Tipoff for the 2022-2023 NBA season is now less than one week away, which means it’s finally time for our season preview.
This is simultaneously going to be the most fun and most stressful season Sacramento Kings fans have endured for over a decade now. Both the roster and staff have been reconstructed into a real NBA team with talent, depth and leadership.
Weird, I know.
But the odds are still against them. Have they done enough to end the longest active playoff drought in American professional sports? Will De’Aaron Fox finally become an All-Star? Was Keegan Murray the right pick? WILL THE KINGS PLAY DEFENSE?
Let’s dive into what this team may look like come April.
Best-case scenario for the Kings this season?
To literally no one’s surprise, the best case scenario is simply for the Kings to make the playoffs. Whether they do it outright as a 1-6 seed or through the play-in tourney as the 7-10 seed, it doesn’t matter. This is the goal.
In a league where over half the teams make the playoffs, 16 years is an unacceptably long for a team to not make it even once. For years the Kings have looked like they just needed that one missing piece to finally make it back into relevancy. This year they’ve added several pieces that look like they can legitimately make a positive impact. Though it will be hard to win in just their division, the best and only positive outcome for this year is playoffs.
Worst-case scenario for the Kings this season?
Along with the obvious answer of the Kings not making the playoffs, the worst case scenario also includes an epiphany that maybe Fox just isn’t the guy we thought he was.
Now that he finally has a competent coach and real pieces around him, Fox has all the tools to have his best season yet. Not being named an All-Star isn’t going to be what decides this, but the true quality of his play. If he doesn’t have the literal best season of his career, I can’t see myself having faith that he can lead this team for much longer.
Most likely scenario?
Okay, I’m gonna say it...the Sacramento Kings will end the drought and make the playoffs this season. They will make the play-in and earn a spot in the postseason for the first time since I was in elementary school and George W. Bush was the President of the United States.
Yes there three teams in just their division that may end up winning the Finals this year. Yes there is also at least one player capable of being named MVP this season on every team in the division except the Kings. And yes the Western Conference is going to eat itself alive. But this team just feels different. As I mentioned earlier, the team improved in every imaginable facet of the game even down to just having players with more heart.
They’ll have to fight tooth and claw to do it, but this is the year the Kings make the playoffs...
What are you most excited for this season?
There are honestly a few different narratives that we will be following this season. Malik Monk teaming up with his close friend and college teammate Fox. Mike Brown getting the chance to rewrite his identity as a head coach. But I think the most exciting story will be that of Keegan Murray.
Most people didn’t even think he deserved to be the fourth pick and that Sacramento should have gone with Jaden Ivy of the Detroit Pistons. But when he stepped on the court wearing purple for the first time this Summer, he immediately let everyone know that he’s really that guy. If he continues to play in the regular season how he has in the Summer and preseason, Murray is going to make a lot of fans and prove a lot of people wrong. It’ll be very fun to see what he can do.
Predicting the Kings’ win/loss record and conference seeding:
41-41; 9th seed in the West
- Keegan Murray, F
- Kevin Huerter, SG/SF
- Malik Monk, SG
- KZ Okpala, F
- Keon Ellis, G (two-way contract; can play up to 50 regular season games)
- Chima Moneke, F
- Matthew Dellavedova, PG
- Sam Merrill, SG (training camp deal)
- Alex O’Connell, SG/SF (training camp deal)
- Jeriah Horne, F (training camp deal)
- Donte Divincenzo, G (Golden State Warriors)
- Damian Jones, C (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Justin Holiday, SF (Atlanta Hawks)
- Maurice Harkless, SF (Free Agent)
- Jeremy Lamb, SG/SF (Free Agent)
- Josh Jackson, SG/SF (Toronto Raptors)
Last season’s record, seeding and ratings:
30-52; 12th seed in the West; offensive rating of 109.9 (25th in the NBA); defensive rating of 115.3 (27th in the NBA); net rating of -5.4 (25th in the NBA).