I’m obviously biased, but the Sacramento Kings have one of the more exciting rosters (on paper) heading into the 2017-18 NBA season. It may not be so exciting in December when some of their young talent inevitably underperforms, and the team is already out of playoff contention, but in early September, I am excited to watch these kids play.
The unknown is exciting, and the Kings have so many high potential unknowns. That makes their conventional ‘best case scenario’ this season a little hard to predict.
I use the word conventional here because to some Kings fans, myself included, the ‘best case scenario’ for this team is another losing season and a top-5 draft selection. The reasoning for that is simple; they need another young potential star, and they don’t own their first round pick in 2019. This is their last opportunity to lock down a key young piece before they start pushing for the playoffs in 2019 and beyond. That is the timeline they are working with here.
On the flip side, stay with me, if this team somehow pushes for a playoff spot, it’ll be on the shoulders of the Kings’ young talent, meaning they are developing and performing about as well as you could possibly expect. It would hurt to lose the high draft pick, but at the same time, you’d have to give the kids major, major credit for doing the unthinkable. This isn’t going to happen. Probably.
I’m trying to take draft considerations out of the conversation here for a minute to talk about how many wins this squad can get if everything breaks right. Shameless plug alert, but Akis and I touched on this in the latest Sactown Royalty Show, which you can find here.
I thought it’d be a fun topic to bring to the community as we wait for training camp to open. So let’s talk about it:
On the podcast with Akis, I gave a boring 41-41 as my absolute high-end on-court potential that is at least somewhat based in reality for this squad. In order to hit .500, the Kings would need a number of things to break in their favor.
Willie Cauley-Stein needs to establish himself as a defensive anchor and a respectable rebounder. If he does that, I like the Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos pairing at center a whole bunch.
The Kings get 40% three-point shooting from George Hill, Buddy Hield, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, and that is where a bulk of their offense comes from.
The small forward issue isn’t an issue anymore. Here’s to hoping Justin Jackson is ready to contribute from day one, and either Buddy or Bogdanovic can slide down without killing the team on defense. Garrett Temple might have to hold things down until those guys are ready.
Zach Randolph has a resurgence under Joerger, or one of Skal Labissiere or Harry Giles establishes themselves as a playable PF that can give you 30 minutes on a competitive team.
If the young players can grab ahold of these open starting positions, I have little doubt that a bench of Koufos, Randolph, Carter, Temple, and Fox can compete.
I don’t think any of these developments are impossible, but the Kings would need all of them to pan out. That’s my take.
What say you?