No kidding: Cauley-Stein — Kings can’t use youth as an excuse

Willie Cauley-Stein of the struggling Kings believes the players must be more accountable for their play.

The Sacramento Kings are going through the struggles that commonly come when a team is built around youth.

With 10 of the 15 players on their roster having three or less seasons of experience, it should come as no surprise that the Kings have gone 13-29 just past the halfway point of the 2017-18 season.

Coach Dave Joerger’s squad was walloped by the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center, 126-105. It was the Kings’ fourth consecutive loss and their seventh in their last eight games.

Third-year big man Willie CauleyStein, who had 23 points and 13 rebounds in the latest loss, has had enough.

“If you’re not doing your job right, next man up, you get your turn next time it comes around,” he said. “I think it’s got to happen like that, even for myself.”

Sacramento was down from the jump against the Clippers. It trailed at halftime, 64-45, and was never really in the game. Slow starts have plagued the Kings all season.

“I think it’s tough on Coach because we’re pros and you should be able to take care of that at a pro level, but we’re also young and a lot of us just came out of college, too,” Cauley-Stein said. “We might have to take it back to a college feel for a second until dudes recognize this is how it is and how it’s got to be.”

Youth and inexperience was not an excuse Saturday afternoon, though. While Joerger has used 18 different starting lineups this season, his starters against the Clippers was veterans Zach Randolph, George Hill and Garrett Temple, along with Cauley-Stein and rookie Da’Aaron Fox.

Cayley-Stein wasn’t playing the youth-and-inexperience card afterward.

“Yeah, but we’ve got a lot of old dudes playing, too, so it’s not just young dudes playing,” he said. “Otherwise, it’s a whole different feel if it was five young dudes out there. Most of time, it’s three old dudes and two young dudes, (or) a couple of young dudes and maybe some three-to-four-year dudes that’s playing.

“So it’s really frustrating, but it is what it is, so you’ve just got to keep pushing and learn from it.”

Sacramento plays at Oklahoma City (23-20) on Monday night.