The Sacramento Kings are finally playing good basketball again, and the basketball world couldn’t help but notice. They did not only snap their sixteen-season playoff drought—the longest in NBA history—but they did so in dramatic fashion.
Mike Brown’s squad rallied to put together the highest-scoring offense the league has seen so far and finished third in the West behind only the Denver Nuggets and the Memphis Grizzlies. Their 48-34 record included the most wins by a Kings squad since the 2004-05 season and was good for the seventh-best record in the entire league.
It is a big jump to go from the bottom of the league to the top three in the Western Conference, and the Kings took the NBA by surprise when they did it. That won’t be the case in 2023-24, however.
After bringing back ball their core pieces, adding important depth, and tightening up their Defense in the playoffs, the Kings are expected to have another good season and prove that 2022-23 was no fluke.
Accordingly, the Kings will play 22 games on National TV, including their home opener against the Golden State Warriors. While this is still much less than the number of games some of the bigger markets got, it marks a big step in the Kings’ development.
This is the most nationally televised games for the Kings since the 2004-05 season, and they are determined to prove that this is where they belong.
Next stop: An NBA championship?
Unless your starting point guard fails to show up, media day is usually full of optimism, and it was no different for the Kings. Last season’s success, the return of all core players, and their joy of playing in Sacramento filled the entire team with high hopes for the upcoming season.
Paired with the lasting frustration over losing a hard-fought seven-game series to the Warriors, that makes for a dangerous combination. The rest of the league should deafeningly watch out for the Kings because they have big plans for the future.
“We expect to compete for a championship,” Mike Brown told reporters on media day.
De’Aaron Fox backed up his coach, reaffirming the idea that the Kings are chasing a title this season. He told reporters, “We have high expectations. We want to win a championship. That’s our next goal.”
So, there we have it. The Kings’ next goal is not to return to the playoffs or to make it past the first round. It is to win a championship. Going from their first playoff appearance in years to competing for a title within a season would be a huge jump.
It won’t be easy either. The West is loaded with Denver and Phoenix at the head of the snake, and out in the East Boston and Milwaukee look like two of the top teams in the league. Nevertheless, the Kings seem to believe that they can do it with the right mindset and improvements, especially defensively.
“Our physicality has to start happening yesterday,” Mike Brown stated when asked about some of the most important improvements.
For fans that is incredibly good news. The amazing Kings basketball we saw last season will continue with some added heat as they chase the franchise’s first NBA title.