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J. Ross: The Kings at 41

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings have made it to the halfway point of the NBA season.  I would say they come in limping only because they have lost 6 of their last 8 games and are coming off their worst loss of the first 41 games.  With that said, its time to look back at what we have witnessed halfway through this NBA season for the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings record is (20-21).  I honestly am very shocked by that.  I had them winning 24 games coming into the season mainly because I thought the Western Conference was going to be just too tough.  The conference has held up to that but the Kings have clearly made a jump.

The biggest improvement from last season is the offense and the numbers show it.  The Kings are 5th in scoring, 8th in assists, 9th in field goal percentage, 2nd in 3 point percentage and they commit the 6th fewest turnovers.  This team continues to be near the top of pace and has been there all season long.  This team has shown an incredible knack for coming back from large deficits.  They rallied from 19 down in back to back home court games to beat Memphis and New Orleans right before Christmas. They have several quality wins, they have been solid on the road and set franchise records for three pointers in a game twice this season.

Individually so many players on the roster are having their best seasons of their careers.  Granted the roster is young but those that are playing have really made a significant leap.  Buddy Hield is a 20 point per game scorer and has turned into an NBA sniper.  De’Aaron Fox looks like he is speeding his way to stardom.  Fox has the game and the swagger to reach incredible heights.  Nemana Bjelica has shown to be a signing that has outperformed his free agent contract from the Kings.  Koufos and Shumpert have shown veteran leadership.  So has Zach Randolph.  Z-Bo was told early that he wouldn’t play which couldn’t have been easy but has been really a good move. Bogi hit a game winner against the Lakers, Willie has been more consistent and the rookies have shown flashes.  I think Harry Giles is finding the depth to his game to fill the stat page and Marvin Bagley is just beginning his journey to a future nightly double-double guy.

Again more things have been good than have been bad.  The exciting thing about watching this team make strides is knowing that there is still more to go and that they clearly can get better.  The Kings are 28th in defense.  Too many times they have let opponents score easily and erase large leads that Sacramento has built. The Kings don’t get to the line much but when they do they aren’t that efficient at knocking down the freebies.  The Kings rebounding stats aren’t awful but some nights it feels that way.  They never seem to get the games most important boards.  Other than the Phoenix game I think the Kings have done a good job with the schedule.  The have navigated their way through the games “you should win” at a good clip and snuck out a few others to keep them near the .500 mark all season.

So what is next?  I would anticipate more of the same.  That means exciting offense with some HUGE nights beyond the arc.  I also feel like some frustration still lies ahead as that is the way of the NBA.  It also hits fans because they see the potential with the Kings and expect it all to happen now.  It is happening though.  Of all the moves they have made over the last 2 years they have been on the right side of most of them.  For someone that picked them to win just 24 games, my feeling now is that they will continue to bounce above and below the .500 mark and stay in the race as long as the Western Conference will let them.  The top 8 right now are separating just a little and all of this will be contingent on injuries.  The Kings may make it, they may not, but the year of growth is happening before our eyes.  As I always say enjoy the ride, because this time it is actually a lot of fun.