Three things are constant in life. Those are death, taxes and the Sacramento Kings missing the playoffs. After more than a decade of being on the losing side, the Kings are starting to look a bit promising for the upcoming 2022-23 NBA season.
Sacramento finished the 2021-22 NBA season with a disappointing 30-52 record. The past 16 years haven’t been nice to Sacramento. As the 12th seed in the Western Conference for the third straight season, the team hasn’t done anything to improve. The team has collected immense talent over the years but couldn’t make it work. These Kings have been working on surrounding De’Aaron Fox with a capable supporting cast that could help them return to postseason action.
Ever since drafting Fox, Sacramento hasn’t gained any remarkable number of wins. It is worth mentioning that the front office is to blame for this abysmal outcome. Over the past five seasons, the team has had three different head coaches. Because of this, the players haven’t had the chance to learn the coach’s system. It’s difficult for players to develop a winning mentality when the front office keeps altering the team’s personnel.
But some signs point to the Sacramento Kings being done losing. With a new head coach, a promising young star, and a capable superstar, they might return to winning this coming season.
The Sacramento Kings’ new personnel has enough experience to help the team get back to being winners
First off, let’s talk about their mid-season acquisition last year. The Sacramento Kings traded three players during the NBA trade deadline in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday, Jeremy Lamb and a future second-round pick. It was a controversial trade since the Kings gave up a promising young guard in Tyrese Haliburton. They didn’t win many games after the deal, and Sabonis only played 15 games for the rest of the season.
- Domantas Sabonis stats (2021-22): 18.9 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 5.8 APG, 55% shooting
But one thing that fans overlooked after the controversial trade is that the Kings’ front office is finally making moves to build around Fox. The former Kentucky Wildcats guard is 24 years old and is entering his prime as a player. So, if my assessment is correct, the organization is making moves to help his development. It’s about time for them to make significant advances to the roster. Being a top-five pick back in 2017, it’s about time that he gets to experience postseason action.
Sacramento isn’t that big of a city, and it works hard to please players so they won’t leave for the big NBA cities. By acquiring Sabonis, the Kings have shown Fox that they are willing to give him enough support to get back in the playoffs. Even if fans don’t like the trade, they needed someone who’s ready to help De’Aaron Fox take the team to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, Haliburton is a very talented prospect. But the team looks like it’s done developing talent. The addition of the All-Star forward can help take the pressure off of Fox.
Another move that they’ve made is add an experienced head coach. Hopefully, the front office won’t give up on Mike Brown that easily. The players will need some time learning his system. It won’t be an easy ride. The new head coach had just finished a season with the Golden State Warriors, where they won the 2022 championship. Brown is an experienced coach who’s won multiple titles. It could motiveate the players to learn his playbook much quicker.
The final addition I want to point out is the Kings selecting Keegan Murray with the fourth pick during this year’s NBA Draft. The 22-year old forward looks like a complete player that could be the third option for the team. His ability to score from anywhere could cause problems for opposing defenses. During his last season with the Iowa Hawkeyes, Murray averaged 23.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks on 55% from the field and 39% from the perimeter. It looks like the Kings hit the jackpot with Murray. During the Summer League games, he posted similar averages and was named the MVP of the tournament.
The Sacramento Kings should fixate their eyes on the Play-In Tournament to be realistic
The Kings are looking like they finally have a direction this season. With veteran guys and a few young players capable of contributing big time, the team is on the path to get back to the win column this season. Now, it won’t be an easy journey. The Sacramento Kings might struggle at first, but as long as they’re on the same page, they’ll probably do well.
I’m not expecting them to be the top-seeded team in the west after next season. To achieve that, they’ll need a generational talent like LeBron James or Stephen Curry and a highly-intelligent coach capable of turning things around. The team has a shot at making it to the Play-In Tournament after the 2022-23 NBA season. They could end up as the ninth seed and probably snatch the eighth seed from whichever team has it. If they take that direction, there’s no way to go than up.
NBA fans are hopeful that the Sacramento Kings can return to their winning ways. It would allow the young players a chance at a different level of competition. Plus, the Minnesota Timberwolves have returned to the playoffs, so it’s about time they make notable moves for a chance to return to the postseason.