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Being wrong is fun and I highly recommend it

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I was wrong about a lot of things this summer and I couldn’t be happier

Kimani Okearah

This summer was the lowest I’d felt as a Sacramento Kings fan. The team had truly broken my spirit. I expected this season to be truly awful and to be filled with a lack of hope. I was truly questioning why I spent so much time covering a team that made me so unhappy. 14 games into the season and I’m in awe of how wrong I was. Let me tell you, being wrong never felt so good.

I didn’t buy it when Dave Joerger talked about how last season was focused on teaching the young players fundamentals and that this season the team would speed up. There was nothing in Joerger’s coaching history to suggest he’d coach a team that was among the fastest in the league. There was nothing about last season that screamed player development.

I was wrong.

Joerger has backed up every word. The Kings play with purpose, play swarming defense, and above all else play fast and fun.

I thought the Kings were foolish to rely almost entirely on player development to take a step forward this season. I’d spent years talking myself into players taking a leap forward to no avail. So even though I liked De’Aaaron Fox, I didn’t have high hopes for him this season. I thought maybe he’d be really good in a couple of years, but after his rookie season I was mentally prepared for him to never really be a star. Just another in a long line of Kings draft disappointments.

I was wrong.

Fox has been incredible. He’s truly emerging as a star in this league and it’s so, so fun to watch.

I was ready to cut bait on Willie Cauley-Stein. He’s one of those guys I mentioned when discussing why I wasn’t holding out hope for Fox. Willie had disappointed me every year, and came into this season talking about how he was ready to get paid. I didn’t believe that Willie could accept his ideal role on the court and stop trying to be something he wasn’t.

I was wrong.

Willie has been the exact player we’ve always wanted him to be. He’s gone from a guy I was eager to trade to a guy I’m wondering if the Kings can afford to lose. That’s a question for another day, but I’ve been thrilled with what we’ve seen from Willie so far.

I thought Marvin Bagley III would have a very difficult time adjusting to the NBA. I worried about his defense and his ability to create on offense. I thought he was a terrible choice at the second overall pick.

I was wrong.

While I still don’t know if he was the best possible pick (it’s far too soon to know), I love watching Bagley play. I absolutely see what the front office saw in him. I still don’t buy the idea of him ever spending time at small forward, but Bagley is a joy to watch and a guy I think could be a dominant player in this league for years.

I didn’t think the front office had any plan. I thought they had a disaster of an offseason. I thought from the draft to free agency that the team had blundered in a dozen different ways. I didn’t see how this team could ever return to relevance without enduring several more years of pain.

I was wrong.

While I still don’t think the team had a perfect offseason, far from it, they clearly had a plan in place. I think they got very lucky that both Nemanja Bjelica and Yogi Ferrell backed out of other deals, but the Kings signed them and deserve credit for doing so. There were free agents I thought the Kings should have chased, but I wonder if those players would have fit into the Kings’ uptempo scheme. I still think MAVERICKS ROOKIE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED would have been a great roster fit, but I absolutely see how Bagley fits into the style the Kings want to play. I’m not saying the front office is fully redeemed for past mistakes, and I’m not eager to throw an extension onto Vlade’s contract, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

I thought the Kings were going to be lucky to get 25 wins this season. They have 8 wins and we aren’t even to Thanksgiving. If the Kings don’t exceed 25 wins at this point it would be stunning.

I was wrong about a lot of things this summer. I couldn’t be happier.