The Sacramento Kings are 0-3. Whether this is a blip on the radar of an ultimately successful season or a sign of things to come depends on your perspective.
Let’s outline both sides and try to see which is more likely. Are the Kings on the right track and just need some more games together? Or is the team bound to miss the playoffs for the 17th season in a row?
Yes, it’s time to worry
The Kings got better over the offseason, but if the first few games were any indication, they didn’t get better enough.
The west is an absolute gauntlet. Yes, the Kings added some legitimate talent, but the early results seem to indicate that they didn’t add enough talent, or at least add that talent in the right places.
Yes, they have played three solid teams — the upstart Portland Trail Blazers, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors — but the bottom line is that the team is winless. In a season where the Kings are trying to make the playoffs, three losses are three losses.
While the team improved its depth, they still have an imbalanced roster with too many guards and not enough wing players at the moment. Malik Monk, Terence Davis and Davion Mitchell are all undersized, but since they are all around the same size, it makes it tough to have more than one of them on the court.
An even more concerning question is, what is up with Domantas Sabonis and Harrison Barnes? At the end of last season, both were top 3 players on the roster, and so far, to start the season, they’ve been dismal. Barnes, in particular, has been so off that you have to wonder if he’s still an NBA starter.
Looking at Sacramento’s upcoming schedule, its hard to find the games that they “should” win. Until a Nov. 5 game against the winless Orlando Magic, it’s hard to predict the game where the Kings will be favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers.
It’s not time to worry
This losing streak is just a three-game stretch of the season. The majority of teams in the NBA will have at least one three-game losing streak in a season.
Sacramento isn’t playing horrible basketball. If Sacramento holds on to the five-point lead it had against Portland on opening night and makes a few more free throws against the Clippers, then Sacramento is sitting at 2-1 right now.
The Kings had a legitimate chance at winning against the Trail Blazers on opening night and the Clippers on Saturday night. Then, the Kings played the defending champs less than 24 hours later and got outclassed until a comeback to make the final score respectable.
Players like Harrison Barnes and Domantas Sabonis have too long of a track record to be as bad as they have been through three games over the long stretch of the season.
Keegan Murray has also been way better than even his strongest supporters could have expected through two games on both sides of the ball.
Last year, several teams got off to slow starts before rallying back and having successful seasons. With so many challenging opponents early this season, it means there will be a softer portion of the schedule for Sacramento down the line.
Reminder that these teams made the playoffs last season despite slow starts:— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 25, 2022
Celtics started 2-5
Pelicans started 1-12
Hawks started 4-9
Timberwolves started 4-9 pic.twitter.com/ngH67JmkrS
Until there have been around 15 to 20 games played, I am not comfortable making any declarations about who this team is.
Ultimately, though have been some concerning things for the Kings to start the season, it’s too early to worry about their ability to get where they want to this season.
There have also been some alarming things, but until that sample size grows past the 20-game mark, I am not making any big declarations about who this team is. Let’s take a deep breath and let things play out for a little longer before sounding the alarm.