The First Stretch

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Many times NBA coaches split the season up into ten game segments. Theoretically, if a team can win 6 of 10 in each series, they will make the playoffs. This year is the first time in quite a while that the Kings are being talked about as playoff contenders. It is extremely important for the Kings to get off to a good start so they aren't playing catchup throughout the season. The Western Conference has six teams that will most likely take a playoff spot in the Thunder, Clippers, Warriors, Grizzlies, Rockets and Spurs. This leaves two spots left for the fringe teams which will consist of the Kings, Suns, Jazz, Pelicans, Mavericks, and possibly the Trailblazers. Unfortunately, seven of the Kings first ten games are against 2014-2015 playoff teams. The good news is that eight of our first ten games are at home. This should give us a huge advantage. We will be taking a high level overview of each matchup to try and predict where our record will stand after 10 games.

Game 1: 10/28

Clippers @ Kings

Offseason additions: Josh Smith, Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson (subtraction by addition?)

Key Matchup: Rondo vs Paul

Why? This will be the first of many tests for Rondo's defense. Chris Paul eats most teams alive with a solid defender at PG and if Rondo doesn't put in defensive effort, Paul will destroy the Kings through pick and roll. I imagine this will also be Boogie's first test of patience with Rondo as he will get frustrated and pick up unnecessary fouls if Paul is slicing up our backcourt defense.

End Result: I think Rondo surprises skeptics and puts in quite a bit of effort on the defensive end. Collison can also come in as the SG and put some different pressure on Paul. The Kings will be excited to be on their home floor and the home fans will push the Kings to a close victory. The Kings new found depth will also surprise teams and our bench should regularly outscore other benches.

Kings win 108 - Clippers 102

Game 2: 10/30

Lakers @ Kings

Offseason additions: Lou Williams, Roy Hibbert, D'Angelo Russell

Key Matchup: Kobe vs Old Age

Why? The Lakers are not going to be very good this year. Hibbert is not a very good on-ball defender and Russell will probably struggle as a rookie. Kobe has battled injuries for a couple of years and needs to play phenomenally for this team to look decent.

End Result: This should be the easiest of the Kings' first ten games. I see Boogie dominating Hibbert down low and Rondo teaching Russell a few tricks. Cauley-Stein should be able to handle Randle on the defensive end and I have no fear of Hibbert vs Cousins. The only potential spoiler is Kobe or Lou Williams going off for 30 points.

Kings win 105 - Lakers 90

Game 3: 10/31

Kings @ Clippers

Offseason additions: Josh Smith, Paul Pierce, Lance Stephenson

Key Matchup: Boogie vs Blake

Why? Although these two won't guard each other much, Blake and Boogie are the two most dominant offensive players on the court. Each year, Blake seems to add a little something to his game and I expect his midrange jumper to be more on point this year. WCS should be a huge help in this area as JT wasn't the most adept at covering stretch fours.

End Result: The Kings have their first rough game and let Chris Paul have his way on offense. Blake Griffin has a big game as WCS tries hard, but is still a rookie on the defensive end. Blake has a +8 assist game from alley-oops to Deandre Jordan.

Clippers win 102 - Kings 95

Game 4: 11/3

Grizzlies @ Kings

Offseason additions: Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins, Brendan Wright

Key Matchup: #1 NBA Center vs #2 NBA Center

Why? Marc Gasol is in his prime years while DMC is still entering them. Gasol is an extremely smart player who will dominate a game if you give him any room. Cousins dominates every game in which he is mentally and emotionally engaged. The Grizzlies added some more gritty depth with Barnes and Wright. The Randolph/Gasol combo will probably be a weaker pairing this year with Randolph at 34 and Gasol at 30.

End Result: The Kings are a deeper team and our bench should dominate the Grizzlies' bench. Mike Conley will give our guards trouble and Gasol could hurt us from the outside. This should be a close matchup, however the Kings are at home so I believe we pull out a close win.

Kings win 103 - Grizzlies 100

Game 5: 11/4

Kings @ Suns

Offseason additions: Mirza Teletovic, Tyson Chandler, Devin Booker

Key Matchup: Bledsoe vs Kings starting SG

Why? I'm not entirely confident Ben McLemore will keep his starting spot under George Karl for very long. Eric Bledsoe is dangerous in the open court and a decent outside shooter at about 34%. He can slash and pass and is a threat for a triple double if left unchecked.

