Sacramento Kings Team Previewby Jarbree Briggs October 14, 2021 1 comment
The Sacramento Kings finished the previous season with a 31-41 record for 12th in the Western Conference. On August 14, Vlade Divac resigned from his position as general manager, and Monte McNair was named as his successor. On November 25, Kings star De’Aaron Fox signed a five-year $163 million contract making it the most lucrative contract ever for a Kings player. For the 15th season in a row, the Kings failed to reach the playoffs, tying the Los Angeles Clippers for the longest NBA playoff drought and thus became the first team in NBA history to reach a 70-year title drought, not winning a title since 1951.
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Their quiet offseason could be an improvement towards the future. The Kings had the 9th overall pick in the draft and picked Baylor guard Davion Mitchell and Utah State center Neemias Queta with the 39th pick. Mitchell proved to be a steal by helping the Kings win the 2021 NBA Summer League championship and named Summer League MVP.
During free agency, the Kings re-signed big man Richaun Holmes to a four-year $46 million contract. Holmes averaged a career-high 14.2 points per game last season. The team also brought in Terence Davis and Maurice Harkless, who were key players on their bench. Alex Len was also signed by the Kings, coming from the Washington Wizards, on a two-year $7.6 million contract. Sacramento traded guard Delon Wright to the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team trade where they acquired big man Tristan Thompson from the Boston Celtics.
The Starting Five
PG – De’Aaron Fox
SG – Tyrese Haliburton
SF – Harrison Barnes
PF- Marvin Bagley III
C – Richaun Holmes
The Kings starting five have a mixture of talent, youth, and experience. Fox has already proven to be their star of the future, but his teammates must prove they can play with him. Their weak spot would be their defense which was subpar last season, ranking 17th and tied with the Miami Heat. That’s probably good being compared to the Heat in defense but not for a team that hasn’t been in the playoff for almost 15 years.
Expect Haliburton to have overcome the sophomore slump and show that his all-rookie first-team season was not for show. Marvin Bagley III had a low production year due to injuries and trade rumors over his head. Now in a contract year, expect Bagley to step it up on another level. His mindset is proving his worth and showing the Kings what’s he’s capable of.
The bench has been looking like a huge improvement compared to last season. Their bolster backcourt of guards is looking to earn minutes, so expect multiple lineups during the season. Mitchell will be a key piece coming off the bench with his scoring ability. The rookie guard is out to prove he’s the best in his draft class.
One Potential Move to Make
A Ben Simmons trade would be a logical scenario for the Kings. Simmons wants out of Philadelphia since last season’s playoffs and looking for a new franchise to call home. It’s rumored he wants a California team to be his next team. Sacramento would welcome Simmons with open arms, as the team finished 17th in defense last season and the two-team all-defensive first-teamer would bring a new defensive presence.
Simmons signed a five-year $177 million contract back in July 2019. The Kings are hard at the salary cap but parting ways with Buddy Hield, a young guard (Mitchell or Haliburton), and a first-round pick should get the job done to bring Simmons to Sac-Town.
Once again, this season will not be the year of the Kings. It will be a 16th season of not reaching the playoffs for Sacramento, but fans should still have hope. The Kings have a solid young core destined to show the NBA what they’re capable of and need to make moves soon to get them in the right direction. I expect a coaching change midseason, Luke Walton is not the coach to take the Kings to the promised land. They need a defensive-minded coach and a true leader to help the Kings improve.
Season Prediction: 36-46, Fourth in the Pacific Division
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images