The Sacramento Kings are coming off arguably their best season of the 2010s and a quiet but productive offseason. Here are five things to expect from the Kings in the upcoming season.
1. Solid Bench Play
As mentioned above, Sacramento’s front office stayed out of the spotlight during the offseason as big names switched teams to form new star duos. The Kings might not have landed a superstar, but they gained exactly what they needed — seasoned veterans.
The Kings snagged Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph, Richaun Holmes, and resigned Harrison Barnes to fortify their roster. With Dedmon and Barnes likely to be in the starting lineup, that leaves Ariza, Holmes, and Joseph to come off the bench — all of whom have playoff experience.
With these three additions to the Kings bench, Sacramento looks like they have their best supporting cast in years. These veterans will fit in perfectly next to Giles, Bogie, Bjelica, and Ferrell. Walton’s team has the potential to stay just as good when the starters are off the floor.
2. Sixth Man of the Year
Speaking about solid bench play, the Kings have a player that has the ability to achieve their first Sixth Man of the Year Award since Bobby Jackson — Bogdan Bogdanovic.
Bogie is heading into his third year and coming off a successful FIBA World Cup run where he put up monstrous numbers. Bogie’s skill allows him to be a dominant scorer from any spot on the floor as well as a good ball handler with solid court vision.
Bogdanovic had a bit of a rough sophomore year, but he is poised to come back stronger and more improved. If the Kings can make a playoff push and Bogdan puts up worthy numbers off the bench, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him end the season with some hardware.
3. The Emergence of a Big Three
The Kings have three young men who are fast becoming stars in this league. If you don’t know who I’m referring to, then you better learn these names; Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley.
In their second season together, Hield and Fox already cemented themselves as one of the best backcourt duos in the league. Adding Bagley from the draft a season ago gave the Kings a daunting look for the future.
With Fox and Hield poised to dominate in the backcourt this upcoming season, Bagley will wreak havoc against other big men, as he looks to continue his dominance from his promising rookie campaign.
Hield, Fox, and Bagley will raise eyebrows and put the NBA on notice about what these three can accomplish when they’re on the floor together.
4. An All-Star
Although Harrison Barnes is the highest-paid player in Sacramento, he is not the best player on the team. That honor goes to De’Aaron Fox… or maybe Buddy Hield? Both are coming off breakout years and look to lead this Kings team to great heights this season.
I expect one, or both players to get an All-Star nod this season, especially if the Kings can stay in the playoff hunt.
If Hield can continue to be the lights out shooter he has proven to be since he entered the league and improves his overall play during the season, then he will put up a solid resume that will enable him to seize a spot on the All-Star roster.
Fox, who is coming into his third season, has already been turning heads in the NBA with his jaw-dropping speed and athleticism. Fox has shown that he can score and dish the rock effectively. If his game improves, even by just a tad, and the Kings grow into a playoff contender, then the West will have no choice but to select Fox as an All-Star.
Will both players make it? Perhaps. They will both have to put up strong numbers considering the Kings won’t be a top team in the West. But at least one of the two should be the Kings first All-Star since DeMarcus Cousins.
This is the year. The Kings have done everything right over the past couple of seasons to set themselves up for a playoff push.
Great starting lineup? Check. Solid bench support? Check. Coach who knows what he’s doing? If Walton understands rotations better than Joerger, then that box can be checked too.
The Kings have the talent and the front office support to make the postseason. Even in a stacked Western Conference, Sacramento has the pieces that allow them to hang with the best of them.
Come April, it will have been 14 long years since the Kings have made the playoffs. Luckily the Kings aren’t in a now or never situation as they have enough young talent to keep them relevant for years to come. But they have what it takes now to take Sacramento out of its misery and deliver a playoff season.