The Sacramento Kings organization recently unveiled a plan to play the youth more going forward. Continue reading for an analysis on this decision.
It’s incredibly easy to reflect on what this season should have, or could have been for the Sacramento Kings. It’s even more tempting to wallow in the endless waves of hindsight. As fans, we sometimes preoccupy our minds with hypothetical scenarios that failed to come to pass. “What if we had drafted Donovan Mitchell?” or, “Imagine if we had a legitimate starting small forward.” Kings fans know firsthand that it is easy to get lost in our imagination.
The aftermath of a stellar draft had lots of Kings fans excited. Combine that with an off-season of high-profile free agent signings, and it seemed as if the Kings were on their way. The pure nostalgia of the Vince Carter signing had peaked my interest this season. Zach Randolph and George Hill were just bonuses. The Kings had unveiled a plan which included adding the right mix of veterans and youth while maintaining some semblance of a competitive roster. On paper, it was a brilliant idea, but things did not go as planned.
I believe the organization intended to go younger at some point. I take issue, however, with the amount of time it took to decide that a change was necessary. Was it necessary to wait until the team fell into the last place in the Western Conference? I don’t believe that it was. I’m disappointed with the length of time that transpired before the inevitable switch happened.
A Lapse in Judgement?
The young players needed to be exposed to more significant roles much earlier in the year. Veteran leadership has its place and purpose, and the contributions of the vets on this team don’t go unnoticed. But the formula the Kings concocted this season has proven to be grossly ineffective. Minute limitations and role reductions have had a negative impact on the development of younger players (See Labissiere, Skal). The Kings have promising young talent, but their talent is also raw, and they need significant playing time on the court to hone and refine their skills. They will only learn how to adjust to the NBA by being exposed to it in real time. Patience is a conventional approach to the development of younger players. As this season progressed, however, it started to look more and more like a luxury that the Kings couldn’t afford.