This season hasn't gone as well as some had hoped. At the break, this team currently is tied for last in the Western Conference (with the Lakers!) at 18-35, on pace to match last season's 28-54, or slightly surpass if you take into account the Kings record with a healthy Cousins/Gay/Thomas.
With 29 games left, there isn't much for this Kings team to prove. The playoffs are laughably out of reach, and any moves the Kings might make this week will likely be with the future in mind.
Still, that doesn't mean the Kings shouldn't have some goals that they try to achieve, both on a team and individual level. For this exercise, let's assume that nobody on the team is traded by the deadline on Thursday.
The biggest goal I can think of for this team to accomplish is to continue to get their defense in line. Establishing that defensive mindset will be key for the players that return for next year. The Kings are actually on the right path here as in February they held opponents to just 43.1% from the field. The Kings are currently 28th in the league in Defensive Rating, allowing 109 points per 100 possessions. The 20th ranked team is at 107.7 while the league average is 105.8. If Sacramento can bring down their Defensive Rating from 109 to say 107 by the season's end, I would say that's valuable progress, and a much better foundation to work with next year.
My goal for DeMarcus Cousins, aside from keeping up his incredible production, is to go the rest of the season without reaching his 16th technical foul. Currently, he has 12, which leads the league. Keep calm big guy, and let your play do the talking for you.
Rudy's been great since coming to the Kings, although lately his shooting percentages have started to fall back to Earth just a little bit. He's now at 50.5% with the Kings. If he can end the season above 48%, I think that would be a good sign going forward.
Thomas has had a fantastic season himself, and is set to get paid this summer because of it. Thomas is a natural scorer, and as such, questions about how well he can run an offense continue to surround him, despite him averaging nearly 7 assists as a starter and being 12th in the entire league in assist rate. Still, I would like to see him continue to make progress as a floor leader and getting guys their shots.
Thompson has already done a good job of bouncing back after a terrible start to his season, but one area where he's still struggling a lot with is fouls. JT's fouls per 36 (4.7) are the highest they've been since his rookie year (4.9). Just a couple years ago he had it down to 3.2 and last year was 3.6. JT works better than any other option the Kings have next to Cousins, so it helps a lot when he can stay on the court.
Ben has had a rough rookie campaign, shooting 36.6% from the field, and even less than that from three. Most of the things that he needs to work on (his handle, his shot) will take an offseason or more. The only thing I can ask of Ben is that he keeps trying and never gives up. By that I mean, continue to make every effort on both ends and take the shots that are given to him.
Derrick's a unique talent, because he's good at a lot of things and consistent at none of them. I'd like to see him focus on attacking the basket more, where he's excellent both around the rim and drawing fouls. It's infuriating to see him start a drive and then opt to pull up for a contested jumper rather than continue on towards the rim.
There perhaps hasn't been a more disappointing player this season than Marcus Thornton. Thornton is averaging career lows in almost every category as he's struggled to adjust to a supporting role. He's had big games this year, including tying his career-high, but all those games have come with him being a big part of the offense. Of 46 games this year, Marcus has shot 10 or more shots just 14 times. In those 14 games, he's hit 50% or more of his shots eight times. In the other 32 games, he's shot 50% or more just six times, with five of those games coming on four attempts or fewer. Marcus needs to find a way to be able to contribute as a role player.
For Jimmer, I think this is more of a personal goal. Even if Jimmer stays on the Kings past the deadline, I struggle to see a scenario in which he re-signs with the Kings. So for Jimmer, the best he can do is continue to play aggressive and confident, because that's going to be the best thing for both him and the Kings.
Travis had a great start to the season but has since fallen off. My goal for him is to get his shooting percentage back up above 40%.
I love what Quincy has brought to the Kings so far with his hustle on both sides of the court. Acy's unique in that for a hustle guy, he's actually got a bit of an offensive game. In fact, I'd like to see him take more corner threes. He's got the range, and it would open things up for Sacramento's offense.
For Carl it's a simple goal. He just needs to use these final games to get back into game shape. It's clear from the minutes he's getting now that he's not at full strength yet, with his explosiveness especially noticeable in its absence. Carl can be a useful piece to this team, but he needs to be 100% first.
Ray will probably see some more D-League action before the season's up. So far, he's proved to be an excellent scorer in Reno, but I think it's his defensive potential that will give him a spot in the league. Ray should make it a point to make sure the guys he goes up against don't get anything easy offensively.
Aaron's goal should be to be bitten by a radioactive spider so that the ball sticks to his hands. Barring that, Aaron should just keep on keeping on.
Those are my goals for the Kings for the rest of this season. Leave yours in the comments below.