Most Sacramento Kings fans expect the Kings to take a major step forward this coming season. Of course, the challenge is for the team to actually accomplish this, and that starts with game one. In game one the Kings face the Los Angeles Clippers. They face them again in game three. The Kings then face a stretch against the Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, and the San Antonio Spurs. That's a murderer's row of Western Conference teams, even if we expect the Suns to struggle with their drama around Markieff Morris. The Kings then get a reprieve, so to speak, playing the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets, and the Toronto Raptors. While those three teams aren't the cream of the crop, all three still have talent and should contend for the playoffs in the East. yes, even the Nets. The Kings then go on a five game road trip to the East cost.
In short, the Kings start the season with an incredibly difficult slate of games. There are so many questions about how this roster can come together, and the schedule seems primed to put to the team to the test early and often. So the question of the day is whether or not the Kings can manage a hot start, and if not, what would that mean for the season?
There's an argument to be made that the Kings can catch some teams before they're firing on all cylinders. Friend of StR Aaron Bruski suggested that the Kings may be fortunate to catch the Clippers twice so early in the year. Bruski's logic is that the Clippers added a lot of players who will need time to mesh and learn to play together, but the same could be said for the Kings.
But there's also the theory that the Kings could catch other teams off guard. Outside of Sacramento, expectations aren't high for the Kings. For a team with high expectations like the Clippers, it could be easy to look past the Kings. This is a pretty reasonable idea. We saw it happen last season, and there's no reason to think it couldn't happen again.
And yet if it doesn't happen, there's no reason to believe it will doom the team's season. The biggest difference between this year and previous years is the quantity and quality of veterans. Guys like Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli, Caron Butler, and even Rajon Rondo were brought in not just for their on-court abilities, but also because they're experienced players with many years on successful teams. They've all been through slow starts, they've all been through hot starts, and they know that neither one defines the way a season will play out.
I wouldn't predict a hot start for the Kings. I could easily see it happen, but it's a difficult challenge the Kings face. The concern will be if the Kings can keep from imploding if they start slow.
Personally, I think the team will be ok if they start slow, but wouldn't it be nice if they didn't?