After what might been the hundredth game this season in which the Kings came back from a deficit only to fail to execute in the final minutes of a game, the Kings will have to shake off their loss to the Clippers and prepare for the Golden State Warriors; a superteam with the best record in the NBA who just happen to be coming off an improbable loss against the Grizzlies. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on Friday night, the Warrior will be looking for someone to take it out on, and it seems to me like the Kings would be a damn good team for them to lay a smackdown on. If you’re going to the game, please, for the love of Pete Carril, cheer louder than the band-wagoners that will inevitably surround you. Let’s talk Kings basketball.
When: Sunday, January 8th, 6:00 pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
An Even Footing: The Warriors have been in back to back NBA Finals. The team and the individual players on it have broken all sorts of seemingly unbreakable records and with 4 All-World players on their roster, they haven’t yet reached the heights that a team like that could go. With the light year of space in-between the quality of the Kings and Warriors basketball teams, a time when both Northern Californian teams were struggling to execute their plans for ascension seems like a distant memory. Five years. Five years ago, the Kings and Warriors records were separated by two games, down at the bottom of the barrel of the Western Conference. Sunday night’s game is a reminder of what might have been for Sacramento had a ping pong ball bounced the other way, or a player got his act together a bit quicker, or even, if the General Managers’ had made decisions a bit more competent. Even pining for what we had might be enough for you, especially seeing where many of them are today. Looking at just the 2011-2012 roster as they have currently developed: Assuming average competency from the organization, could a core of Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Hassan Whiteside developed into a contender? Certainly a playoff team, no?
I guess the point of this isn’t to lay on thick about all that has happened with the Kings in the last five years that have put a monumental gap between the talent and accomplishments of the Warriors and the Kings. Far better writers and commenters on Sactown Royalty have done so over the years. But, seeing how a team like the Warriors comes to be, is hope for the Kings in the coming years. In 2011, the Warriors had a single #1 Pick on their team: Kwame Brown. They lucked into Steph Curry at 7, and then again when his glass ankles suddenly turned to steel. They took the right shooter in Klay Thompson at the 11 pick. Draymond Green was the 35th pick. They built their monster while living in the same version of basketball hell that we’re currently in. Lower lottery picks and second rounders can pan out into something worth bringing in talents like Finals MVP Andre Iguodala, and then eventually NBA MVP Kevin Durant. As wild as it sounds, as hard as it is to believe, this gap between us and them is a few smart picks away. It’s a jump in development and some ideas clicking into the heads of young plays away. It takes time, a bit of competence and a lot of luck. For being light years behind them on the court, the Warriors are a reminder of how close we once were, and with a few good decisions in a row, where we could be again.
Kings Focus: Guard the three point line. That... that’s it. That’s what I got for this game.
Odds and Ends
Live and In Color: Sunday night’s game against the Warriors will be the fourth annual Bollywood Night that the Kings have held since owner Vivek Ranadive took a controlling interest in the team back in 2013 and this time around, the Kings have put a little extra into the game. In conjunction with Facebook, the Kings will offer their game live and without commercial interruption on their Facebook page, as well as on the NBA’s official page. Hoping to reach fans as far away as India, this game is offered free and will feature Bollywood style player introductions, half time festivities and special guests. To directly mirror the quagmire on the basketball court, the business side of the Kings is absolutely world class, and has been on a tear since the switch in owners. Here’s to commercial free basketball and some global branding opportunities to boot!
Prediction: Seeing his Splash family add more members without including him, and with the realization that he’s hundreds of thousands of votes down in the All Star voting to Zaza Pachulia, DeMarcus will come out ready to prove himself worthy. The Kings will catch the Warriors looking past them, and in the waning moments of the game, with the Kings improbably down two, the Kings will have a chance to win it. Boogie will isolate behind the three point line, and with a jab and a dribble stepback he’ll start into his shooting motion. Catching Draymond Green in the air, he’ll find Garrett Temple’s man sagging off to help and with all the zip he can muster he’ll get it to Temple in the corner, who will fire up the three and send every nine year old future Kings fan home to the exits unhappy with how their Warriors lost to a team “like the Kings”. Kevin Durant will also end up in the wrong locker room, and when Kings staff point that out, he’ll insist he knows which locker room is the one he should be in.
Kings: 112, Warriors: 111