Sacramento Kings: This Is Rock Bottom

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Sacramento Kings, and despite the team’s struggles historically, this might be rock bottom.

We’ve been through a lot as Sacramento Kings fans for the better part of the last fifteen years; a historic playoff drought, unstable front offices, draft whiffs, even a serious relocation scare.

But as crazy as it may seem, this might be absolute rock bottom for the Kings given their current situation.

This season had promise. The team was coming off of its best campaign in 13 years and boasted an arsenal full of young talent and veteran role players. They had made huge strides last season and looked to build on those this year despite playing in the brutal Western Conference.

The season started out rough with losses and key injuries piling up for Sacramento. But they began to right the ship just as their cornerstone players were due to return from injury and a soft spot in the schedule on the horizon.

The glimmer of hope, as it always does, lasted just a few days. The ship instead has begun to sink.

Causes For Concern

Losses to poor teams like the Bulls, Knicks, and Grizzlies were just the tip of the iceberg. The team somehow lost its cohesion as soon as De’Aaron Fox returned from injury, and Marvin Bagley’s return has resulted in poor play and mounting struggles for the second-year big man.

Multiple players began to experience shooting slumps, most notably Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes. Both players have experienced serious dips in their field goal and three-point percentages after being the Kings go-to guys in the early part of the season.

But things really took a turn for the worst during and after Sacramento’s loss to the Timberwolves on Thursday, December 26th. Fox played just two minutes before experiencing back spasms that would ultimately sideline him for (at least) two games. In the third quarter, Bagley suffered a foot sprain and left the arena in a walking boot.

The duo’s much-anticipated returns sure were short, and things would get worse.

Not only did the Kings lose a double-overtime contest to a team who had lost 11 games in a row and was without its best player, but Hield’s comments afterward revealed a possible divide in the locker room between the players and the coaching staff.

The next morning, news broke that Dewayne Dedmon, who has fallen out of the rotation completely, had requested a trade.

Somehow, someway, the Kings still found themselves within reach of one of the last two playoff spots in the West. They also found themselves with yet another golden opportunity to regain their footing with a game against the Phoenix Suns, who themselves had lost eight games in a row, including a nine-point defeat to the lowly Warriors the night before.

The Kings lost, 112-110.

Why Is This Rock Bottom?

So how is this 12-20 start worse than any of the others? Because we had hope. We were in a good position and the future was bright. The team was deep, talented, and promising. After what seemed like an eternity of time spent in the bowels of the NBA standings, the Sacramento Kings were finally ready to make some noise and turn some heads.

We were excited. I know I was. I bought new Kings gear. I put my Kings license plate on the front of my car. I live more than 100 miles from Golden 1 Center, and I bought tickets to multiple games. I bragged to my friends, “This is the year!”. I was ready to write about playoff races and All-Star snubs instead of the usual draft profiles and scouting reports.

And if you love the Kings as much as I do, then you probably did some of those things, too.

But here we are again. Back to being an easy win and a laughing stock. Back to that all-too-familiar feeling of failure and disappointment. Back to square one. Back to being the KANGZ.

Kings Decade In Review: Worst Draft Picks. dark. Next

Barring a miracle turnaround, the Sacramento Kings will once again be on the outside looking in come playoff time. Of course, we’ll still watch the games, still hold out hope. But in all likelihood, the team will be looking forward to next season before long.

We probably will, too. Keep an eye out for our draft profiles, coming out in February/March.