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Kings vs Jazz Preview: March Sadness

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The Kings visit Utah in the most important game of the season.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Sacramento Kings Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings defeated the G-League Golden State Warriors 98-93 on Friday night. As Greg pointed out this morning, it was a complicated win. Last nights victory marked the second time the Kings have defeated the Warriors inside Oracle Arena this season, an absurd sounding accomplishment without context. With context, the Warriors were injured as hell, the Kings are playing some of their best basketball all season at the moment, and voila, an unnecessary win was had.

I probably lean slightly more towards these wins are bad than most of the staff here, so I apologize in advance for my negativity. I love what we’re seeing out of the Kings youth, of course, but until the NBA changes the lottery system, and no, not the band-aid changes they made starting next season, real changes, this is the NBA world we live in.

Quick tangent. The Kings have been rebuilding for twelve years. They’ve been in the lottery for twelve years. They don’t have a single top-3 pick since Rick Adelman was fired. Some of that is bad lottery luck, etc. but if you’re wondering why bad teams continue to leapfrog the Kings on the road to NBA relevance, their inability to secure top picks are part of the problem. The Lakers have drafted top-3 in the last three drafts. The Cavaliers have drafted top-3 three times since 2011. The Phoenix Suns have drafted top-4 the last two years.

Since 2007, the Kings have drafted 10, 12, 4, 5, 7, 5, 7, 8, 6, 8, 5. The Kings have had issues far more debilitating than draft lottery luck over the last decade+, like wacky ownership, wacky coaching, wacky development, wacky front office nonsense, but this is part of the continued losing equation.

I was hopeful that this year would be different. Not in a intentional losing kind of way, but I thought the Kings would be an easy top-5 lottery team with good odds of moving into that coveted top-3. The truth of the matter is, other teams are worse. Other teams are tanking more overtly. I have no solution to this problem. I don’t know what I want the Kings to do here, I just know that the result is not ideal. This was supposed to be a Luka Donic year. A DeAndre Ayton year. A year where the Kings found their final youth piece before making a push for the postseason.

And look, they can still move up. They can finally get some real lottery luck. They can lose the rest of their games this season and still walk away with Doncic or Ayton, but this is our reality right now, so we might as well talk about it.

Oh right, this was a game preview. So, the Kings are in Utah tonight to play the Jazz. The Jazz are fighting for a playoff spot in a loaded Western Conference, and at this point, every win counts.

The Kings are playing their second road game on the second night of a back-to-back. This should be a loss, if you’re into that sort of thing, but hey, you never know. De’Aaron Fox could close out the game with 20 points in the last 30 seconds pushing the Kings towards another painful-but-fun victory.

Ricky Rubio is questionable with a knee contusion. Former lottery pick mystery Dante Exum is finally healthy, and the Jazz just signed Kings summer league legend David Stockton to a 10-day contract for point guard depth while Rubio is recovering. Shout out to you, David Stockton. He’s been a solid member of the Kings organization for a few years now, and I’m happy to see him get another opportunity in the big leagues.

If there is any consolation to my Negative Nancy behavior, the Kings are slowly falling into the draft range of one MSU forward by the name of Miles Bridges. Bridges has been my favorite player in college basketball for two years running, he was awesome last night against Bucknell, and I saw Will drop a highlight video for Trae Young in his preview yesterday, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spread the gospel of Miles Bridges. Enjoy.