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Sacramento Kings Season Preview: Welcome to the newest Superteam (just young)

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Sacramento’s youth movement is going full speed ahead.

NBA: Sacramento Kings-Media Day Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Yep, another season of Sacramento Kings basketball is upon us. Another year wondering just where this franchise is going, what this franchise is doing, and why our doctors keep telling us to watch our blood pressure. I love it.

*Cue Music*

Sacramento Kings
Last Year’s Record: 27-55
Key Losses: Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, Jack Cooley
Key Additions: Marvin Bagley III, a healthy Harry Giles, Nemanja Bjelica, Yogi Ferrell

What Significant Moves were made during the off-season?

For the second year in a row, the Kings manage to beat the odds and jump in the NBA Draft lottery, and this year, they actually got to keep it! That pick ended up being the #2 pick in the draft, the highest selection the Kings have managed to have in the modern lottery era. Sacramento ended up drafting Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, a somewhat controversial decision with Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic available. But while Bagley might not be as far along developmentally as Doncic, he possesses immense physical tools and athleticism, and should hopefully be able to contribute in year one.

Aside from the draft however, the Kings haven’t done a whole lot. They threw a huge contract offer at Zach LaVine, but were ultimately just being used as leverage after the Chicago Bulls matched. Vlade Divac and co. jumped on Nemanja Bjelica after he reneged on a verbal agreement with the Philadelphia 76ers and looked to be heading to Europe, convincing him to reunite with his former Fenerbahce teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Kings also signed backup point guard Yogi Ferrell after his qualifying offer was rescinded by the Dallas Mavericks.

However the team’s potential biggest move might not even be from someone that they added but rather in the healthy return of Harry Giles, the 20th overall pick in last year’s draft who sat out his entire rookie year. Giles has all the talent in the world and has been showing it in Summer League and preseason. He should play a big role on this team this season.

What are the team’s biggest strengths?

With a team this young, it’s hard to point to anything as a strength. Last season, about the only strength for the Kings was three point shooting, as they made 37.5% of their attempts, good for 3rd in the league. However, they lost two of their top three point shooters in Temple and Carter, but Bjelica and Ferrell should help make up for that. The problem is that while the Kings were very efficient from distance, they didn’t shoot them nearly enough, at only 28th in league.

That should hopefully change with the Kings desire to play at a much faster pace this season. Last season, despite the youth, the Kings finished dead last in pace. For a team that invested a high lottery pick in De’Aaron Fox, possibly the quickest person in the league with the ball in his hands, that’s unacceptable. The Kings have to use their youth to their advantage and get out and run. By all accounts from training camp, that’s what they’re doing. Hopefully we’ll get a good idea of what this team can do well when they’re playing more to their strengths.

What are the team’s biggest weaknesses?

Where do we begin? The Kings weren’t particularly good at anything this last season, and this year they’re even younger and more inexperienced. There’s a lot of talent, but it’s unrefined. Last season, the Kings finished 29th in offensive rating, 28th in defensive rating and 30th in pace. So they were slow, bad at defense and even worse at offense. They also had the lowest free throw rate in the league and allowed the highest effective field goal percentage for their opponents. All of that has to improve this year, even if it’s only incrementally.

This Kings team also doesn’t have a focal point yet. When DeMarcus Cousins was here, even though the team was bad, at least you knew what the plan was. Now, the Kings have a lot of guys vying for that top spot but nobody has yet claimed it.

What are the goals for this team?

This season is all about the Kings developing their young talent. Between De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, and Frank Mason, the Kings need someone to step up. They need to identify a core and potential stars. Right now there are too many unknowns. And it would be a complete disaster if none of these guys pan out. The Kings need one, maybe even two or three, breakout stars to start heading back on the path to relevancy.

With no draft pick this season thanks to an awful trade a few years ago, the Kings won’t need to tank and can instead focus on developing the youth and trying to win as much as possible.

What else should I know about this team?

Well, in case you missed it, we ran our annual 30Q in September breaking down the team with more detail and nuance.

Greg broke down our potential rotation, as well as wondering if Buddy Hield would make the leap to stardom. He also asked if the Kings will be fun to watch this season, something Zach Lowe doesn’t seem to think as he ranked the Kings dead last in his annual league pass rankings.

Bryant took a deep dive on our newest addition, Marvin Bagley, focusing on breaking down his offense, defense and confidence.

Richard wrote about the Kings options at Small Forward, as well as wondering just how hot Coach Dave Joerger’s seat is, if at all.

Tim felt Justin Jackson was misused last season and discussed how the Kings could utilize him better, as well as taking a look through the cupboards to see what type of assets the Kings have.

Speaking of what the Kings have, they sure do have a lot of big men, and Omer discussed what the Kings are going to do with all of them.

There’s even more to list, but if you haven’t, go and check out our 30Q series here. I hope you all are looking forward to the season. We at Sactown Royalty are grateful to you, our readers. We will continue to provide ongoing reporting and analysis of the Sacramento Kings as long as we can continue to share in the highs and lows with all of you.

Let’s go Kings!