When the Sacramento Kings started the season 0-5, it looked like the season would be a disaster. After an offseason of high hopes, we were looking at a terrible start to the season and had already suffered a significant injury to Marvin Bagley III. The schedule ahead was daunting, and the Kings showed little in October to suggest they’d be capable of turning things around. And yet that’s exactly what the Kings did in November.
The Kings went 8-5 in November, pushing to 8-10 overall and entered into a tie for the 8th seed in the West. The team’s offensive rating went from a putrid 97.2 in October to 109.1 in November. The team’s defensive rating was an awful 113.8 in October, down to a respectable 106.8 in November. The improvement in November wasn’t due to any on thing, it was the team playing better on both ends of the floor.
What’s crazy is that this improvement came not just without Bagley, but most of the month was without De’Aaron Fox. The team had already started improving before Fox went down, so this isn’t a case of Ewing Theory for Fox. But the team has overcome two significant injuries and are still winning.
Crazier still, there are still huge opportunities for the team to play better in the months ahead. The team’s turnover rate was better in November, but only marginally so. The team can protect the ball better than they have. Similarly, the team still struggles to draw fouls. Harrison Barnes and Bogdan Bogdanovic have stepped up in this area with Fox out, but the team as a whole is still one of the worst in the leagues at getting to the charity stripe.
As we enter December, there’s reason for hope. It’s a far cry from how we felt entering November. But as we’ve already learned this year, the month before doesn’t dictate how you’ll play in the month ahead. There’s no time for a victory lap, but it’s worth acknowledging the progress the team has made.