The Sacramento Kings strong start to the 2022-23 NBA season continues and as it does, they are beginning to earn respect from those around the NBA. The latest example comes via John Schuhmann in his weekly NBA Power Rankings.
Entering the 8th week of the NBA season, Schuhmann has finally seen enough from the high-scoring Kings to catapult them into his top ten. Due to the franchise we’re talking about here and some of the concerns early on this season about how sustainable the wins could be, it’s somewhat understandable that it took this long for Sacramento to jump into the top ten.
Kings fans hope this is a trend for the franchise moving forward. If the current on-court production continues for this group, it certainly could be.
The Kings ride into the eighth week of the season on a three-game winning streak after tallying wins over the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls this past week. Believe it or not, Sacramento is just two games out of first place in the Western Conference as of December 6th, 2022.
Unfortunately for Mike Brown and his group, that only puts them 2.5 games ahead of the current 11 seed in the West. In what is going to be a tight battle all season long for playoff spots, the Kings will look to ride their current momentum in order to position themselves for a potential playoff run.
Sacramento Kings Defense earns them respect
Schuhmann highlights the Kings defense as a crucial reason why he finally has them entering the top ten. It’s a very fair point and giving the Kings respect for their recent defensive stretch is absolutely well-deserved by the group.
Up until this past week, the Kings have had one path to victory: Outscoring opponents. They’ve done it impressively well, but the defense needed to come around to some extent in order for the Kings to be taken seriously.
Last week, the defense certainly came around for Sacramento. In three games, the Kings produced their three best defensive ratings of the season. Those three games also now account for three of their top-five rebounding performances on the season.
Rebounding and defense are going to be crucial for the Kings to keep things rolling throughout the season. Their strong performances in those areas recently is being noticed and rightfully so. If those improvements aren’t flukes, the Kings will have some support for their high-powered offense moving forward.
Although their opponents weren’t the best teams possible, the Kings still handled what was on their plate and that was enough to catapult them into the top ten of the NBA Power Rankings. This week, things will get more difficult. The Kings have three games on the schedule for the eighth week of the season, all of which are on the road.
Sacramento will travel to the second-ranked Milwaukee Bucks and the sixth-ranked Cleveland Cavaliers this week. Their third game will be at the 21st-ranked New York Knicks, a group that is struggling but is well-coached and certainly has plenty of talent on their roster.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Kings handle their first week in the top ten. Hopefully, their stay isn’t short-lived and we see De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis continue to lead the way in productive fashion.