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A Preferable Form of Failure

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Is it better to tank or to get swept as the 8th seed?

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Three Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors finished their first round sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday. Golden State’s average margin of victory was 18 points. And they dominated in this fashion while missing their head coach for most of the series, and missing Kevin Durant for half the games. The Warriors are a juggernaut, and they dismissed the Blazers with minimal effort. And Portland exemplifies what the Kings were striving to be before they traded away DeMarcus Cousins.

We can continue to argue about the return the Kings received for Cousins, and we can debate whether or not the Kings botched the timing and execution of the trade, but I hope we can all agree that they made the right choice.

I talked myself into striving for the 8th seed. The Kings’ playoff drought has been a long, exhausting experience for me as a fan of this team. But are the Blazers really better suited for their future because of the “playoff experience” of being clobbered by the Warriors?

There are aspects of the season that the Blazers should be proud of. They had to fight to even make the playoffs, and they finished their year strong. But it was still a letdown year for Portland. Damian Lillard had a great quote after Game 4:

"I wouldn't say it was a successful year," Lillard told ESPN. "We got tested, and I think we answered the bell. I felt like we showed our true colors by the way we fought. But I wouldn't say successful. I think it was growth. A year of growth for us."

But had the Kings been in the Blazers spot, would we be talking about it being a growth year? Or would we be looking at this draft class and wondering what might have been if we hadn’t lost our pick to Chicago just for the privilege of losing to the Warriors?

The Kings made the right call trading Cousins and going for a full rebuild. They have many steps to execute on the way back to respectability, but I’m glad it wasn’t the Kings in the 8th seed.