Give credit where credit is due: Luke Walton has been instrumental in the Kings’ recent surge

To those who were calling for Luke Walton’s job, to those who were adamant he had no idea what he was doing, make sure to give credit where its due. As the Sacramento Kings race for a playoff push, Walton has been instrumental in the Kings’ recent surge.

De’Aaron Fox is showing he’s "that guy", embarking on a tear that proves why the Sacramento Kings selected him with the fifth pick back in 2017. Harry Giles, perhaps using the Kings’ choice to decline his contract option as fuel, is playing like the player he was prior to the ACL injuries. Kent Bazemore and Alex Len, two acquisitions at the trade deadline by Vlade Divac, have given a much-needed spark.

And there’s one more factor in Sacramento’s recent surge: Luke Walton has coached these Kings into a race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. Make no mistake about it.

In the end, the Kings may miss out on the playoffs for another season, but as the standings currently sit, Sacramento is just three games back from the shaky Memphis Grizzlies for the remaining playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Sacramento is 7-3 in their last 10 games, and by all means, they are playing their best, and most inspired, basketball of the season.

Do we give sole credit to Fox’s dominance, Giles’ resurgence, or Bazemore’s and others’ contributions off the bench? In reality, you give credit to all of the above, but don’t overlook that none of it matters if the roster isn’t prepared and ready to play night in and night out.

And that you can owe to Luke Walton.

Sacramento is 12-5 in their last 17 games, which dates all the way back to January 24th when the Kings made a road trip to face the Chicago Bulls. Why is that date so significant? Because that is when Walton made the decision to move Buddy Hield, fresh off a four-year extension, to the bench.

For a player that signed an extension worth up to $106 million, the move was immediately met with skepticism. But hindsight is 20/20, and it proved to be the right move to help the Kings’ accomplish what they couldn’t achieve during last year’s 39 win season: closing out strong.

They say winning cures all.

Injuries to the likes of Fox and Bagley threw the Kings’ season off course early on, and even now they are still dealing with the injury bug. But what separates teams with potential from those in dysfunction is finding ways to fight through those obstacles. The coach is responsible for getting these players ready, putting them in the right position to succeed.

Sometimes, that means making the right move, even among the ensuing backlash.

And for the past month-and-a-half of basketball, we’ve seen a Kings team as ready and hungry as they’ve ever been this season. It’s a sight you love to see.

Just don’t forget to acknowledge Luke Walton’s part in the process.

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