Through the first 10 games of the 2021-22 NBA season, the Sacramento Kings are 5-5. The last time they were had a record .500 or better through the first 10 games of the season was the 2018-19 season, the season before Luke Walton took over as head coach.
While Walton recognizes that the team’s record could be better, he doesn’t think his players should be disappointed with where the team is at currently.
“Look, how many teams have played 10 games and have been in every single one of them? Not many,” Walton said. “We know how far we have to go but I’m very encouraged and I’m not surprised our team found a way in a game that we never found our rhythm in to have a chance. I’m proud of the group.”
Walton doesn’t want to see improvement in some areas, though, and it’s not in the scoring department, where the Kings’ star point guard De’Aaron Fox has struggled this season.
“I’m encouraged about our competitive spirit, I’m encouraged about our togetherness, I’m encouraged about where we’re headed,” Walton said. “Concern? I won’t even call it a concern: what I know needs to get much better is our rebounding.”
The Kings were out-rebounded 54-33 on Sunday night and for the season, they’re ranked 21st in rebounds per game (44.7) and 26th in rebound percentage (47.7%). In addition to their rebounding struggles, the Kings’ defense isn’t where they had hoped it would be at the start of the season.
And yet, in spite of the things that have worked against the Kings this season, they’re fighting for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is exactly where Walton wants them to be.
“We’re 5-5, we’ve had an incredibly hard schedule to start, which we love,” Walton said. “We love that opportunity to come out and play really good teams. We’ve got Phoenix tomorrow on a back-to-back and then back on the road again, so we love where we’re at.”
The Kings and Suns will tip-off Sunday at 7 p.m. PT on NBC Sports California.