There seems to be a culture change in Sacramento under new GM Monte McNair. The Kings are 11-11 to start the season and should be considered legit playoff contenders in the highly competitive Western Conference. Head Coach Luke Walton has his young team playing well and fans finally have a team to be excited about!
After receiving a max contract extension over the summer, De'Aaron Fox has taken the reigns as the leader of this team and has a large role in the team's success. Averaging 22 points and 6 assists a game, he's the star that this young team needs, and Sacramento will likely go as far as he takes them. With six players averaging double digit points, the Kings have the kind of depth you need to make a run to the postseason, and end the longest playoff drought currently in the NBA.
- Buddy Hield is providing solid minutes at both the SG and SF positions. His versatility has allowed the team to utilize different lineups to matchup with whatever team they are up against. His 15 PPG and solid defensive play are exactly what the Kings need out of him.
- Tyrese Haliburton is a Rookie of the Year candidate and his emergence is a big reason the team is in the current position of competing for a playoff spot. He's one of those guys that stands out when he's on the floor and has the ability to make others better. He has been highly disruptive in the passing lanes and reminds me of a DB causing havoc deflecting passes and getting interceptions. His 43 % mark from downtown is something to keep an eye on to as many "draft experts" were concerned by his shot and didn't think it would be effective in the NBA.
- Harrison Barnes had one of his worst years in the league last season, but now is having a great year averaging 17 points and 6 rebounds per game. Part of this success could be attributed to playing more minutes at the PF position. The small ball lineup of Fox, Haliburton, Hield, and Holmes has been their go-to lineup to score points. This adjustment by the coaching staff is exactly what Barnes needed to get his career back on track.
- Richuan Holmes has really stepped up his game and is having a career year with 13 points an 8 rebounds per game. Much like last season, he gets penciled in as the backup center then plays so well that he gets more minutes. While he is far from an elite center, he fits in perfectly with this young team and coach Walton has him playing the best ball of his career.
- Hassan Whiteside likely envisioned more than 14.5 minutes per game when he signed a one year deal with the Kings, but has been a great player off the bench. Any team would be better off having Whiteside as part of their bench unit, and last night's win over the Nuggets was a great example. He had 11 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks in only 17 minutes of action. That's the kind of efficient production you need down low when going up against a MVP talent like Nikola Jokic.
There is still plenty of basketball left this season, and we've seen this song and dance out of Sacramento before. Start off as a competitive team then it just drops off after the All-Star break. This season feels different though, Coach Walton has championship experience and has what it takes to lead this team to their first postseason appearance since 2006.
Sacramento Kings. (n.d). Statmuse. Retrieved February 7, 2021, from
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