The Sacramento Kings are 10-10 in eighth place in the Western Conference, should they chase a playoff spot?
The Sacramento Kings are having a bit of a resurgence to relevancy this season. A quarter of the way into the season, the Kings are 10-10 and have blown past everyone’s expectations for this team. They did this despite not having one of their most important players in Bogdan Bogdanovic with the team for the first month of the season too.
So, should the Sacramento Kings go all in and chase a playoff spot? Or should they stay the course and play out the season with the roster as it’s currently constructed? There’s pros and cons to both, so let’s break both scenarios down.
Why they should chase a playoff spot
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2005. That’s the last time the Sacramento Kings made the playoffs and for the first time in a long time, it feels as though the Kings have a chance to change that.
There’s one problem that though, they likely won’t challenge for a playoff spot with the team they currently have. As it currently stands, the Sacramento Kings are ahead of the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets in the standings.
Last season, all three of those teams made the playoffs and all three have started the season slow. All three have also played better than Sacramento over their last 10 games as the Kings have started to slip following a hot start to the year.
So what can Sacramento do? Before the front office turns its attention towards finding trade partners, they need to make sure their core players in De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and Bogdanovic can keep up their high-level play.
If they can’t, then there’s obviously no reason to trade assets for immediate help. Sacramento also needs their supporting players in Nemanja Bjelica, Willie Cauley-Stein and Iman Shumpert to keep playing well, or for others to step up in their place.
If, and that’s a big if, those players keep up a high level of play, then the Sacramento Kings can start seeking out trades.
There are several trades the Kings could pursue and A Royal Pain has documented several already. Sacramento should focus on making a move for a small forward, but whether they want to make a minor move for somebody like Furkan Korkmaz or a major move for a player such as Otto Porter Jr. depends on what the team is willing to part with.
Sacramento doesn’t have a first round pick in 2019 and can’t afford to play loose with the draft capital they do have. The Kings have a mini-stockpile of second rounders, however, and could parlay those into bigger moves.
As with any trades, there’s an element of risk and it might be better for the Kings to ride out the season and see what this roster can do before making any big changes in the offseason.
Why they should stand pat
The reasoning behind this is pretty simple: the Kings don’t have anything to lose by standing firm with this roster. Unlike with trades where things can backfire quickly (see: Nik Stauskas trade), holding steady with this roster doesn’t present many risks.
The Kings have a number of free agents to be and next year’s team could look considerably different from this year’s team. However, if this team could somehow sneak its way into the playoffs, the Kings entire offseason plan could change.
Most of Sacramento’s upcoming free agents are bench players, save for Iman Shumpert and Willie Cauley-Stein and losing them in free agency may not be a big loss in the long run. If they make the playoffs, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team try to bring back Willie Cauley-Stein and/or Iman Shumpert.
If they don’t make the playoffs though, that could also help give the Kings front office direction heading into the offseason.
The 2019 class of free agents is absolutely loaded and if the Kings are able to put together a solid season, even if it ends below .500, they could be an attractive landing spot for some prime free agents.
Whatever direction the Kings decide to go in, one thing is clear. The Sacramento Kings have a bright future and could be one move away from becoming a playoff team again.