The Sacramento Kings’ slim-playoff chances are still alive heading into Tuesday’s matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Kings trail the San Antonio Spurs by three games heading into the final four matchups on the schedule. It looks likely that the franchise will miss the NBA playoffs for a league-high 15th straight year.
Sacramento has had two nine-game losing streaks this season, but the team has played well in recent weeks despite missing De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings have won five out of their last six to remain in the play-in hunt.
A lot has been made about Luke Walton’s future with the team. He originally signed a four-year deal when he took over the coaching duties prior to the 2019-20 season.
Despite the team’s up-and-down play, oddsmakers are confident Walton be back with the Kings next season. Sportsbook.AG released its latest odds on coaching futures, and the sportsbook believes it’s likely Walton be brought back for his third season with the club.
Here are the odds on if Walton will be back as the coach for the 2021-22 campaign:
*This means that oddsmakers believe there is a 75 percent chance that Walton will return.
Here are some team stats over the past two seasons under Walton:
PPG this season: 114.0
PPG last season: 110.1
Opponent PPG this season: 117.7
Opponent PPG last season: 112.1
PACE this season: 48.1
PACE last season: 47.9
Net rating this season: -3.8
Net rating last season: -1.9
Walton said he wanted the team to play faster this season, but as we can see, Sacramento’s pace has barely increased. The pace numbers have fallen without Fox in the lineup, but the Kings have the personnel to play an uptempo style.
A big issue has been the defense. Sacramento has struggled to guard the 3-point line, ranking 25th in opponents’ field goal percentage. The Kings haven’t had adequate rim protection either. They give up 53.4 points in the paint per game, second-most in the league.
Walton deserves credit for keeping his players engaged despite the recent injury issues. The players have continued to play with energy and effort, even without arguably the three best players on the team.
It will be interesting to see how general manager Monte McNair will approach the coaching situation this offseason. Walton is Vlade Divac’s guy, so if McNair has a replacement in mind, he would likely pull the trigger on a coaching change.
Do you think Walton will be the head coach next season?