Unlike past years, the Kings look legit and sit in the fifth spot of the Western Conference behind All-Star caliber play from De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
Fox, in particular, is having a tremendous season; averaging 22.8 points and 5.6 assists per game. The basic stats don’t do Fox justice on how good he’s been, however. He’s averaging a career-high in field goal percentage (50.7) and true shooting percentage (60.7) while playing some of the best defense of his career. The Kings are playing inspired basketball in what feels like forever, and Fox is truly engaged.
Domantas Sabonis, who arrived through the shocking Tyrese Haliburton trade, has been settling in well in SacTown. While Haliburton is undoubtedly a stud, people seem to forget how talented Sabonis is. He’s averaging 17.2 points, 11.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists in Sacramento’s high-pace offense. Assuming Sacramento continues winning, he should be representing them in the 2023 All-Star game.
Outside of Sacramento’s star duo, Monte McNair has surrounded them with an abundance of capable perimeter talent. Both Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk are capable of scoring off the ball in bunches. Keegan Murray, who the Kings drafted fourth overall in the past draft, has shown promising flashes. Harrison Barnes, who has been a favorite in every other mock Sixers trade, is a solid starter.
In the past, people have memed on the #Kangz for good reason (Shoutout to Hinkie getting pick swaps, an unprotected first-rounder and Nik Stauskas for literally nothing). While we’re only a quarter of the way through the season, they’ve proven to be a very capable squad. They rank sixth in offensive rating, ahead of teams such as Golden State, Brooklyn and Memphis. While defense isn’t their calling card they rank a respectable 16th in the league in that department.
Slowing down Sacramento’s offense will be a key in the Sixers pulling out the W. Fortunately, defense is the one (and only?) thing the Sixers can hang their hat on confidently. They currently rank fourth in the league in that department, while boasting the 14th-best offense.
In the past, Embiid has gotten the best of Sabonis, often putting him in foul trouble. Believe it or not, Sabonis has only averaged 10.5 points against Embiid in their 10 regular-season matchups.
Speaking of Embiid, he’ll look to build on one of the most dominant scoring stretches of his career. Since returning from his mid-foot sprain six games ago, he’s averaging 35.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 56.1 percent shooting. The lifeless Sixers have needed every bit of Embiid and he’s delivered.
Like Embiid, De’Anthony Melton will look to continue his stretch of stellar basketball. In the past four games, Melton is averaging 16.8 points per game on ridiculous efficiency: 51.1 percent from the field and 51.4 percent from three. The efficiency alone from three is impressive, but even more ludicrous when you factor in the 8.8 attempts he’s averaged over this span.
The Sixers continue to trend in the right direction with health. Danuel House, who has been out with a foot laceration, is listed as probable ahead of tonight’s game. The only other Sixer listed on the injury report for an actual injury is Tyrese Maxey, who remains out. On the Kings’ side of things, De’Aaron Fox is questionable with foot soreness while Alex Len is out with an illness.
This won’t be a cakewalk like past games against the Kings, but the Sixers should look to take advantage. Their next two opponents, Golden State and Toronto, will be very difficult games, even at home.
Will the Sixers be able to slow down the Beam Team’s high scoring offense? Let’s find out.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Sacramento Kings
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philly
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic