Three years ago, Bleacher Report made a Game of Zones episode called “The Sun Kings”. The joke was that a team composed of the best players from Sacramento and Phoenix combined still wouldn’t be able to compete against the best in the NBA.
At the time, it was a perfectly reasonable spoof. The Suns were in a playoff drought starting in 2011. They were about to start a season with their sixth head coach in that time frame, one that would result in 19 wins. They’d bombed in the draft multiple times, and it was unclear if anyone on their roster other than Devin Booker was a keeper going forward.
The Kings were right there with them, having missed the postseason for four extra years and boasting similar levels of organizational dysfunction. Sacramento ended up winning 39 games that year but fired Dave Joerger and hasn’t come close since.
Now, Phoenix is three games away from winning an NBA title. Before Game 1 of the NBA Finals tipped off, fans around the country were asked to predict who they thought would win the championship. According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, nearly three-fourths of fans believe the Suns will win it all.
Meanwhile, the Kings are pretty close to where they were three years ago, as the rebuild chugs along. Perhaps the dramatic change in trajectory should give Sacramento fans some hope. If a franchise that messed up as many decisions as Phoenix did can be this close to a championship, maybe all the Kings need is one stroke of good luck.
For the Suns, that came in the form of Chris Paul. If they do end up winning the title, it will be in no small part due to one of the greatest point guards of all time, who asked to be traded to Phoenix to help lead that team. According to 58 percent of fans, the Suns point guard is going to win NBA Finals MVP.
Behind Paul is his Suns teammate Devin Booker, with 17 percent of the vote. The Bucks player most likely to get the award, according to fans, is Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Kings theoretically have their Booker in De’Aaron Fox, and they have another burgeoning young star in Tyrese Haliburton. But Marvin Bagley is no Deandre Ayton, and the wings are barren of solid role players like Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges, though the jury is still out on Robert Woodard and Jahmi’us Ramsey.
The real question is if Sacramento needs to find its Chris Paul, or if the Kings are still in the phase where they need to prove themselves worthy of attracting a star of his caliber. As Phoenix has proven, it doesn’t take that long for a team’s fortunes to change in the NBA.
To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.