Sitting in the eleventh spot in the Western Conference with the 28-36 win/loss ratio, the Sacramento Kings are not particularly the underdog with hidden superpowers that everybody’s rooting for when the season resumes in late July.
Breathing Down the Grizzlies’ Neck
Just 3.5 games away from the eighth playoff spot, the Kings share this number with the Pelicans and the Blazers. But the latter had two additional games to play before the shutdown, thus they hold the tiebreaker advantage, conveniently sitting at 29-37.
The ninth place must be within the four-point range of the eighth in order to get a shot at the playoffs. With three teams in a similar position, it’s going to be a close call.
The Kings are coming into the renewed season with the same roster that they had prior, but nobody seems to be on the lookout for a big surprise. The media’s focus is Portland and New Orleans. That might actually be a good thing: less buzz, less pressure for the Kings.
Will Bagley Lead the Fight?
But the Kings need to get it together in order to achieve anything. One of the assets to help them during this season was supposed to be Marvin Bagley III. Sadly, the player’s form hasn’t been top-notch.
The promising center from the 2018 draft has only played three games this year, and he was not posing much of a threat to the opponents’ net.
But Bagley is going to be back, and the narrative in place is that he will return with a bang, leading the team by example just like he did during the better parts of 2019.
Catch the Fox
Another wildcard for the Kings is the dynamic Fox, whose talent has been the most exhilarating thing about the team for a while now.
Fast, creative, risky yet brilliant – Fox is not just playing the game, he’s dancing the game. He would’ve been on everyone’s mind if not for the disappointing start of the season for the Kings.
Despite missing 17 games at the end of 2019, Fox is now back with an impressive 20.4 points per game. He’s been a force of nature: if anybody can skyrocket the Kings to the playoffs, it’s Fox.
The Overall Pace
This leads us to the last point: the pace of the team. The last season’s Kings were spending more time in transition than any other team, and that’s exactly why Fox was able to flourish. But things have changed.
Coach Walton has been shuffling things around, and many say it hasn’t been for the better. The ‘things’ include the team’s pace, which is now slower than before and thus hard for Fox to adjust to.
Many call it an identity crisis, appealing to the team’s inability to determine the core players and strategies to build around.
Sacramento doesn’t seem to be having the best chances to squeeze itself into the playoffs, but at least it has some.
With necessary adjustments in place and well-performing players like Fox and Bagley, it is not unlikely for the Kings to prove the naysayers wrong.
Will the stars align for Sacramento? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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