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Why I've stopped stressing about the Kings winning or losing this season

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last night the Sacramento Kings experienced their 41st loss of the season.  The loss itself barely registered with me.  You see, I'm done worrying about the Kings winning or losing, at least for this year.

One of my favorite books in the world is Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Here's a quote:

Eskimos had over two hundred different words for snow, without which their conversation would probably have got very monotonous. So they would distinguish between thin snow and thick snow, light snow and heavy snow, sludgy snow, brittle snow, snow that came in flurries, snow that came in drifts, snow that came in on the bottom of your neighbor's boots all over your nice clean igloo floor, the snows of winter, the snows of spring, the snows you remember from your childhood that were so much better than any of your modern snow, fine snow, feathery snow, hill snow, valley snow, snow that falls in the morning, snow that falls at night, snow that falls all of a sudden just when you were going out fishing, and snow that despite all your efforts to train them, the huskies have pissed on.

Fans of the Sacramento Kings probably have over two hundred different words for losing.  Losses that you can't explain, losses that make you feel good about the direction of the team, losses that go on for so long you don't remember what a win feels like, and losses that despite all your efforts to train them, the refs have pissed on.  We've done a lot of losing over the years and we've probably added a few new definitions of losing to the dictionary while we've been at it.

It looked like this year might be different.  A hot start led to a 9-8 record through November but the train fell off the rails soon after.  Now we're on our 3rd coach of the season and we're still losing.  Yet these are losses I can stomach because this isn't really a regular season anymore; It's one big training camp.  George Karl has pretty much said as much in his many interviews.  Bringing Karl on so late in the season doesn't allow him the time to get to know his players and install a system except in piecemeal.  For Karl and the Kings, these games are all about learning, both ways.  That's how I'm watching these games now.  I'm looking for signs of better understanding, of something bigger being built.  I think we've already seen some really good signs.  Sacramento's bench seems to be revitalized.  Rudy Gay's been more efficient than ever under Karl.  Nik Stauskas might finally be on his way to being an NBA player.

There's just 20 games left in the season now and I'll continue to watch for losing.  I'll expect more nights like we've seen the last few against Atlanta, Miami and Orlando.  I also expect I'll see more phenomenal wins like we did against Memphis and New York.  Most importantly I just want to see progress.

Don't take this as me rooting for losing.  While I want the Kings to keep the pick (having another asset never hurts), I have never been able to take joy from a loss.  But I can watch these games stress-free, knowing that the result in and of itself doesn't matter as long as the process of laying the foundation continues.