One of the reasons the Kings reached out to Corey Brewer for the NBA restart was that he already had a certain level of comfort in Sacramento. After playing 24 games with the Kings to close out the 2018-29 season, Brewer was already familiar with the majority of his current teammates.
After being away from the Kings for the last year, Brewer now has a unique perspective on the growth of the team’s younger players. He spent time playing with them but then was also able to watch them from a distance before reconnecting over the past few weeks.
The Kings haven’t had the same team success this season as they did last year, but some of their less experienced players have shown significant statistical improvements, including Bogdan Bogdanovic and Harry Giles. De’Aaron Fox was putting up All-Star worthy numbers over the last two months, and Buddy Hield has remained one of the shooters in the league. What has stuck out to Brewer, though, isn’t the numbers his teammates have put up, but rather their mindset after another year in the NBA.
“I feel like guys are more focused, guys are really working hard, and guys know they got to take the next step if they want to be good, especially if they want to be a playoff team,” Brewer said to the media on a Zoom call last week. “You got to get better, you know you can only be young for so long, you gotta grow up.”
The idea that “you can only be young for so long” is especially relevant to this Sacramento team. Several times in recent seasons, the Kings’ mistakes on the court have been waved away because their players were young and still learning the professional game. That’s fine for rookies and even sophomores, but every member of this team’s core (with the exception of Marvin Bagley) is now in his third season at least. Fox, Hield, and the rest of the team’s nucleus is still expected to keep growing, but they also need to be at a point where they don’t use their youth as an excuse.
The Kings have the perfect opportunity to show Brewer, and the rest of the league, just how much they’ve grown over the past year as they make a push for the postseason in Orlando. That next step is there for the taking.