Another game, another loss. Another chance for our fanbase to grow increasingly more panicked as that seven-thousand dollar bet they made that the Kings make the playoffs this season looks increasingly like a lost cause. Tonight, again, there were flashes. While Skal and Papa continue to struggle with being asked to run some semblance;ance of a high post offense in the free-for-all atmosphere of the Vegas Summer League, De'Aaron continued his solid play as a rookie (albeit getting battered by presumed extra from a Hollywood movie about neighborhood affairs, Alex Caruso, on the other end), Jackson looked alright for stretches, Buddy sucked for most of the game before suddenly turning into Kobe (both clutch and unclench) in the last three minutes, and Frank Mason reminded everyone that he too was a former National Player of the Year. Frank Cooley saw his MVP chances fade with a unremarkable stint though so there's that unfortunate nugget. Now winless going into tournament play, all does not seemed lost for the young squad, no matter how much it seems like it is. Justin Jackson (B-): After an absolute humdinger of a performance last night, I though Justin came out largely the same. The big difference tonight was largely just that his shot was falling whereas last night he had the touch of a blind man playing pin the tail on the donkey while everyone else plays Hungry Hungry Hippos. He did miss another open three in crunch time though so it wasn't all good. Along with Frank Mason, provided most of the offense for our run in the second half but still had his struggles on the defensive end, both strength-wise and in regards to rotation reads. Despite all this, I thought all three of our rookies were net positives on the night. Skal Labissiere (D): Doing nothing to defuse Kings fans anxiety about him, Skal had another ho-hum game. Moreso than the lack of points or stats, the most concerning thing about the Haitan's Summer League showing has been his general lack of effort. While Papa has been visibly struggling, he's at least been trying. Skal, on the other hand, has largely spent his week in Vegas staying out of the way of both friend and foe, largely not boxing out, calling for the ball, or playing defense. He was even scoreless here until a putback late in the fourth quarter turned the zero-burger into a two point performance. Had a nice block in the first but then failed to corral the ball and the dude he rejected ultimately wound up scoring a basket anyways because Skal lost defensive focus in the three seconds the ball was free. I love the man's potential but he's been showing the fire in the belly of a sixty-four year old office worker counting down the days until his pension kicks in. Georgios Papagiannis (D): Papa, like Skal, has struggled in Summer League play. Unlike Skal, however, his struggles are largely stemming from trying too hard and not just letting the game come to him. While some of this may be coach mandated game expansion, the needless movements of the ball (when you get an offensive board, just go back up with it) and rushed shots (you're 7'3", no one's really gonna get in your way) are indicators of a guy trying to make things happen rather than letting the game come to him. Has he been slow-footed? Yes. Has he been great? No. Is he a total waste of space? Probably not. Ten years ago, he'd be younger than most draft picks in the NBA. Even now he's one of the youngest second year players in the league. Let's give him some time and be patient. God knows he's trying. Buddy Hield (Last three minutes A, rest of game D-): This was a tale of two games for Buddy. One lasted 37 minutes and sucked really really badly. The second one lasted three minutes and was insane except for one final airball that sealed the win for the hated Lakurz. Buddy started the game off well enough, drilling two threes (one off a nice behind the back set-up by Fox) to set the tempo for the young Kings. Unfortunately he followed that up with a nice display of what-not-to-do-as-a-two-guard, taking and missing a bunch of bad forced shots, really neglecting his defensive rotations, and generally not seeming to care too much about the outcome of the night. Once Frank almost single-handedly fought the team back into the game though, it was a different story as Buddy Buckets laced up his magic shoes and put on an absolutely ridiculous shooting display, all of his forced shots suddenly turning into brilliant swishes that would have crushed the spirits and chances of any team not playing against the 2017 Vegas Summer League Kings. He even tried playing some D in crunch time, not that he was particularly awesome at it. Still, that last span gives me hope for the season. Still not Steph Curry though. De'Aaron Fox (C): After starting the day off with a quickly deleted tweet regarding Lonzo's apparent chickening out, Fox was seemingly caught off guard by the sudden outburst from Alex Caruso, continuously getting beat off the drive by a guy who he was clearly faster than. On offense, tried to set up his guys early but then got increasingly selfish as the game went on. Was alright in the third but then apparently tweaked something and sat out the rest of the night and gave Frank the Tank the chance to shine. Overall, I thought it was a meh game from De'Aaron but he still put up 12 points and, I thought, shot better than he did any other time in this short summer season. If this is his meh game, he should be in good shape. Frank Mason (A): And of course since this is summer league, Frank Mason goes off the night after I say that he's had a subpar summer. He had an okay first stint on the night but single-handedly changed the game for us when the coaching staff reinserted him back in with the team down a good twenty-something points midway through the third. While there was a certain element of Isaiah Thomas-esque heroball involved in it, Mason played gritty defense against apparent Summer League Superstar Alex Caruso, finished strong in the paint, hit his jumpers, made smart (if not spectacular) passes, and generally was the floor general for the last fifteen minutes of the game. Kinda sorta disappeared in the last couple of minutes as Buddy took over but it's hard to fault him when Buddy was both superhot and apparently had stickum on his hands. If this is the Frank Mason we get in actual games that matter, the Kings point guard situation is solved for the next decade. But it's summer league and Donte Greene once scored 40 points here so it's hard to get too excited. JaKarr Sampson (B-): I'll give JaKarr this much credit, he seems to know who he is in the NBA, that is to say a role player who does the little things. In tonight's game, he scored and rebound and contributed an assist, a steal, and a block, and was unspectacularly solid once again as our back up small forward and de facto power forward down the stretch. I said that we should give him a two-way contract in the last grade thread and nothing I saw in his performance against the Lakers really changes that opinion. Solid role player at the three spot, which is really where we need that depth guy. Jack Cooley (D): And thus ended the mighty reign of Jack Cooley as the hustle guy of Kings fans' dreams. I don't know if it was because he was tired or if the other team was more athletic than him but Cooley seemed lethargic out on the court tonight. Rebounded best he could but in the end just didn't have much to give. You might say he really cooled off. I'll show myself out. Luis Montero (C): Rebounded well in extended minutes as all of the bigs in front of him either failed to produce and/or were feeling the effects of the second night of a back-to-back. Still not good enough to really be an NBA player but that's not really his fault. For the most part played within himself and gave a good effort to help our run in the third quarter. Naz Montero-Long (D): Apparently this guy was also on our Summer League roster and, suddenly finding himself on the floor, wanted everyone to know it, launching up a wide variety of missed threes that would surely endear him to basketball fans everywhere. Every roster has to have at least 12 dudes and with two of our guys resting their legs and De'Aaron sitting out a lot of the second half to protect his own, some those random dudes at the bottom of the ladder will find themselves in action. I don't imagine seeing much more of him beyond the possible Reno bench gig.