What would make the perfect season for the Sacramento Kings this upcoming campaign?
Ah, the all elusive ‘perfect season’ every NBA team and its fans dream about. For some, it’s winning championships *cough* Warriors *cough*. And for others, it’s developing players like the Philadelphia 76ers have been doing for the last
five seasons. For the Sacramento Kings, it’s more of the latter, at least for this season. With that said, ‘perfect’ is such an ambiguous term. So what does a perfect Kings season entail? Spoiler alert, it’s not a playoff appearance where they get swept by the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets.
Joerger Let’s Rookies Play Over The Vets:
Dave Joerger’s starting five for the preseason opener solely contained veteran players. This is not ideal. Not for the long term anyway.
With the Kings not owning their 2019 first-round pick, this is their last year to tank for another lottery selection. More than that, however, is they need to make sure the young guys continue to develop.
Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere should, without a doubt, be starting in the frontcourt. Ditto for Buddy Hield at two-guard. Not letting the rest of the young guys get playing time could be disastrous for their long-term growth. This list includes Justin Jackson, De’Aaron Fox, Frank Mason, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and many others.
De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson/Bogdan Bogdanovic Emerge As Starters:
Now I’m not talking opening night here, but rather more around All-Star break-ish. Justin Jackson could very well emerge as a day-one starter, and the same goes with Bogdan.
Bogdanovic, proud owner of the largest ever contract for a rookie, is a more realistic choice to start simply due to his contract, but it wouldn’t be unearned. Garrett Temple, Jackson, and Bogdanovic will all likely battle for minutes at small forward, even though Bogdanovic is a shooting guard by trade.
For the case of Fox, he has a tougher road. George Hill is the Kings’ best player and starting point guard for better or worse. However, Fox taking over wouldn’t be an indictment of Hill, but rather a testament to how well Fox would have to play to get the job.
Kings Score Their Second Ever Rookie of the Year Winner:
Technically, the Kings have a couple of Rookie of the Year winners. Maurice Stokes (1955-56) won it with the Rochester Royals and Phil Ford (1978-79) took home the hardware for the Kansas City Kings. But let’s focus on recent history. Since the Kings relocated to Sacramento, only Tyreke Evans (2009-10) has won the award. But this fact could change after this season.
Should Fox wrestle away Hill’s starting spot? He’s the obvious King to have a shot at it, but Bogdanovic can’t be counted out. In last year’s Euroleague season, Bogdanovic averaged 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists while shooting 50% from the floor, 43% from the perimeter, and 85% from the free-throw line. Oh, not to mention, he’s 25 years old and has been playing professionally since the 2012-13 season. While Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr, and others are dominating headlines, don’t be surprised if Bogdanovic sneaks up on the ROY conversation.
Will we see the Kings nail a perfect season? It’s hard to tell with this team. With that said, it’s not *entirely* out of the realm of possibility, and crazier things have happened. While the postseason is what all fans yearn for, Kings fans should be content with this season. With an exciting young team in the beginning stages of their rebuild, they could be contending sooner than some may believe if their ‘perfect’ season becomes a reality in the upcoming months.