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The Kings were officially eliminated from the postseason Thursday, but not without a valiant effort to save their season without De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Harrison Barnes available for much of the past two weeks. Despite Sacramento’s playoff drought extending to 15 years, in the most recent SB Nation Reacts survey, 53 percent of Kings fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s up from 35 percent last week and 46 percent two weeks ago.
It’s hard to know how much confidence to have in Monte McNair and the new regime heading into the offseason. McNair took mostly a wait-and-see approach in his first season on the job but will certainly have to be more proactive this summer. Richaun Holmes is the team’s highest-profile unrestricted free agent, and decisions will also have to be made regarding Terence Davis, Moe Harkless, and potentially the long-term fit of Buddy Hield in Sacramento.
All things considered, the Kings’ season went about as well as anyone could have hoped for considering the resources that were put into this roster. However, there were other teams around the league that defied expectations. As the playoffs approach, the biggest surprise of the season is likely the success of the New York Knicks. For the first time since 2013, the Knicks have reached the postseason and they did so without a true superstar leading the team.
In place of a superstar, the team is led on the court by Julius Randle and head coach Tom Thibodeau, both of whom fans believe will finish the season with an individual award. 69 percent of fans around the league believe Randle should win the 2020-21 Most Improved Player award. The next closest player, Michael Porter Jr., received 11 percent of the vote. It’s somewhat strange that Fox hasn’t been mentioned in the MIP race; perhaps the inconsistency of the Kings season obscured the overall improvement Fox made in his game.
50 percent of national fans believe Thibodeau has earned the Coach of the Year award this season. Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams took 23 percent.
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