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ESPN statistical model projects the Sacramento Kings to improve

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But not by much

DeMarcus Cousins Kimani Okearah

The other day, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton published his projected records for the 2016-17 NBA season utilizing the statistical model of Real Plus-Minus (RPM). ESPN’s already released their prediction by their “experts” on how the Kings would do, and that predicted the team would regress a little bit. So color me surprised when I read Pelton’s article and find that he’s projecting the Kings to win almost 38 games.

From ESPN Insider:

10. Sacramento Kings

Projected wins: 37.7

The Kings have one of the biggest discrepancies of any team between their projection in ESPN's summer forecast (30 wins, 13th in the West) and by RPM, which sees Sacramento deep in average talent around DeMarcus Cousins.

As Pelton points out, that’s a big discrepancy. However, I think it’s fair to say that the Kings well underperformed expectations last season even as they won more than 30 games for the first time in 8 seasons. The departures of Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli and George Karl as well as the additions of Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple and Dave Joerger should improve the Kings at least on the defensive end of the floor, where they ranked just 22nd in the league last season.

37 or 38 wins wouldn’t be mind blowing for the Kings, and it almost certainly would mean another year missing the playoffs, but it’s one step closer to playing .500 basketball, and if Sacramento was able to pull that off this season, I think a lot of fans would be very happy.