The Sacramento Kings are coming off their best season in nearly two decades. The Kings look to make the playoffs for consecutive seasons for the first time since 2003-04 and 2004-05.
2023-24 NBA Power Rankings Offseason Edition: No. 6 Sacramento Kings
Sacramento went 48-34 last year, which was good enough for third in the Western Conference. But the Kings lost in the first round to the Lakers. The 48 victories were their most since the 2004-05 campaign, when they won 50 games, and it was their first playoff appearance since 2005-06. It has been two decades since the Kings have won a playoff series.
A big reason for Sacramento’s success last year was the Kings’ offensive prowess. The Kings were the top rated offensive team in the league and highest scoring team at 120. The Kings also shot the ball real well last year, finishing second in the NBA at 49.4%. They were also fifth in 3-pointers made (13.4), ninth in 3-point percentage (36.9%), third in free throws made, and 12th in free throw percentage.
Another key for the Kings last year was their health. Each of their top eight players played at least 73 games. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis are coming off career seasons. Kevin Huerter had his best season shooting the ball, while Keegan Murray was a 2022-23 All-NBA Rookie first-team selection. Harrison Barnes and Malik Monk also averaged double-figures, giving the Kings six players with 12 or more points.
Second-year head coach Mike Brown will have to tighten up the Kings’ defense if they will be contenders. Sacramento ranks 25th in defensive rating as opponents shot 49.2% from the field (29th) and 37.3% from deep (26th). They did a fair job keeping opponents off the foul line and forcing turnovers.
Sacramento made several moves this offseason. The Kings selected Olivier-Maxence Prosper in the first round but sent him and Richaun Holmes to Dallas. The Kings swapped second-round picks with Boston, sending Jordan Walsh to the Celtics for Colby Jones. Additionally, draft-and-stash prospect Sasha Vezenkov, selected with the 57th pick in 2017, decided to come over from Europe, and the Kings acquired Chris Duarte from Indiana.
Best Offseason Move: Re-Signing Harrison Barnes
Barnes was the Kings’ most important free agent. But the 31-year-old forward didn’t even hit free agency, as he re-signed with the team for $54 million over three years. Barnes will make $17 million this year and get a $1 million jump in the next two seasons.
Barnes is excellent at drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line. He is also an above-average 3-point and free-throw shooter. Barnes is also an underrated defender and passer.
Barnes took a little back seat offensively due to the Kings’ influx of offensive talent. Still, he averaged 15.0 points on 9.6 shots and 4.9 rebounds. He produced a shooting slash line of .473/.374/.847.
Re-signing Barnes and extending Sabonis, which was also an excellent decision, means that the Kings have 10 players under contract for 2024-25. It also gives them potentially seven players for 2025-26.
Worst Offseason Decision: Not Applicable
The Kings didn’t do anything crazy and improved their depth with the addition of Vezenkov. The only possible criticism is that Sacramento could have improved its defense. But we will have to wait to see what Brown comes up with scheme-wise, or the Kings will have to make an in-season move or two.
What’s Next? Heading To Training Camp
Sacramento is presumably happy with heading into the season with an open roster spot as they have 14 players on standard contracts, plus three two-way players. The Kings signed several bigs this offseason to compete for a roster spot. However, they released Skal Labissiere, Neemais Queta, and Nerlens Noel after inking JaVale McGee to a fully guaranteed deal.
The Kings may add a player after training camp cuts. The Kings are about $19 million under the luxury tax, so they have plenty of room to add a player.