We round out our 30Q series today with a group roundtable on our expecations for the season. We asked each of our writers to provider their own perspective and would love to hear yours in the comments below. If you missed any one of our 30Q series, you can check them all out here.
Greg Wissinger: I've struggled with this all summer. I'm having a hard time getting excited for this year. Maybe I'm finally broken, or maybe the moves have just been so uninspiring that I can't talk myself into them. But I find myself expecting about 34 wins. The Kings should be better than that, but it seems like they always find a way to win fewer games than they should.
I expect there to be an adjustment period with Dave Joerger. I expect the offense to start slow. I expect a lot of questions about how he and Boogie are working together.
I expect to find joy in the little things, like Omri Casspi's performances and some development from Willie Cauley-Stein. I'll be excited whenever Skal hits the floor, but I will try to temper my expectations for him.
I expect another season like the ones we've endured for what feels like forever. The Kings won't be very good. They'll lose more than they win. We'll be annoyed at some painful losses. We'll rejoice at unexpected wins.
Safe to say I'm entering this season with low expectations. I hope to be proven wrong. But I'm not expecting it.
Robby Biegler: I don’t feel like I’m being lied to this season. Which is why I may skew more hopeful than most. For too many years, in eras both Maloof and Ranadivé, and culminating in last year’s mess of an offseason and subsequent regular season meltdown, there’s been this veneer of attempted credibility and a resulting trash ass on-court product. That veneer of attempted credibility frankly more frustrating than the on-court product because of its inherent deceitfulness.
This year, for whatever it’s worth, I think the team is being honest about where it’s at. I thought the Joerger hire was honest. I thought the Papagiannis pick, however unpopular, was honest. I thought signings like the UCLA loose ends was honest. Some of that clearly comes from the not insignificant achievement of the arena and its effects on downtown re-energization, that it gives the fanbase and ownership and management some goodwill breathing room. Some of that I think just comes from a sort of resignation about the state of this roster since the late Petrie drafts and the dawning realization you can’t just half-spend, half-draft and half-trade your way out of it.
Ziller, the poet laureate of the franchise, wrote years ago, I believe immediately after ownership change, about the probability that a new arena would be built and Sacramento would be a consequently different city before the team had had any demonstrable growth. At the time that reality felt farfetched. And yet here we are. Progress is a process. The arena has shown us such. It is perhaps then not coincidence that the completion of that building coincides with the first honest attempt at roster rebuilding this franchise has made. The hard work is over. Let the harder work commence.
section214: For the first time in I can't remember how long, I really have no expectations. None. I'm not enamored of the roster either on or off the court, and I see a team that is much more likely to retain its top ten protected pick than it is to make the playoffs.
So absent of expectations, I have to grasp for hope. And my hope is that this organization begins to display some semblance of a program and a plan, a direction, and perhaps the simple goal of not stepping on its metaphorical dick for a season. Just making the turn from laughingstock to somewhat-professionally run organization would be a huge win.
Oh, I do expect the new arena to be the coolest thing that downtown Sacramento has ever seen, especially after all of the new building bugs are worked out and traffic finds a rhythm. As tepid as I am about this version of the Sacramento Kings, I am very excited for the City of Sacramento.
But if I have to lay out some sort of expectation, here it is: 33-49, and the controversy and conversation that surrounds DeMarcus Cousins continues to rage on.
And an and-1 one hope: That everyone that participates at StR remembers to not make it personal. This has the makings of what could be a(nother) brutal season. I hope that everyone remembers that we are bonded by our sick, masochistic fandom, and that while we can disagree with each other passionately, we respect the enthusiasm and fervor and loyalty that leads all of us to participate in the first place.
Tony Xypteras: I’m not sure how you can have anything other than low expectations considering what the Kings’ roster looks like right now. So many things have to break right in order for the Kings to even compete for a playoff spot, and expecting those breaks to happen in the Kings’ favor would require substantial memory loss as to how the last decade of Kings basketball has been. I’m hopeful, of course, but I’m certainly not expecting a good (playoffs) season.
Despite my low expectations, I’m still very excited for the season to start. I’m excited to watch Dave Joerger work with this roster. I’m excited to see how both DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay look after undergoing offseason procedures to fix lingering foot issues both players have been dealing with for quite some time. I’m excited for Skal Labissiere. I’m excited for the trade deadline. I’m excited to see how the Kings approach DeMarcus Cousins’ rapidly expiring contract. I’m even excited to see how contract-year-Ben-McLemore looks!
This is an important year for Sacramento Kings basketball, and I’m fascinated to see how it plays out.
Tim aka Babygiraffe: The Kings season is going to break into four distinct segments. The beginning of the year is going to get off to a VERY rough start and I believe we’ll be at the bottom of the Western conference after 20 or so games. A record of 6-14 to start the season won’t be shocking as our starting point guard will be serving a long suspension while the roster is trying to implement a new offensive and new defensive system and trying to find chemistry with seven new additions to the team. Add in a probable seven game losing streak as the Kings will face Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden in a row without Collison and we may have a disaster on our hands. There is a small likelihood of a Cousins meltdown or trade request somewhere in that mess.
If we survive that time, there will be a stretch of decent basketball returning to Sacramento. After 30ish games the Kings should be forming some chemistry, Joerger should have his rotation established, and we’ll have our point guard back. Our schedule also gets relatively easier just before All-Star break and we could end up with a 10-7 record for the last 17 games before the break. I’m afraid that this will convince management to keep pushing and we won’t trade off assets like Darren Collison, Rudy Gay, and Matt Barnes before the deadline.
The third segment will be the failure to reach the playoffs and the meaningless games played in March and April. Rookies like Richardson, Skal, and Papa G will see a lot of playing time while we try and give them experience and keep our pick from Chicago. The Kings will lose a lot of games and fans will grow frustrated. Overall, the season will end with a 31-51 record.
