Will the Kings Get to the Playoffs? Not This Year, I’m Afraid
After finishing tenth in the Western Conference last season, the Sacramento Kings were poised to make modest gains in 2016-17. Sure, there was no way of getting past the second or even the first round of the playoffs, but the emergence of Demarcus Cousins as the prime USA big man at the Olympics was enough cause for guarded optimism. Rudy Gay was also touted to finally pick up where he left off in 2015-16, and they had two first-round picks in the 2016 Draft.
So, why in the world are the Kings stuck in 11th place right now? Both Cousins and Gay have ramped up their offense, but there is a huge drop-off for the rest of the team. For instance, Darren Collison remains an average passer at best, and does not exactly strike one as a defensive presence on the perimeter. Omri Casspi, who scored close to twelve points a game last season, inexplicably remains in the coach’s doghouse and has seen nine DNP-Coach’s Decisions so far.
Another factor is the decision to get Arron Afflalo and Matt Barnes from free agency over the summer. While both are not exactly bad players, they were not really the best players available at the moment. For someone who’s getting above than $12 million this year, Afflalo has sure looked more like someone with a $5 million contract. In my opinion, they should’ve retained Seth Curry and let 13th overall pick Giorgios Papagiannis go elsewhere. Curry is having sort of a breakout season in Dallas this year, scoring close to 11 points and making 2.6 assists a game. But it seems like there was no room for Collison, Ty Lawson, and Curry in the roster.
All in all, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about the Kings’ playoff chances this season. Let’s face it – Cousins and Gay can’t do everything. I’d rather wait a couple more seasons and see if the draft lottery is kind to them. That, or a move to a city that’s actually serious about its basketball.