2 Obvious, 1 subtle moves Mike Brown must make to turn the Kings into a legit playoff team

Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz v Sacramento Kings / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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After an ugly loss to the Chicago Bulls, the Sacramento Kings are once again seventh in the West. If the season ended now, they would have to fight their way through the Play-In Tournament, starting with a single-elimination game against the Mavericks. 

The other two teams in that territory are the Lakers and the Warriors. None of the three teams behind the Kings can afford to miss the playoffs, and the play-in will be a bloodbath. 

Fortunately, nothing in the West outside the top four and bottom three is set in stone. The Thunder, Timberwolves, and Nuggets might move around between seeds one to three, but none of them are going to fall out of the top. 

The teams in fifth and sixth—the Pelicans and the Suns—are not as safe, and the Kings still have a chance to avoid the play-in if they play their best basketball. So, let’s look at two obvious and one subtle moves Mike Brown must make to turn the Kings into a playoff team. 

Obvious move: Keep Keegan Murray involved offensively

Keegan Murray is the youngest player in the rotation. In just his second season he has made big strides already, especially defensively. The Kings’ organization believes he can be an All-Star level player sooner rather than later and refused to move him for a more proven player. 

For that to happen, Murray needs to continue to grow his offense. He has already improved, becoming much more than just a catch-and-shoot threat, but a huge number of his field goals are still assisted. It is actually one of the highest percentages in the league. 

He is still heavily reliant on his teammates to set him up, and sometimes the Kings go away from that late in games. Some of that is on Murray himself, who is still a very passive player and doesn’t just demand the ball or go to get it. 

Some of it is also on the Kings’ offensive system, however. Sometimes, Mike Brown just has to empower Murray to be more aggressive and get the ball in his hands. When the Kings lost to Denver, for example, