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The Kings quietly became fun again

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In another lost season, in obvious tank mode, the Kings became fun.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings are finishing another lost season. The tank is on, as the Kings attempt to keep a first round draft pick. We've endured a soap opera between the inexplicably not-fired George Karl, and open revolt by the roster. And yet as the season draws down, I'm realizing that the Kings have been fun the last few weeks.

With the pressure off and the writing on the wall, George Karl stopped criticizing his team via the media. He planted the seeds for a positive spin on his exit, but stopped the active campaign. Meanwhile, the team started playing for one another. We've noted that this roster, more than any other in recent memory, really gets along with one another. They love seeing each other succeed, and have rallied in particular around Willie Cauley-Stein and Seth Curry, both of whom have seen additional playing time as the organization strategically rests players.

This all culminated in one of the most fun games in years on Saturday, as the Kings bid farewell to Arco Arena and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder. After the game, DeMarcus Cousins discussed the new vibe around the team with our own Blake Ellington.

And that's it. That's what was missing this season. All the frustration and infighting distracted the team and the fans from how fun this is all supposed to be. Sacramento has always loved its Kings like family. If the roster can capture that same vibe, maybe this whole mess wasn't a complete waste. Few things can bond a team like going through hell together and emerging in a better situation.

A lot can still go wrong this summer. The Kings need to get the draft right. They need to nail the coaching hire. The roster still needs some adjustment. But there's a core of chemistry among the players. That takes time to build, and it's what allows a roster to be more than the sum of its parts.

The last few games, win or lose, have been pretty fun to watch. It may not be the playoff appearance that the Kings organization hoped would lead us into the new arena. That was always a difficult goal. But building a roster with chemistry and trust, maybe that should have been the goal all along.

There's not much reason to watch the last two games of the season. Cousins probably won't play again. Rondo will be rested. Casspi isn't coming back. And yet, the team is fun to watch. As fun as they've been since January. That's something worth watching.