Kings vs. Lakers: What to Watch for in Friday's California Showdown

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 19, 2012

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 03:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a shot during their game against the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena on November 3, 2010 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The stars are always out in California, and even though it's the NBA preseason, there are certainly going to be intriguing things to watch for when the Sacramento Kings take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

While the team from Los Angeles is receiving as much hype as any team in recent memory, the Kings are fighting to keep the team in Sacramento and have some solid developing players of their own.

Other than how many movie stars will be in attendance, here's what's happening that's sure to pique even the casual fan's interest in this otherwise relatively meaningless game.


Will the Lakers establish chemistry?

In the grand scheme of an 82-game season and a perceived deep playoff run, the Lakers will likely look back on the preseason and laugh. That said, it would be ideal for all of their star players to get on the same page before the significant games begin.

There's always time during the course of the season to adjust. But the sooner the better for Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, who have yet to coexist well in the backcourt.

Since Nash is a bit of a liability defensively, it's perfect that Dwight Howard is there to man the paint while Kobe's All-NBA defensive prowess can lock down the perimeter, along with Ron Artest. I mean Metta World Peace.

It will also be interesting to see how Antawn Jamison fits in off the bench, as he hasn't performed very well at power forward.

Plenty of questions surround the Lakers. but Howard may return tonight, according to Marcus J. Spears of Yahoo! Also back in the fold may be Pau Gasol, who sat last game due to rest, as reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times.

Even if that's not the case, one positive is that Mike Brown can experiment with different lineups to see how his stars mesh with other key role players.


Can Tyreke Evans settle in at 2-guard?

Typically more of a Derrick Rose-type, scoring point guard, Evans has had to adjust to playing off the ball. The acquisition of purer point guard Aaron Brooks and the presence of surprising second-year PG Isaiah Thomas hasn't helped matters.

Oh, and Jimmer Fredette and John Salmons are other wing players that need to grab some minutes somewhere, as does combo guard Francisco Garcia.

The Sacramento backcourt is quite simply a disaster.

Evans even spent some time at small forward last season in addition to shooting guard, but couldn't get comfortable at either spot. Thus far in the preseason, Evans has been out of sync and only shot 34 percent from the field.

For a player who has made a living his entire basketball career by using his athleticism against opposing point guards to get to the hoop or create his own shot, the transition has been rough. The former lottery pick who has undeniable talent is totally out of his element in his current role.

With the opportunity to extend Evans, the Kings haven't made much movement in that direction. This could set up a trade possibility, or a restricted free agency situation for the Sacramento guard.

As Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee noted back in April, the front office was entertaining trade offers for Evans in the offseason.

Amidst all the turmoil, and In matching up against Bryant on Friday, Evans will have his hands full. The development of his strange odyssey in Sacramento is bound to take another bizarre turn in the process.


The Rookies

All eyes should be on Thomas Robinson, who had an impressive start to the preseason against Phoenix but has struggled offensively since.

To be fair, the No. 5 overall pick is still adjusting to a rather dysfunctional team, and he has played solid defense and rebounded the ball exceptionally. His ability to do the dirty work while still having a huge impact on the stat sheet is why Sacramento selected the former Kansas star.

On the other side, Robert Sacre has been a pleasant surprise in L.A. 

The seven-footer out of Gonzaga was particularly aggressive in the Jazz game when he registered nine points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks before fouling out in 27 minutes.

Despite the fouls, Sacre is showing the tenacity required to have a shot at a roster spot.

From the early flashes he is showing, Sacre could possibly be a viable backup to Howard right away. He certainly has the length to bother shots on the defensive end, and is showing he can be an efficient offensive player at the NBA level.

Both of these gigantic early 20-somethings are bound to provide highlight reel material at the very least on Friday night.

How each can establish their role on their respective teams will be among the most interesting developments to watch in a matchup that should generate plenty of excitement on both sides.


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