The Kings' Playoff Chances
The young Kings in Sacramento are riding the ninth playoff spot in the Western Conference as of just after the All-Star break. They haven’t won more than 33 games in the past 10 years and currently have 31 wins against 28 losses. The Kings are 3 games out of the five spot and 1.5 games behind the Spurs and Clippers who are tied in the seven and eight hole.
The prognosticators at 538 project the Kings finishing the season with a 40-42 record and missing the playoffs. The playoff odds are only at 14%, with the Lakers at 20% and the Clippers at 68%; however, the Kings traded for Harrison Barnes and the Clippers traded away Tobias Harris. This tells us that these two squads are looking to head in different directions for the rest of the season.
The front office, seemingly, went all-in for the postseason by trading for Harrison Barnes. Barnes is a professional scorer, averaging more than 17 points per game for the past four seasons. He brings playoff experience and a championship ring to the capital of California. Barnes is more firepower to a team with seven double-digit scorers.
Marvin Bagley III has finally come into his own as of late. He is averaging 17 points per game over his last 12 contests and already has a dozen double-doubles this season. The Bag-Man should earn an All-Rookie honor this season, along with Harry Giles. Also, he can do this:
De’Aaron Fox probably deserved to be an All-Star by leading the Kings to a winning record and notching 17 points & seven assists with a PER of 17.9. His defense is radical, seemingly able to cover two opponents at once with his speed and length.
Buddy Hield is netting 47% from three on high volume shooting (7.6 3’s per game). His 20 points per game average leads the team and it is reported to be sixth in the league is distance covered while being first in speed for players averaging more than 20 minutes per game. This means that he is running faster and further than any other player in the NBA. He very well could be the hardest working player in the NBA, which is no surprise to anyone who watched him improve over four years in college at Oklahoma.
The home stretch of the season sees the Kings facing the Rockets twice along with the Lakers, Spurs, Clippers & Jazz once apiece. These squads are whom Sacramento needs to move ahead of in order to exorcise the 13-year postseason drought. The pristine Golden One Center in Sacramento is more than ready to turn into a deafening cathedral for playoff glory. This city has waited long enough for heroes to cheer.