The Kings will always be intertwined with the Process. There was, of course, the trade. Though Carl Landry is gone, the Kings pick is partly, possibly gone, and Nik Stauskas has played a total of 19 minutes all season, the trade is a major reason why we’re here today. It solidified - stronger than we could have even imagined - Hinkie fandom. It brought in an incredibly valuable asset, especially after DeMarcus Cousins was gone, that allowed the Sixers to not only swap from #5 to #3 in this year’s draft, but then jump up from #3 to #1 and draft Markelle Fultz. And on top of all of that, it was hilarious. Vivek and Vlade are “also starring”s in the story of the Process, and when the movie is made they should play themselves as penance.
But even before the trade, there was something that stood out in the Process’ earlier days. Way back in 2014, George Karl said that the Sixers were “at least three to five years away from even being a respectful — respectful — NBA roster.” He continued, saying the team they had “such a low level of talent they’ll be hard-pressed to win an NBA game.” You can argue about how wrong or right he actualy was, but that’s not the point. The point is six months later, those Sixers beat Karl’s Kings 114 to 107. Robert Covington scored 24 points. Nerlens Noel double-double’d with 16 and 14. After the game, someone with the Sixers’ social team (it was Max) sent a snapchat with Karl’s quote and the final score. From that day, battle lines were drawn. The Sixers took an L when a wet floor postponed a game at home years later, but with that one win and the trade, they’re about 35-1 (they’re actually 2-3 against the Kings since that game).
10:00 PM / Golden 1 Center, Sacramento / NBC Sports Network Philadelphia
He’s not gonna play much, but in 4 games against his former team, Nik Stauskas is averaging 9.8 points (vs. a career 7.4), shooting 48.4% from the floor, and is 9-for-18 from three.
Dario Saric has started the last 5 games for the Sixers, and in those starts he’s shooting 42.1% from the floor (33.3% off the bench), 50% from three (on 15-for-30, only 3-for-14 off the bench), and has a plus-minus of -1.1 (-13.6 off the bench). Ride the hot hand and keep him in the starting lineup I beg of you.
On the current win streak, Ben Simmons is averaging 19.2/10.2/8.6 with 2 steals and 1.4 blocks. No player is averaging those numbers on the season. Robert Covington is shooting 51.4% from long range on the current win streak on 7 attempts per game. No one has ever done that for a season, obviously.
In the season’s first 5 games, the Sixers as a team were shooting 46.5% from the floor, 35.8% from three, and 68.6% from the free throw line. Since? 51.1%/43.9%/71%. They’re the definition of hot.
The Kings are 2-8 on the season and averaging fewer than 94 points per game. They’re also 30th in the league at getting to the free throw line. The Kings are attempting 32.7% fewer free throws this season than they did last year. The Sixers are truly out of control with their fouling this season, so this game will be a big test for them (and the officials) to not give easy contact.