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Is it time for Kings fans to panic?

Things aren't as good as they were, but things are still pretty good.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings lost to the lowly Lakers on Tuesday, bringing the Kings to a record of 11-11.  Five of the Kings 11 losses have come in the absence of DeMarcus Cousins, who is ailing with viral meningitis and could be out until sometime in January, according to various reports.  The Kings are just 2-5 without Cousins this season.  While the schedule has gotten easier recently, the Kings have shown that no win is a given when Cousins is out of the lineup, so it is time to panic?

No.  But it is time to be realistic.  The Kings are a team built around Cousins, and an extended absence hurts the team's chance at winning games.  With Cousins, it's hard to imagine the Kings dropping their recent games against the Lakers and the Orlando Magic.  Without Cousins, it's hard to imagine the Kings beating the Houston Rockets, the Oklahoma City Thunder, or the Golden State Warriors, all of whom are on the docket in the next two weeks.

The Kings will likely lose games they may have otherwise won, even against opponents like the Detroit Pistons or the Milwaukee Bucks.  The Kings will probably be below .500 by the time Boogie returns to the team.  That sucks, but it's hardly worth panicking over.

This season was such a fun surprise.  Hell, the Kings are at .500 right now.  It's December and the Kings have been playing .500 basketball.  I'm just going to keep repeating this because it needs to sink in.  The Kings have a .500 record on December 10th.

The Kings were unlikely to make the playoffs this year.  The West is simply too tough.  The Thunder are charging back up the standings to join a formidable top 9 teams in the West.  But, because it bears repeating, the Kings are currently 9th in the West.  On December 10th.

This season has been a wonderful turning point for the franchise, showing that things are truly, finally moving in the right direction.  But progress isn't linear, and a setback like this was inevitable.  It's highlighted the flaws with the Kings, like the lack of reliable bench production or three point shooting, but those flaws were already there.  They're simply more obvious now.

The Kings are still a work in progress.  Boogie can't get back soon enough, but this season is still the best season Kings fans have enjoyed in years.