End Result: The Kings will dominate the Suns as have a more skilled starting lineup, the best two players on the court in Gay and Cousins, and I will be attending the game and I refuse to acknowledge the fact that the Kings will lose a game that I will be attending.

Kings win 110 - Suns 92

Game 6: 11/6

Rockets @ Kings

Offseason additions: Ty Lawson, Marcus Thornton

Key Matchup: Harden vs Kings starting SG

Why? James Harden is probably the craftiest player in the NBA. What he lacks in speed and accuracy he makes up for in drawing fouls and tricking inexperienced defenders. Unfortunately, the Kings don't have a player in their starting lineup that can guard Harden unless we start Collison. Ty Lawson will also be interesting as he is a good spot up shooter and Harden will draw our defense in for kickouts.

End Result: The Rockets may be the second best team in the Western Conference and I believe they will show it against the Kings. Cousins usually dominates Howard, but the combination of Harden and Lawson will really hurt the Kings.

Houston wins 102 - 90

Game 7: 11/7

Warriors @ Kings

Offseason additions: Jason Thompson

Key Matchup: Klay Thompson vs Kings starting SG

Why? 37 point barrage

End Result: The Warriors are a better team than the Kings and will show it throughout the game. The Warriors will hurt the Kings from 3 point range and cause unnecessary turnovers from the Kings. Boogie will get into foul trouble and become visibly frustrated with the guards. This will be the first time during the season that the media brings up the Kings chemistry as a possible issue.

Warriors win 112 - Kings 93

Game 8: 11/9

Spurs @ Kings

Offseason additions: LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Ray Mac

Key Matchup: Tony Parker vs retirement

Why? Although Tim Duncan's age is often talked about, Tony Parker has shown his age in the last two seasons. While the Spurs loaded up in the frontcourt this offseason, their backcourt may have some serious issues if Tony Parker continues to regress. Mills and Ray Mac will backup Parker, while Green and Leonard can have some ball handling responsibilities.

End Result: The Spurs will have some chemistry issues in adding a PF to a roster with another PF, but Leonard is one of the most versatile players in the NBA and Aldridge will give the Kings trouble as a stretch 4/5. The Kings struggle against constant ball movement which Pop basically invented.

Spurs win 104 - Kings 92

Game 9: 11/11

Pistons @ Kings

Offseason additions: Ersan Illyasova, Steve Blake, Aaron Baynes, Marcus Morris, Stanley Johnson, Danny Granger

Key Matchup: Cousins vs Drummond

Why? Andre Drummond and DMC are two of the best rebounders in the league. They both gobble up their own misses and draw fouls on opposing players with second and third attempts. Whichever player can get the other one in foul trouble will have a huge advantage. The Pistons are one of the weirdest teams in the NBA and I cannot figure out how everything is going to fit together.

End Result: The Kings are a better team overall and should take this one. The Kings should be deeper and have the best player on the court in DMC. If you are ever unsure, take the team with the best player.

Kings win 105 - Pistons 97

Game 10: 11/13

Nets @ Kings

Offseason additions: Andrea Bargnani, Wayne Ellington, Ronda Hollis-Jefferson, Dahntay Jones, Shane Larkin, Donald Sloan, Quincy Miller

Key Matchup: Brook Lopez vs DMC

Why? Brook Lopez is one of the best big men in the game when healthy. Unfortunately, he has had an injury plagued career and hasn't been nearly effective as he could have been. Cousins should dominate Lopez on the block and have a very solid game. Rudy Gay should have a solid offensive game as the Nets don't have a player to take him on the block or on the perimeter.

End Result: Kings win! The Nets are another team that has an odd roster with some duplicate pieces. We should be hitting our stride as a team and the chemistry will have built up quite a bit by now. We end our first ten game stretch on a high note and DMC, Gay, Rondo, Karl, and Vlade end the game with a group hug.

Kings win 102 - Nets 91

I promise I predicted the wins after writing the Kings needed to win six out of ten to make the playoffs. After the predictions I have the Kings sitting at 6-4. We beat the Clippers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pistons, Nets, and Suns. We lost to the Spurs, Warriors, Clippers, and Rockets. Starting out the season at 6-4 would be a huge success for the Kings and I believe we will continue to get better as the season progresses, chemistry improves, and minor trades occur.

Let me know your thoughts!

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)