The Biggest key to the Sacramento Kings making the playoffs in 2022-23

De'Aaron Fox Sacramento Kings (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
De'Aaron Fox Sacramento Kings (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

The NBA released the schedule for the upcoming season, and if the Sacramento Kings want to end their playoff drought, they’ll have to get off to a good start. Their first 34 games are the key. If they can play 500 ball for the first 34 games, they’ll set themselves up for potential success.

The Kings finished the 2018-19 season in 9th place in the Western Conference with a record of 39-43. Their record was 5-3 through October, 10-11 through November, 19-17 through December, 26-25 through January, 31-30 through February, 38-39 through March, and they finished 39-43.

The 2019-2020 season ended with the Kings in 12th place in the West with a record of 31-41. They started 0-5 through October but finished November with an 8-10 record. December wasn’t kind, and the Kings were 12-22 when the new year arrived. Even though the Kings were 28-36 when the season was suspended because of the pandemic, they were basically tied with the eventual 8th place Portland Trail Blazers. The Kings went 3-5 in the bubble while Portland went 6-2 and won the Play-In Tournament game.

The 2020-2021 season saw the Kings finish in 12th place in the West again with a record of 31-41. The season started in late December and the Kings’ record was 3-2 going into January. They were 8-11 through January, 13-21 through February, 22-26 through March, 26-37 through April, and finished the season 31-41.

Last season, the Kings finished 12th in the West with a record of 30-52. They got through October with a record 500 record (3-3) before going 12-19 over the next two months. Then, they only won three games in January.

In the 2022-23 season, the Kings can’t count on other teams to struggle like in the 2019-20 season when, even though their record was under 500, they still had a chance at the playoffs.

If Sacramento is going to end their playoff drought, they have to have a record of 500 or above through the first 34 games. They’ve only accomplished this one time in the 16-season playoff drought, and that was the 2018-19 season. In most of the years during the playoff drought, the Kings have found themselves below 500 after 34 games, and they haven’t been able to claw back to the 500 mark.

How the Sacramento Kings can accomplish their goal

It will never be easy to end a 16-year playoff drought, but the Kings can accomplish it. Here’s a blueprint on how they could position themselves to make the playoffs by focusing on the first 34 games.

For the 2022-23 season, the Kings have six games in October.

October 19 vs Portland

October 22 vs Clippers

October 23 @ Golden State

October 27 vs Memphis

October 29 vs Miami

October 31 @ Charlotte

It would be nice to see the Kings win at least three of those games. Win the home opener against Portland, beat Miami, which will be finishing up their three-game road trip in Sacramento, and finish the month with a win in Charlotte.

That would have the Kings at 3-3 going into November. They have 14 games in November.

November 2 @ Miami

November 5 @ Orlando

November 7 @ Golden State

November 9 vs Cleveland

November 11 @ Lakers

November 13 vs Golden State

November 15 vs Brooklyn

November 17 vs Spurs

November 20 vs Detroit

November 22 @ Memphis

November 23 @ Atlanta

November 25 @ Boston

November 28 vs Phoenix

November 30 vs Indiana

If the Kings can go 7-7 in November, they’ll still have a 500 record.

Orlando, Detroit, San Antonio, and Indiana aren’t expected to be playoff teams this upcoming season. Those are the games the Kings can’t afford to lose.

Phoenix, Brooklyn, and the Lakers are tough opponents, but the Kings have to beat some good teams if they want to go anywhere.

If Sacramento can be 10-10 going into December, I think they’ll feel pretty good about their situation. They have 14 games in December.

December 3 @ Clippers

December 5 vs Chicago

December 7 @ Milwaukee

December 9 @ Cleveland

December 11 @ NY

December 13 @ Philly

December 14 @ Toronto

December 16 @ Detroit

December 19 vs Charlotte

December 21 vs Lakers

December 23 vs Washington

December 27 vs Denver

December 28 vs Denver

December 30 vs Utah

Finishing 7-7 in December would put Sacramento at 17-17 going into the new year. It won’t be easy. Chicago, NY, Detroit, Charlotte, Washington, Denver, and Utah aren’t guaranteed wins. No one is a guaranteed win when it comes to the Kings, but every team is beatable.

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17-17 after 34 games. The Kings start 2023 with a 500 record. Can they do it? Did I pick the right games to win? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.