Those who assumed Georgios Papagiannis was recalled from the Reno Bighorns of the G League for extended playing time with the Kings apparently were wrong.
JaKarr Sampson was listed as the Kings starting center for Wednesday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
Zach Randolph, who had been starting at center, was listed as a forward along with Garrett Temple. George Hill and De’Aaron Fox were the guards.
Skal Labissiere, who started at power forward two games ago, was sent to the Bighorns on Tuesday, when Papagiannis was recalled.
“I don’t know that he’ll see a lot of action the next two games,” Kings coach Dave Joerger said of Papagiannis. “It’s an opportunity, organizational decision and I’m a team guy so we’ll play a little smaller and it’s opportunity for Skal as well.”
Sampson is one of Sacramento’s two-way players who can spend up to 45 days with their NBA team and are mainly with the development-league affiliate in Reno.
Joerger had been impressed with Sampson’s versatility. Listed at 6-foot-9 and 207 pounds, Joerger said Sampson can also play either forward spot.
He’s started 72 of the 150 NBA games he’s appeared in since 2014.
The Cavaliers do not use a traditional center, starting Kevin Love and bringing Channing Frye off the bench. Both are 3-point threats, so using a smaller player against them makes sense.
Injury note – Willie Cauley-Stein (strained lower back) is not on the two-game trip and Joerger said it’s “hard to say” if Cauley-Stein would be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game against Toronto at Golden 1 Center.
Cauley-Stein was injured in the second quarter of Saturday’s loss at Milwaukee and is listed as day-to-day.