With 15 games left in the season, the Sacramento Kings have eclipsed their highest win total since the 2005-06 season. The Kings accomplished this feat with an impressive 128-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday.
Phoenix was without Kevin Durant, but this was still a super impressive road victory for Sacramento.
The fine gentleman who last summer proclaimed the Kings would win 40 games this season has been proven correct, and then some.
Kings fans didn’t know how to act after winning two summer league games— SB Nation (@SBNation) July 3, 2022
“WE’RE GETTING 40 WINS THIS YEAR” pic.twitter.com/yHplVfHnR5
Here are three takeaways from Sacramento’s 40th victory:
The Kings may have found a gem in Kessler Edwards
Kessler Edwards won the Defensive Player of the Game chain on Saturday, and deservedly so. Edwards played about as good of defense as you can play on Devin Booker, using his length to frustrate the three-time All-Star.
In addition to this solid defense, Edwards scored 12 points and hit the most important shot of the game, a 3-pointer, to take it from a three-point game to a six-point game with less than a minute left.
KESSLER EDWARDS FOR THREE @KesslerEdwards | #BeamTeam pic.twitter.com/CtAHnAzMe9— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 12, 2023
Edwards fits the exact archetype of player the Kings should be surrounding De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis with. Lengthy wings who can hit the three and also play defense while not needing to dominate the ball are needed all around the NBA, and the Kings may have found one in Edwards.
If he turns into a legit rotation guy, then that’s another feather in the cap of General Manager Monte McNair, who got him basically for free from the Brooklyn Nets.
The Kings won this game on the back of the others
In most wins this season, you can point to the contributions of Fox and Sabonis. On Saturday, it wasn’t them, but the others that really cemented this victory.
It was the aforementioned Edwards, Davion Mitchell, Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu and Malik Monk who all played key roles.
Mitchell brought his typically stellar defense and nailed a couple of huge 3-pointers, while Lyles continued to be consistently solid off the Kings’ bench, scoring 11 points in the first half on Saturday. Monk had one of his signature hot stretches where he couldn’t miss a shot.
Getting this type of performance from this many bench guys speaks to how Mike Brown and the coaching staff have instilled confidence all throughout the roster.
The Kings are in a great position to land the No. 2 seed
With Saturday’s win, the Kings are now four games ahead of the Suns in the loss column. This level of deficit is going to be really tough for Phoenix to make up with such little time left in the regular season. That’s not to say they can’t do it, but it's going to be tough, especially without Durant.
The only real deterrent to Sacramento getting the No. 2 seed is the Memphis Grizzlies, who the Kings are currently tied with. Before two recent wins, Memphis was really self-combusting, sliding down the standings and losing Ja Morant for an undisclosed period of time after some off-court shenanigans.
Memphis has an easier schedule the rest of the way, but Sacramento has the head-to-head tie-breaker, which could prove to be huge.
The bottom line is that Sacramento is going to host a homecourt playoff series, either as the No. 2 seed or the No. 3 seed. Given how electric the Golden 1 Center crowd has been this season, that’s a huge development.