Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Sacramento Kings Season Preview

Sacramento Kings Season Preview

Fresh off a 39-43 season that included a 12 win improvement from a year before, the Sacramento Kings have high expectations. With new free agency pieces, playoffs are the goal in this Sacramento Kings Season Preview.

Sacramento Kings 2019-20 Season Preview

Looking Back to Last Season

The Sacramento Kings became one of the rising teams to add to an already competitive Western Conference. Boasting one of the younger rosters in the league, the realistic goal ahead of the 2018 season was for Sacramento to show incremental growth. The Kings did not own their 2019 first-round pick, and their roster was largely inexperienced. Struggles were once again expected, but the hope was for the youth to trend in the right direction.

Instead, the Kings were not only fast-paced on the hardwood but so was the state of the franchise. Sacramento became increasingly competitive, keeping games close until the final buzzer with many of the league’s contenders. The Kings increased their win total by 12 and became the final team eliminated from playoff contention. In the loaded Western Conference, that speaks volumes, especially for a young roster.

De’Aaron Fox took a leap in becoming the leader of this team. Buddy Hield evolved into one of the league’s top three-point shooters. Marvin Bagley flashed potential in his rookie season, and Harrison Barnes filled the small forward void that was the missing piece.

Offseason Changes

Almost every team in the Western Conference added pieces to their respective rosters, which will make a Kings’ playoff appearance a bit more difficult. Make no mistake that Sacramento added pieces as well. Harrison Barnes re-signed long-term, rounding out the starting five for the future. After trial-and-error at addressing the need at small forward, Barnes officially ends that positional search.

Now with the starting unit set, Vlade Divac and the front office worked to build reliable depth on the bench. Dewayne Dedmon was signed as a legitimate center, in response to the departure of Willie Cauley-SteinCory Joseph was brought in to be the long-term backup point guard to Fox. Trevor Ariza and Sacramento came to terms on a two-year deal, bringing veteran and championship experience to the small forward spot.

Expectations for Next Season

After achieving a 39 win season that likely was earlier than expected, Sacramento cannot afford to go anywhere but up in 2019. The ultimate goal for this Kings squad is to end their playoff drought. Sacramento’s last postseason appearance was 13 seasons ago, good for the longest active streak in the NBA. After narrowly missing out on the playoffs a year ago, ending the drought is the logical goal.

Making the playoffs in the West is already a tall task, but the wild NBA offseason did not make it any easier for Sacramento. It seems like every Western Conference contender either added pieces or is returning experienced squads next season. Of last year’s playoff teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder seem like a safe bet to miss out on the playoffs next season. The Los Angeles Lakers are favorites to jump back into the postseason.

That means Sacramento must hope that another of last year’s West playoff teams fails to reach the postseason, thus offering a path for the Kings. The question is whether there is a playoff team from last year that fits the bill?

Sacramento Kings 2019-20 Season Prediction

The rest of the Western Conference got better, but the Kings made offseason improvements of their own. Sacramento re-signed the pieces they needed to and added significant depth in comparison to before. This gives new coach Luke Walton a variety of lineups he can throw at opponents. Walton can give Fox and others more rest, and have them ready to outrun and outpace opponents come crunch time.

An increase of eight wins seems viable, giving the Kings a 47-35 record. In recent seasons, 47 or 48 wins has been the benchmark of reaching the West playoffs in the seventh or eight seed. The Kings need to be able to not let games slip away and to come out on the winning side of close games against contenders. They also need to hope that luck bounces their way and that a team (perhaps the San Antonio Spurs) misses out and leaves a playoff spot for the taking.

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