In the NBA, it’s rare to see a team come out of nowhere and win the championship. Usually, the franchises will build up to set themselves up for a sustained run of success.
The Sacramento Kings haven’t played a postseason game since 2006, but they have a few young pieces that can develop and, hopefully, lead the team back into the playoffs sooner rather than later. Not everyone is so optimistic about the Kings’ future, though.
Earlier this week, ESPN released its latest Future Power Rankings, and the Kings ranked 25th in the NBA. The only teams with lower rankings are the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, Charlotte Hornets, Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers.
ESPN grades the teams on a scale of 0 to 100 and averages out the combined scores in five components: players, management, money, market and draft. Here’s how they scored the Kings in each category:
Kings Future Power Ranking
Bobby Marks of ESPN explained his reasoning behind the Kings’ low ranking:
“An inconsistent season and the potential high cost of keeping the roster together has the Kings back in familiar territory outside the top 20.
While the Kings did sign Buddy Hield to a four-year, $94 million extension last October, two financial decisions loom: the restricted free agency of Bogdan Bogdanovic and rookie extension of De’Aaron Fox. The good news is that Sacramento cleaned up its future finances when Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon were traded during the season. Moving the $25 million cap hit for both players allows the Kings to sign Bogdanovic and still stay under the luxury tax for 2020-21. Outside of finances, there is a concern when it comes to former No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III. Since he was drafted in 2018, Bagley has played in only 75 games, missing the previous 29 this season because of a left foot injury.”
Re-signing Fox and Bogdanovic should be the top-two priorities for the Kings, and fortunately, they’ll have an opportunity to strike a new deal with both of them this summer. Outside of Fox and Bogdanovic, Hield remains an intriguing asset.
The team could move Hield for a piece or two, especially if Bogi continues to play at a high level. Hield can fill it up on any given night, but his decision-making continues to be a point of frustration for the franchise. Hield signed a four-year extension with the Kings, that could be worth up to $106 million. If Luke Walton plans on continuing to use Hield as a Sixth Man, the Kings might be better off using his salary to fill out their roster in a trade, or acquire a someone Walton feels is worthy of a spot in the starting lineup.
Until that gets sorted out, the Kings will only go as far as Fox can take them. His numbers at this point of his career bode well for his future trajectory. During the 17-game stretch without Fox, Sacramento lost four games by two points or less, and with Fox in the lineup, those all could have been wins for the Kings, which could have feasibly put them at the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.
The Kings may have a ton of question marks on their roster, but the perception of the team’s future could change with the right moves this summer. Let’s hope Vlade Divac delivers.
What do you think of ESPN’s ranking? Was it too high or too low?