I don’t know how many times I’ve started an article with some version of “being a Kings fan is tough” over the last few years, but it’s a lot. Still, it’s true. We’ve been let down by this team so many times over the last decade that it’s starting to wear us down as a fanbase.
I’ve usually taken offseason time as a time to recharge and refresh, and to hold out some hope for the upcoming season. I can’t say I have any of that hope anymore; Instead, it’s simply apprehension. Yeah, I want to see the new rookies, I want to see the team play under Dave Joerger, and I definitely can’t wait to see the new arena... but I can’t help but feel that underlying fear of “Here we go again”. Every year has been a debacle of some sort, and every year we come up with new excuses or rationalizations as to why this year will be different. So far, the Kings have only disappointed us, time after time.
Right now it feels to me like the Kings are treading water. While I praised the Kings prudence and eye to the future during Free Agency and the Draft, I can’t help but take a look at this roster as it’s currently constructed and not see it as much better than it was last season (and I say that knowing that the Kings will probably have another trade or two before the season begins). If anything, the talent distribution on the team might be slightly worse overall, but they added veteran depth to shore up positions of weakness.
I also look at the moves other teams in the West made and can’t help but feel as if the Kings’ path to get to the playoffs continues to get harder and harder. The Jazz nearly made the playoffs last season and added needed veterans in Joe Johnson and George Hill. Houston added even more offensive firepower in Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon. The Warriors added Kevin freaking Durant. The only playoff teams from last year that have seemingly gotten worse are the Thunder (who still have one of the best players in the NBA in Russell Westbrook) and the Dallas Mavericks (they finally seem to be on the decline).
I’m still a fan of this team. But I have to be real here, and I can’t just take it on faith anymore that things are going to get better. I have to see real results or a real plan, whether that means the team playing well past expectations or deciding to do a full reset and rebuild from the ground up.
I want to be excited about this team again. I want to see this city start getting hyped up again. I want to see little kids walking around playing Pokémon Go wearing Kings jerseys rather than Warriors jerseys. I want our loyalty and faith rewarded.
Give us a reason to hope again.