Sacramento Kings: A Reason for Optimism


It is very early in the 2014-2015 season, but their is a reason for optimism about this Kings team, this season. While 5 games is not nearly enough of a sample size, they are doing tangible things that could sign that good things are to come for this team. Improving defense, consistent ability to not only get to the free throw line but make them once they are there and the bench providing consistency will be key to maintaining their current play.


It is still really early, i cant stress that enough, but the Kings defense is much improved thus far. They allowed 103.4 points per game a season ago, which was in the bottom half of the league. Thus far they are only allowing 99 points per game against opponents like the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trailblazers, and the Los Angeles Clippers. While the 4.4 point difference may not seem like a lot, it has taken them from a lower third team to middle of the pack in this season.

If they can continue to keep opponents under the 100 point total this season, it will mean huge growth. A season ago, the Kings would have been in the top 10 in terms of points allowed per game last season. Every team in the top 10 last season, made the playoffs.

Their defensive efficiency rating which is based upon 100 possessions has seen a marked improvement as well. They finished last season as the 23rd best defense in terms of defensive efficiency. Thus far this season, while it’s still very early, they are in the top 10.

Free Throw Shooting

The Sacramento Kings as a whole have been great from the free throw line this season. They are currently 4th in the NBA, shooting almost 82% as a team. A season ago, they were in the middle of the pack in terms of free throw percentage. They are also averaging a league high, 40 attempts per game, which is 5 more than the Toronto Raptors who have the second most.

The Kings ability to not only get to the free throw line, but make them at a high rate once they are there is a tremendous advantage. It allows the Kings to maintain leads when team are fouling them late. It also gets the opposing team in foul trouble early, which could force their starters to sit more frequently to avoid picking up a third foul before half time or a 6th foul in the fourth quarter.

Bench Contribution

The Sacramento Kings bench has been tremendous this season. They have gotten contributions from a deeper bench this season. The return of Carl Landry has been a welcomed addition. He is averaging almost 10 points a game this season, playing 17 minutes a game.

The bench provided a tremendous lift last Monday against the Denver Nuggets. It was the second game of a back to back, where the starters looked exhausted. The only start to play more than 25 minutes was Darren Collison who ran the show with the second unit. The Kings ability to rely on their bench in back to backs will allow DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and the other starters to have more energy as the season moves along.

If the Kings can maintain these strengths throughout the season, battling for a playoff spot may not be out of the question in an extremely tough Western Conference. There is still a long way to go, but there is a lot to be excited about for Kings fans this season.