The calendar has turned to March, meaning that we are only a short period of time away from the start of the NBA playoffs. For the first time since 2006, the Sacramento Kings look to be in the playoff picture. Currently, the Kings are third in the wild Western Conference and seem like the real deal. But the question remains about whether or not this team is a serious threat for the NBA title this season. Personally, I love what this team has done but I’m not completely sold on them as title contenders.
For a long time, Sacramento was the poster child for organizational instability and lack of any sort of success. However, this season, they have completely flipped that narrative around and it all comes back to the smart moves that they have made of late. Let’s start with the big move that the franchise made last trade deadline, sending guard Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana for Domantas Sabonis.
When the move happened, the Kings were deemed the losers of the trade for allowing a talent like Haliburton to leave. But fast forward a full year and it’s clear that it was one of those rare “win-wins” between NBA teams. Haliburton is playing well with the Pacers and Sabonis has showed that he can help lead a team and was even an All-Star this season for the Kings.
The next major move they made was hiring former Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown to lead the charge. He has helped transform the culture within the Kings organization and it has shown with the on-court results. This team is extremely efficient on offense and can be looked at as a juggernaut on that side of the ball.
They play with some real pace as they fly up and down the court. They move the ball quickly, generate scoring chances in the paint, and have created a lethal shooting team. All in all, the Kings have one of the best offenses around the entire NBA.
The combination of Sabonis and guard De’Aaron Fox has been awesome to watch and is a big reason as to why the Kings find themselves towards the top of the standings. Fox has grown his game this season and has been one of the best performers in clutch time around the league. Sacramento has been very good within the final few minutes of games this season and it has helped them pad their record. .
Coach Brown is preparing this team for a playoff RUN, not just appearance 😤 pic.twitter.com/SiqlcIOUa1
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 1, 2023
While it all sounds good for the Kings, the issue with them is their defense. They currently sit in the 25th spot in the league in defensive rating as a team and it has been a problem. This team can’t stop anyone and their games are typically pretty high scoring because the offense has to carry the load.
They have no real rim protection as teams get into the paint, almost at will and they give up a ton of open shots. Come playoff time, this will likely be the downfall for this Kings squad.
The verdict on the Kings is that they are a good, not great team. Defense wins championships and in all likelihood, they will fall to a team better suited for playoff basketball come postseason time. I think their ceiling is winning one playoff series depending on how the bracket falls for them.
However, after not reaching the postseason for so long, this season should be seen as a major success no matter the outcome. They are building something in Sacramento for the first time in a long time and that should be celebrated.