Sacramento Kings 2021-22 Season Preview

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The Sacramento Kings have now missed the playoffs for 15 consecutive years. A historic feat, as they’ve now matched the LA Clippers for the longest playoff drought in NBA history.

The Clippers though endured their barren spell from 1977 to 1991. Now thirty years removed, time has hopefully had the chance to heal some wounds. For fans of the Sacramento Kings, however, the pain is fresh, and the nightmare may seem never-ending. Will things be any different in Sacramento this season?

Sacramento Kings 2021-22 Season Preview

2020-21 Season Recap

Like most seasons, the 2020-21 season was tough for the Kings. Their Achilles heel was without a doubt their defense. They simply don’t play any. Not only did Sacramento have the league’s worst defense last season, but they also posted the second-worst defensive rating in league history.

On the other side of the ball, the Kings had an offensive rating of 113.7 – enough for the 11th best in the League. Spearheaded by dynamic point guard De’Aaron Fox, it was solely the offense that kept the Kings competitive throughout the season.

Fox’s electrifying speed drew the attention of defenses and consistently generated easy looks for his teammates. On the interior, center Richaun Holmes and forward Harrison Barnes both put up career-best seasons statistically. Whilst first-year player Tyrese Haliburton impressed throughout, ultimately finishing third for rookie of the year.

The Kings finished last season with a 31-41 record, enough for 12th place in the Western Conference. Despite their historically bad defense, they only just missed out on the Play-In Tournament, finishing two wins shy of the 10th seed.

Sacramento Kings Offseason Moves

Sacramento’s best pickup of the off-season came in this year’s draft. With the ninth overall selection, the Kings took point guard Davion Mitchell from Baylor.

Already a high-level defender for his size and age, Mitchell possesses traits that will hopefully make the Kings grittier and more competitive this season. With Mitchell on the squad, the team should start to build a defensive identity if they all buy-in.

Further, the Kings also added centers Tristan Thompson and Alex Len this off-season. The pair of big men will hopefully provide the Kings with better rim protection across their rotation for the 2021-22 season.

Importantly, the Kings were also able to hold onto sharp-shooter Buddy Hield despite interest from the Los Angeles Lakers.

Expectations For This Season

After years of consistent disappointment, it’s hard to ever set the bar too high for the Kings. The main issue for this team is their defense. If they can’t find a way of fixing it, it will simply be more of the same heartache for Sacramento this season.

However, improving on it could have the Kings at least making the play-in tournament. Fox is a star point guard, but the Kings also need more from other players for this team to reach their full potential. Consistency from Hield and further development from Haliburton is a must if the Kings are to make any sort of noise in the West.

However, when you look at the Western Conference – it’s hard to see any team out of the Lakers, Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, or Dallas Mavericks regressing significantly enough this year to miss the postseason.

That leaves the Kings, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and San Antonio Spurs all competing for the additional two play-in spots. It’s once again going to be an uphill battle for the Sacramento Kings in an extremely loaded Western Conference.

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