all of basketball in two of those five seasons. That is bound to change after the Kings selected Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein with the No. 6 overall pick in the NBA Draft, at least if the Las Vegas Summer League is any indication, as the Kings’ first-round pick is averaging 2.7 blocks through three games. He’s a top defensive talent, as he displayed in college, and his presence alone could be a spark for Sacramento Kings tickets sales, as the Kings are expected to improve under new head coach George Karl.
Cauley-Stein is proving to have more of an all-around impact than some pundits were projecting. In just under 20 minutes of action, the nimble seven-footer is averaging 13 points a game to go with his 4.7 rebounds. Aside from Cauley-Stein, David Wear and James Anderson have been showcasing their skills as well. Wear has played in two of the team’s three games, scoring 16 points per contest with 5.5 rebounds, while Anderson has played in all three games and averages 12.3 points with 2.7 rebounds and two assists.
Sacramento dropped their Las Vegas Summer League opening game on July 10, getting blown out by the Toronto Raptors, 90-68. Two days later, the Kings lost to the Denver Nuggets by 22, before finding their footing against the rival Golden State Warriors, defeating them, 90-71, on July 13.
The Kings’ next game will be on July 15 at either Cox Pavilion or the Thomas & Mack Center. Fans can see their first-round draft pick and other roster hopefuls through the Hipmunk flight guide to help plan a Las Vegas basketball trip. Hotel deals can be combed through on Hipmunk in just a few clicks, making it the No. 1 travel resource for any basketball fan during any point in the season.
Sacramento has been busy during the offseason, signing Marco Belinelli, who won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014, Rajon Rondo, an NBA champion in 2008 with the Boston Celtics, and Kosta Koufos, who most recently played with the Memphis Grizzlies and has appeared in the postseason various times. They also just signed veteran Caron Butler, another veteran of the NBA playoffs.