LIGHT THE BEAM

2023-02-28 · 2 min read · NBA/Basketball
Sacramento Kings Malik Monk and Domantas Sabonis

USATSI | USA Today Sports | Getty Images

It’s official: the Sacramento Kings are for real.
Everyone's favorite league pass darling has burst out of the gate coming out of the All Star Break. Winners of three straight, and currently in 3rd place in the West with a 35-25 record, the Kings look like they’ll be ending their much maligned 16-year playoff drought this season.
How are they doing it, you ask? Well, it all starts with electric point guard De’Aaron Fox (25.4 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 6.3 apg)and steady big man Domantas Sabonis (18.7 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 6.9 apg), who together form one of the most lethal pick and roll duos in the league. Both were rewarded with spots on the all star team a week ago for their efforts.
Together, they’re leading a young and hungry team that can score with the best of the league.
Beyond the two leading men, are offseason acquisitions Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk, who went off for 42 in the Kings massive win in double OT against the Clippers this past weekend. Both players have provided much needed shooting and floor spacing to allow Fox and Sabonis to operate.
The Kings also have a ton of depth at their disposal. They were made run of relentlessly for drafting Keegan Murray over the talented Jaden Ivey with the 4th pick in last year’s draft. But as it turns out, Murray at this stage of his career is much better equipped to contribute to a winning team then his rookie counterpart.
His size and length defensively, along with a decent three point shot and impressive poise for a young player has been a key to the Kings’ success. Add in the steady play for Harrison Barnes and the streaky Terrence Davis (who’s good for a heat check once a week) and Sacramento is the squad that no one wants to face right now.
When you take a look at the West standings, they sit just 1.5 games back of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2nd, who have been playing .500 basketball for the last month or so. There's reason to believe that if the Kings keep up their play, nabbing that 2nd seed could very much be in play.
For a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2006, and hasn't won a series since 2002, it would be a storybook season for the forgotten California franchise.
Looking even further, it's hard to imagine a team playing this well would lose in a 2-7 matchup to whoever comes out of the play-in tournament, so a second round berth is well within reach. Beyond that? In a wide open conference, could Sacramento actually make a run to the NBA finals?
I’m not ready to go there just yet. Though they’re one of the best offensive teams in the league as mentioned, defence is their Achilles heel. They rank 25th in defensive rating, which doesn't bode well for a deep playoff run.
One thing’s for sure though, the Kings have long been the NBA’s laughing stock, but no ones laughing any more.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Eddie Huband

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