The chase for the play-in in the Western Conference hasn’t been very competitive recently. On the one hand, there are four teams within 3.5 games of each other for the no. 9 and no. 10 seeds. On the other hand, those four teams have lost 25 of their last 30 games. Instead of pushing past each other into the postseason, the squads are falling flat on their faces.
That’s the silver lining for the Kings, I suppose. They’ve squandered a golden opportunity to make up ground in the standings, but they’re not the only ones.
In the event that Sacramento actually tries in this game, which the Kings have failed to do in the last two contests against league bottom-dwellers, that might not be enough against the team with the best record in the NBA, the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are 23-0 during 2021 at home, winning by an average of 18 points per game.
The Kings might need more than a starting lineup tweak to keep pace with Utah in this one.
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
When: Saturday, April 10 at 6 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Opposing perspective: SLC Dunk
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings (22-30): De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Moe Harkless, Richaun Holmes
Jazz (39-13): Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert
Kings: Marvin Bagley III (hand) — OUT
Jazz: Juwan Morgan (left calf) — PROBABLE; Jordan Clarkson (right ankle) — DOUBTFUL; Udoka Azubuike (right ankle) — OUT
Then again, maybe the Kings aren’t really trying to win. If they’re stealth tanking, they’re doing an admirable job of it. Changing the starting lineup from the team’s very best five-man group doesn’t feel like a winning move.
Maybe Sacramento should just embrace its youth movement. Robert Woodard hasn’t been given a chance to play all season despite lighting it up in the G League. Kyle Guy’s on-off numbers are insane. Chimezie Metu has impressed in limited minutes, and Chris Silva and Damian Jones are just waiting in the wings for a chance. So long as the veterans aren’t performing, there’s no reason why the youngins shouldn’t be thrown into the fire.
To put it plainly, the Kings probably aren’t going into Utah to get a win. They might as well have some fun in the process.