Will the Real Sacramento Kings Please Stand Up?
Ups and downs. Peaks and valleys. Excitement and dread. Hope, and the same old disappointment.
The Sacramento Kings rollercoaster continues. And we can’t get off.
After an unexpected 5-7 start for a Kings team that most believed would be near the bottom of the Western Conference, you’d think the excitement level would be higher in Sacramento. But Kings fans just can’t get rid of their ongoing apprehension.
Tempering feelings of hope during stretches of short-term success is a learned behavior in Sacramento. Many would consider it a necessity for maintaining proper mental health (just as Carmichael Dave). But there’s always that voice in the back of your head whispering, “what if this time, it’s for real?”.
“What if this decent start isn’t an anomaly? What if the Sacramento Kings are actually, kinda good? What if playoff contention really is a possibility?”
No! Shut up! Don’t give me hope. I can’t take it.
So, are the Kings “good” or what?
Good? To be determined. Inconsistent? Always.
This last week could not be more of a perfect example. After a hard fought victory over the Chicago Bulls (following a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors), Sacramento put together one of their strongest starts to a game ever, building a 19-point first quarter lead over the Toronto Raptors. But, by the end of the night, that massive lead evaporated into a 21-point loss.
The very next night, the Kings were routed by the Portland Trail Blazers, stringing together seven straight quarters where the Kings were outscored by their opponents.
After the disastrous weekend, Sacramento responded with a 127-122 win over the Indiana Pacers, putting together what head coach Luke Walton called their best win and full 48-minute performance of the season. And the Kings’ rematch with Portland on Wednesday night went much better than Saturday, but Sacramento managed to blow two different 19-plus-point leads.
Sometimes its an effort issue, other times the effort is great but the result is not. Then the team looks like they can’t miss, but also can’t get a stop. They beat good teams in close games. Lose to under .500 teams in blowouts. Every night, Kings fans tune in not knowing which version of their team will show up.
What’s the best way to approach this Kings season?
Take it a game at a time and focus on the big picture. It’s an oversimplification, but in this case it applies. The Kings are a Jekyll and Hyde team with a lot to fix. But the potential is there. And even with the inconsistency, Sacramento has managed a 5-7 start with impressive wins over playoff teams from both conferences.
There’s a very good chance that the Kings will end up right back in NBA purgatory, with too good a record to land a top draft pick, but not good enough to end their 14-season playoff drought.
However, as long as De’Aaron Fox continues his step towards all-stardom, Tyrese Haliburton continues to play like a multi-year veteran, and Marvin Bagley gets the court time he desperately needs, it can still be a very successful season for Sacramento.
I get it, patience is all but spent for most Kings fans. But especially today, with everything else going on outside of basketball, remember your love of the game.
There will be highs and there will be lows on this unending roller coaster.
Put both hands in the air, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.