Finally, the rebuild will commence. DeMarcus Cousins and other veterans will be moved on draft night for a high draft pick, a young stud, and other pieces. The rebuilding era in Sacramento will truly begin and Dave Joerger will be given a blank canvas to create a masterpiece. While the end of the season will be tough, I have hope that it’s all leading to something bigger and better. GO KINGS!
Bradley Geiser: After the last two years (or ten), actually making a prediction seems pointless. Maybe we will win 73 games, only to blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals, or maybe we will win 4 games. I don't know. I am confused. I didn't let myself get overly worked up about any predictions overall. It is time for the Kings to prove their worth. Best case scenario, our weird little roster comes together as a gang of misfits (Vivexpendables, if you will), and bully their way to a better season than most predict. On the other end, our strange little roster never clicks, and we are forced to start over. I love the addition of Joerger, who seems to be a good return to that Mike Malone style we loveed (and with a better coach, to boot). He tends to get the best out of his players, so a better than expected season isn't out of the question. Boogie is looking great physically, so if we can adopt a system that works to his overall strength, something Joerger could do, it is better for us. Actually, just having a system at all will be good. The obvious baggage that comes with our point guards is a concern, and hopefully the situations get worked out. The Rudy factor is also big. If he accepts whatever his role is, that is great, but if he proves expendable (no I won't make a second reference), he could actually be a good piece to trade off to a team that may have some players who fit our roster better (I am not anti-Omri starting).
So what is my prediction? I don't know. I can see all sides. I hope they do better than expected, but have grown to expect that they will continue to punch me in the soul.
Adam Beddawi: In the macro, I expect to continue my yearly tradition of seeking refuge from the Sacramento Kings in my school work, watching that turn to crap, and then turning back to the Kings. Wash, rinse, repeat. In the micro, I expect the reasons as to why I always end up seeking that refuge.
I expect a tenuous start to the season, regardless of whether the team wins or not. If the team gets off to a winning start, I have only the last few years as reason to expect the wheels to come off eventually. If the team does not get off to a winning start, then the noise about a DeMarcus Cousins trade will only grow louder.
I expect more rumblings about trades involving Rudy Gay, Ben McLemore, and Kosta Koufos. These are players that either get in the way of more important long-term investments at their respective positions, while also represent perhaps the best collection of trade assets the team has (of those they'd think about moving). I expect one of the free agent signings (Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes, Anthony Tolliver, Arron Afflalo) to be a colossal failure shout-out to Marco Belinelli. I expect that we have not heard the last of organizational in-fighting.
But I've also learned to see by a brighter light, or something.
I expect that Kings fans will love Dave Joerger, if anything because he represents the archetypal lure for Sacramentans; blue-collar, principled, funny facial hair. I expect at least one of Malachi Richardson, Skal Labissiere, or George Papagiannis to be, if not good, really fun. I expect a dominant DeMarcus Cousins season because, despite justifiable anxiety accompanying the oncoming end to his deal, the Kings do still currently employ one of the league's 10 best players. I expect a really fun aesthetic for every home game, as you already know the Kings' broadcasts are going to milk the shit out of the new arena's visuals.
I expect many things, some good and some bad, all out of my control. Except for my schoolwork, which I hopefully still the see some hope in by the time the Kings go on their first losing streak.
Omer Khan: I expect to have a coherent vision going forward about how this team is going to play. Regardless of whether Cousins or Gay are here or not, Divac and Joerger are going to build a roster their way, to play a style their way, on a timeline that suits their way. I think everything else, from the current roster to the specific win/loss record, is minutiae. That's essentially what I'm asking for.
San Antonio has a foundation in Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford where they can pick and choose the players that fit their system, and at times tinker with their system when the situation calls for it, regardless of the names on the back of the jerseys. I want to see that in Sacramento because that is the recipe for lasting success. Its obviously a long, long ways away from what the Spurs have built, but I expect to see that first step taken this year in 2016/17.
Blake Ellington: Like many, my expectations are low this season. There's only so many times you can convince yourself that this is the season that things start to turn around. With the players who the team signed this summer and the way that the contracts were structured with flexibility for trades, I suspect this season is more about the future than it is winning this season, and that is a good thing. Rudy Gay's future is up in the air and so is what the future will look like at either guard position. Dave Joerger seems like a good fit for this situation, but that situation may take a few seasons to work itself out. The front office has to be patient with that and use this season and next to establish an identity. DeMarcus Cousins has to prove he can lead this team to success as well. So per the usual, there are a lot of questions going into the season. The new arena will be fun, but it is likely going to take some time before the team is fun again, and that is OK as long as it is built correctly. Last season was an example of how you can't just throw a ton of pieces together to fill holes and expect it to work.
As far as specifics, I fully anticipate another public player-only meeting and at least one memorable phrase established by Cousins. The marathon continues.
Akis Yerocostas: There’s only so much abuse a fanbase can take, and last year proved to be too much for many. I myself wondered why I spent so much time and energy covering and writing about this team when there didn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I don’t expect much from the Kings at this point. They haven’t earned that trust yet. I like what I hear from the players and the coach as training camp has started, but it’s hard to buy into hope anymore when you’ve been spoonfed it for almost a decade. This team has to earn our trust back, and I’m hoping that this season can be the first step on that path.
I do expect that this will be a fun year for the fans though, and especially for the city of Sacramento. The arrival of the Golden 1 Center is not something to be diminished, and I am very much looking forward to the new building and the multitude of events that will come to our city as a result. Regardless of where the Kings stand, this is the start of a new era for the city of Sacramento.
Those are our thoughts. Leave yours in the comments, and as always, thanks for reading.