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The Kings After One Third Of The Season

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

It is amazing how quickly the NBA season goes by. There is still a long way to go but we are past the “it is still early stage.”

The Kings have now played 24 games and in this season that marks 33% of their schedule. To say it has been a roller coaster would be quite the understatement. The Kings have had their share of lows but lately the highs have been very memorable.

So much progress has been made since the brutal stretch of games when they couldn’t stop opposing teams and they lost nine out of eleven games. When the Kings lost for the second time to the Los Angeles Clippers on January 20th, they were a disappointing (5-10).

From that point on the Kings have gone (7-2) with wins over playoff teams like Orlando, Toronto, Miami, Boston, Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers. The defense has improved, the offense has been smooth and the closing lineup has been lethal.

Winning gets you noticed and the Kings have been getting their love. Tyrese Haliburton was named NBA rookie of the month in the Western Conference. Teammate De’Aaron Fox after a perfect 4-0 week was named Western Conference Player of the week.

What is working? Why has this happened? There are many reasons for the turnaround. The players and coaches refer to the two missed games due to Covid tracing for the Memphis Grizzlies that resulted in extra practice time. The Kings have also been very healthy.

They have only used two different starting lineups. Some of the teams that they have played in this great stretch have been a bit banged up and the Kings have taken advantage of that.

That continuity has resulted in more defined roles for the core players and the results have shown. The final five on the floor in every game has been De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes. That group is small but they defend, they still rebound well and the offensive rhythm they have is noticeable. It is tough to get others players on the floor in crunch time because this grew truly is lethal.

The Kings formula for winning appears to be the following. Share the ball and get close to 30 assists.

Try to limit the turnovers to 15 or less. Spread the floor and attack the paint with hard drives to the hoop and then knock down timely three pointers. They want to be disruptive on defense and make things just a little more difficult for the opposing teams.

They seem to be engaged most nights. The compete level is really high right now as is their confidence. All of that and their best player De’Aaron Fox is playing at an unbelievable level.

There are many nights where Fox is the best player on the floor and what a luxury to say that he is on the Kings. Haliburton’s impact is so palpable and the “fit” for this team couldn’t be better. Holmes and Barnes have been so consistent and reliable while Bagley continues to improve. The fact that Marvin has played every game is a huge step in his noticeable growth.

At times the bench feels like it might be a weaker spot for the team but Coach Walton has elected to put a lot more on the starters and quite honestly I feel like that is the right play.

If this success keeps going, will the Kings be buyers near the trade deadline?

So many fun storylines to follow right now and the point is, it is truly a joy to be on this ride right now. I always say it but you better enjoy the ride. You never know when it will change, a lot of people didn’t see this change for the better coming.

Enjoy it, I know that I am.