Grades: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings – Game #16

The San Antonio Spurs have now lost their first three games on their five-game road trip following a 130-112 defeat at the hands of the Sacramento Kings. The Spurs played hard and had stretches of impressive displays of talent but Sacramento’s high-powered attack proved to be too much for San Antonio to handle.

The Spurs were playing without leading scorer Keldon Johnson and key bench cog Doug McDermott. Johnson, who’s dealing with an ankle injury, is averaging 22.7 points per game this season. McDermott missed the game with a calf injury.

Spurs at Kings – Final Grades

spurs kings grades

Devin Vassell

Typically, Vassell operates better as the second option on offense and sometimes struggles when the defense can key in on him. Tonight, with Johnson sidelined, Vassell was the go-to scorer and he was fantastic. He scored 29 points on an efficient 11-for-19 shooting from the field, including 4-of-9 from three-point land. The 22-year-old scored utilizing a variety of moves — from fancy footwork to create jumpers off the dribble to rapid-fire threes while off of movement. Vassell’s craft with the ball is getting better and better — it’s to the point that it looks like he could legitimately be a top 20 scorer in the league one day.

Grades: A

Jakob Poeltl

Poeltl was better than average. Offensively, he was really aggressive with the ball, which only aided San Antonio’s cause. His passing and screening were other positives on that end. Defensively, he was reaching a bit too much and wasn’t as quick to his spots as usual — but the effort was there.

Grade: B

Tre Jones

The good: Scoring-wise, Jones was stout. He finished around the basket with deft touch and buried another three-pointer. He did great work pushing the pace and getting the Spurs easy buckets. The bad: His ball-handling was highly suspect at times tonight. A 6-foot-1 point guard without impeccable handles is less than ideal, to put it bluntly. Jones was okay-ish on defense but he struggled to stay in front of players in the halfcourt setting. His passing was also only adequate, particularly when he wasn’t out on the fast break.

Grade: C

Jeremy Sochan

Sochan had an eventful night at the office. Not only did he author the best dunk of the season so far for the Spurs, he had a number of stupendous passes. He finished with five assists but that doesn’t tell the story of how well he was passing it and the amount of court vision the 19-year-old power forward was exhibiting. His ball-handling was also better than Jones’ ball-handling, which is amazing when you consider their size difference. Additionally, Sochan played quality defense and he scored a number of highly-contested buckets by noticing and exploiting mismatches. Now if he could only start knocking down three-pointers, this kid would really be cooking with gas.

Grade: A-

Keita Bates-Diop

Bates-Diop got off to a hot start and his early production kept the Spurs from falling too deep into an early deficit. He weaponized his unholy wingspan to score on a handful of difficult forays to the iron. His decisiveness and his running of the court were both traits that were giving the Spurs hope. Defensively, he was active and attentive.

Grade: A-

Josh Richardson

Richardson played his role well. His passing was better than usual and he was doing a good job of getting the team into the proper sets. After going 2-for-16 on three-pointers in the previous three games, he bounced back by hitting half of his four three-point attempts tonight. Defensively, Richardson competed and was one of the few players who wasn’t getting beat off the dribble consistently.

Grade: B+

Isaiah Roby

Roby was magnificent in the first half. He scored all 11 of his points in the opening two quarters and the trio of shots he splashed from long distance had perfect rotation. For a big, his shooting stroke looks pristine. Roby also had a world-class chasedown block in the first half that showcased his jaw-dropping athleticism. Sadly, his magic ran out during intermission because Roby didn’t do much of anything in the second half.

Grade: B

Jordan Hall

Quietly, Hall is showing why the Spurs have signed him so many times in the last few months. The undrafted rookie obviously has a really high basketball IQ. He understands how the game should be played and makes wise passes instinctually. He even flashed scoring potential tonight by stepping behind a pick and nailing a three. Hall is worrisomely unathletic but he even allayed some of those fears by producing on the glass with quick hands and physicality.

Grade: B

Charles Bassey

Unfortunately, the Bassey feel-good story has hit a roadblock. Tonight against the Kings, he was bad — there’s no way to sugarcoat it. First of all, his running up and down the court was in slow motion. On multiple occasions, teammates and coaches had to tell him to run harder. Secondly, his defense on the perimeter was horrid. He gave his opponent about ten feet of room instead of truly playing perimeter defense. Third, he wasn’t moving well on offense and was mostly just clogging the lane. Finally, he was extremely careless in multiple phases of the game — from setting obvious moving screens to making poor passes. Bassey needs to do a lot better to hold onto the backup center gig while Zach Collins is out.

Grade: D-

Gorgui Dieng

Dieng had to fill in for Bassey a couple times when the young player was making mistake after mistake. Dieng was better — but not a whole lot better. He was under control on both ends but his lack of mobility really hurt on defense against a run-and-gun Kings squad.

Grade: C+

Pop

I don’t have much to complain about regarding Pop’s coaching. His play-calling for Vassell resulted in a few wide open looks. I continue to love how he’s using Sochan. From playing him at point guard to giving him the most difficult defensive assignments, Pop is making sure the rookie learns all he can. I like how he gave Hall minutes and how he gave Bassey multiple tries to rediscover his footing. Pop has his guys playing hard — they’re just outgunned at this point in time.

Grade: A-