FanPost

Rantdumb Thoughts - The Kings of Summer

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." – Alexander Graham Bell

As the 2018-19 NBA season draws to a close for 14 of its 30 participants (the Kings being among them for the 13th straight season and 6th straight under Vivek Ranadivé’s ownership, and thanks a lot, while you're at it why don’t you give me a nice paper cut and pour lemon juice in), thoughts turn to the off-season. The Kings do not currently possess a draft pick higher than #40 (they also have picks at #43 and #60 as of right now), but they do possess $37m in practical cap space. $37m in cap space is indeed good news, though it is tempered a bit by the fact that the $37m represents only 10% of the league’s available cap space this summer (and less than 6% when you take it up to luxury tax level, where the Kings have closer to $60m against a total in excess of $1b).

The Kings seem to have some gaping holes on their roster right now. They lack size and strength on the defensive interior, and while one could reasonably project Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles being stronger next season, a defensive interior presence would be a nice addition. The Kings still lack a true wing defender other than Harrison Barnes, so some depth/size/strength on the wing would come in handy as well.

That said, it could also be reasonably projected that this team would improve on its own with no significant additions or subtractions. The team is very young overall, and the potential of De’Aaron Fox, Bagley, Giles and perhaps even Buddy Hield is still being realized. Could the collective growth of these youngsters catapult the Kings into the playoffs next season?

"If you don’t move forward, sooner or later you begin to move backward." – Mikhail Gorbachev

The issue that I see with banking on the current roster is that it does not take into account what other teams in the Western Conference may do this summer. The Mavericks have $52m in practical cap space ($75m under the tax), Phoenix has $25m and a high lottery pick, the Lakers have $43m in cap space ($66m under tax), and the Clips have almost $60m(!) under the cap (almost $83m tax). There is not a team among the eight playoff teams ahead of the Kings that you can comfortably eliminate from playoff conversation for 2019-20, and the Lakers and the Mavericks loom from behind, with and perhaps the Wolves and Suns being further back.

In other words, the growth of the youngsters (even exponential growth) may not be enough to close the gap on the West’s upper echelon, and it may not keep pace with the 2019-20 free agent market.

"Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking." – Oliver Cromwell

The window for building and then maintaining a winner in the NBA is a small one. I went back twenty seasons (excluding the current season – oh, and only back sixteen seasons for expansion New Orleans), noting each team’s longest playoff run, their longest run of 2nd round or better appearances, and longest playoff drought. Here are the results:

Team

Best PO Run

2nd Rd. +

Longest out

Atl

10

3

8

Bos

6

5

3

Bkn

6

3

5

Cha

3

2

5

Chi

7

1

6

Cle

5

5

7

Dal

12

3

2

Den

10

1

5

Det

8

7

6

GS

6

4

8

Hou

6

2

4

Ind

8

3

4

LAC

6

2

7

LAL

8

6

5

Mem

7

1

5

Mia

6

4

2

Mil

3

1

3

Min

6

1

13

NO

2

1

3

NY

3

2

6

OKC

4

5

4

Orl

6

3

6

Phl

5

3

5

Phx

4

3

8

Por

5

2

5

Sac

8

4

12

SA

20

8

0

Tor

5

3

5

Uta

5

2

4

Was

4

2

6

Avg.

6

3

5

Seriously, San Antonio? I mean, seriously?

Even factoring the Spurs success into the numbers, the average NBA team makes the playoffs six consecutive seasons before the sun sets on them for one reason or another (age, free agency, injuries, lethargy, etc.). But the number shrinks to three seasons when you plug in the caveat of getting to at least the 2nd round of the playoffs. And the average team will also have a five year run of frustration in their twenty year milkshake (if you’re a Kings fan you get whipped cream, a cherry and nuts on top…lots of nuts…so many freakin’ nuts).

"Can you hear me now?" – Verizon guy

The question becomes, has the time come for the Sacramento Kings? With no 1st round pick and a bevy of youngsters, have we reached the point where the 2019-20 season will be measured in wins and losses and not just incremental improvement? Is the fire being extinguished in the dumpster enough, or should this organization be targeting 50 wins? And can this team improve by another 20% without significant additions to the roster?

"It’s not the itching – it’s the swelling." – David Letterman

The moves that the Kings make (or don’t make) will chart the direction for this team for the next several years. How the Kings set to filling the roster voids and how they line up their current and future spending will set the decibel level in Golden 1 Center next season and beyond. In no particular order:

· Harrison Barnes’ decision to opt in / opt out and re-sign / opt out and leave will be huge in shaping the future.

· WCS staying or going will have an impact.

· Bogdan Bogdanovic assimilating better to the new style of play and/or getting 100% healthy.

· Fox, Bagley and Giles taking the next step in their respective young games.

· Hield taking another incremental step forward.

· The coaching staff introducing the rest of the playbook to the players.

· The front office judiciously spending its cap space.

Oh, and

"Will someone catch a goddam ball make a free throw!" – Patches O’Houlihan / Rob Hessing

-

Summer will come and go, but by the time the Kings break camp in the Fall of 2019, expectations will be high and patience preaching will be a thing of the past. 2019-20 will be a results-driven season.

"Success is a science. If you have the conditions, you get the result." - Oscar Wilde

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)