The Kings ended their 15th consecutive season outside of the playoffs, and general manager Monte McNair announced that Luke Walton will be returning as head coach next season. At the end of the season, per the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, 47 percent of Kings fans are confident the team is headed in the right direction. That’s down from 53 percent last week but up from 35 percent two weeks ago.
While the Kings look forward to next year, the Western Conference is staging its first two play-in tournament games today with one team advancing to the NBA playoffs and one team joining Sacramento in the offseason.
Fans around the NBA think the Golden State Warriors have the best chance of advancing beyond the play-in tournament, with 81 percent believing the team will win one of their games. They are followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, who have 80 percent of fans that believe they will win a game.
The first of the Eastern Conference play-in tournament games was played Tuesday night with the Boston Celtics earning the first bid into the playoffs after beating the Washington Wizards. 61 percent of NBA fans believed the Celtics would advance, falling only behind the Wizards team they beat, which took 78 percent. The Indiana Pacers received the least amount of votes, with only 24 percent, but they lived to fight another day after beating the Charlotte Hornets.
The Hornets loss ended their season, but it’s not the end of exciting times in Charlotte. Point guard LaMelo Ball was picked by 52 percent of NBA fans as the player who should win the Rookie of the Year award. Ball beat out Minnesota Timberwolves’ top pick Anthony Edwards 36 percent and Sacramento Kings rookie Tyrese Haliburton who earned 12 percent.
There’s no denying that Haliburton had the most consistent rookie season, but he didn’t quite reach the highs of the other two, at least not in the national consciousness, and Edwards came on late. Haliburton won Western Conference rookie of the month awards in January and February, while Edwards got those nods in March and April.
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