With major organizational and roster decisions ahead, the team's 28th win felt less like a celebration and more like a time of reflection about how it ended up like this - the hot start the Kings had back in November now feels like a decade ago, after all.
Head coach George Karl and some of the players have summarized this season with media. With three coaches and three systems, it wasn't surprising words like "roller coaster", "circus" and "unique" popped up from the players.
George Karl: "I can’t deny that I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get a little more out of them. My gut was saying that with Darren [Collison] I think we would have gotten 32 or 33 wins out of this team … I mean for what they’ve gone through maybe if we win one Wednesday, get one game better than last year it sounds good, I don’t know what it means though."
Rudy Gay: "Roller coaster ride; roller coaster ride - a lot of gray area," Gay told Sactown Royalty last week. He had this to say to News 10's Sean Cunningham Monday: "It's kind of bittersweet. Obviously, it's good to kind of get this and wipe this slate clean, but obviously, we wish we'd have left on a better note ... I don't even watch basketball up until the Finals really. The playoffs is what you play for all year and it's tough when you're not a part of it."
Omri Casspi: "More than anything it was just my injury. It slowed me down. Felt like in the beginning, I felt the best I felt ever in the NBA and took my game to another level by creating and going into the rim, and then that knee happened and I was struggling with that for a while. And coaching changes and stuff, but like I said, it's unfortunate that the season is about to be over now. I wish we we'd be able to compete for something, for playoffs, but it is what it is. You've got to take the good with the bad."
Derrick Williams: "Not too many people have had three coaches in one season - three different strategies, three different defensive schemes. And so it gets tough … I think we all want to get to next season already and start fresh ... I don't think it can get much worse than what we've been through and I think that's a good thing, you can only look up from here."
Carl Landry: "Very unique. We all got here early. It wasn't mandatory, but we all got here the first week of September knowing that we didn't have a great year last year and we wanted to put ourselves in the best position to compete for a playoff spot. As the season went on, things changed and I guess we weren't expecting it. It happened surprisingly, but as professionals we have to adjust and we did ... and as we got used to what we were doing, things changed again. And as professionals, you've got to remain that way and hopefully next year rolls around things don't change again. But it's been very unique, but all in all my teammates have been really professional every day because it easily could have been chaotic. I've been in this league a long time, it easily could have been very chaotic. But all in all, the Sacramento Kings, the players have remained professional."
Jason Thompson: "This is one circus of a year as a team … This is the first time I've had more coaches than I had different teammates in one season so another milestone in my seven years ... It's very tough because the start that we had, obviously no one really gave us expectations doing well and started off to a good start and we were top five in defensive field goal percentage, something that no one expected us to do either. So for it to end how it did is unfortunate but the people that started aren't here either. Regardless of it being a little bit different and change, and good change, it's tough with change to change that quickly … I think it's tough for guys like Nik [Stauskas] for their first year to have a situation like that. For me, I've kind of dealt with situations like it, but not like it, so I think it's a little tougher on the younger guys."
Nik Stauskas: "It's been a frustrating year, there's no doubt about that. I'm not really happy with the way I played this year, but I guess you live and learn and I guess I'm going to take all the lessons I've learned throughout this year and take them into the summer and just work on my game and get better."