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Why I Miss The Playoffs

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It’s been too long since basketball mattered in Sacramento.

Mavericks v Kings Photo by Jed Jacobsohn /Getty Images

It’s been a slow couple of weeks, but I feel compelled to write something, so here we go.

Like a lot hardcore NBA fans in 2017, I spend a lot of my time following the league’s happenings on Twitter. Most of the people I follow and converse with are bloggers or readers of the SB Nation family of blogs, and I feel like they offer some of the more insightful takes with regards to their respective teams. I’ll just toss out some of the Peachtree Hoops (Atlanta Hawks) guys as an example. Brad Rowland and Kris Willis. They cover the Hawks for SB Nation, and I can’t imagine that there is a better source for nuanced Hawks information online. The Hawks are in the playoffs, again, and they are talking strategy, again, and this is just one small example of conversations millions of fans of playoff teams are having throughout the world. I miss it. I miss strategy. I miss matchups. I miss series’. I miss getting to know an opponent. I miss caring about things that matter.

I’ve expressed this in other places before, but this season did a number on me. Despite the joy I got from watching the young Kings perform, coming to grips with another reset was hard. Being an NBA fan on Twitter makes that even harder. There is so much positive reinforcement on that medium for good basketball things, and on the flip side, so much negative reinforcement for the bad basketball things. The Kings have been a bad basketball thing for so long that the years and years of incompetency highlighted by the fact that I’m reading anti-Kings stuff from people I like over and over again is just… it’s difficult. In the context of things on the internet and social media not really mattering at all, being a Kings fan online is no fun. I much prefer the comment section here, because at least we can all suffer together.

Switching gears for a minute, Boston Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens, in what seemed like a desperation move at the time, placed Gerald Green in the Celtics’ starting lineup down 2-0 to the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. Green had only played in 47 regular season games for the Celtics, and in no way was a part of their expected playoff rotation. Green has been a cumulative +37 since Stevens placed him in the starting unit, and the Celtics have turned that series around completely. Now, I’m not trying to claim that the Celtics’ turnaround is all because of Gerald Green, but Stevens took a strategic gamble and it worked. How awesome is that?

Like I tried to explain above, I miss thinking about basketball from that standpoint. I’m tired of talking about lottery picks and draft position and potential and tanking and development and breaking down the rotation of a 30-win team in excruciating detail every day. I’ll continue to do it, because that is life as a Kings fan – I just don’t want to anymore. I’d rather be talking about Dave Joerger surprise-starting Garrett Temple to defend Chris Paul in a first round series vs. the Clippers, or starting Kosta Koufos to defend Marc Gasol in a series against the Grizzlies despite the fact that Willie Cauley-Stein had started at center all year. That’s a much more fascinating discussion than ‘well, the Kings need to lose x-amount of games because they made a terrible trade for J.J. Hickson a million years ago and blah, blah, blah’.

I know a lot of Kings fans have found some optimism in the Kings’ recent front office restructuring. I’m happy for you guys. I’m considerably less optimistic, because I still have serious concerns about who is actually calling the shots, but hey, maybe this crew will get me what I want. I’m certainly rooting for them.

Go Kings.