Hopefully it doesn’t come as a shock to too many fans, but the Sacramento Kings probably aren’t going to be good next season. They have a lot of young guys who will see a lot of minutes, and it’s going to be a season of growth and development. It should be a lot of fun, but its going to include a lot of losses.
Knowing this, we can hardy get upset at the results of ESPN’s Kevin Pelton’s statitical projection for the Kings. Pelton explains his full methodology in the link, but he uses projected lineups, and his projection accounts for prior injury history. For younger players his system uses college data to project. Obviously there are a lot of factors at play, but his system pegs the Kings at a very reasonable 27.4 wins.
Despite adding veterans Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph as free agents, the Kings are projected as the league's second-worst offensive attack by RPM. Although this isn't part of the projection, few teams will have more incentive to improve their draft pick, as Sacramento won't have its first-rounder in 2019 due to trade.
In short, the Kings probably won’t be good, but that’s ok! 27.4 puts the Kings as the second worst team in the NBA based on these projections. Only the Atlanta Hawks project worse. That means the Kings are behind the Nets, the Lakers, the Suns, and the Bulls. You may disagree with some of that, but the projected win totals for all of those teams are pretty close, it’s not worth getting hung up on fractions of projected wins.
But if I stop and think about outcomes for this year, I can think of far worse conclusions than 27 wins, great lotto odds, and getting to enjoy seeing our young guys develop.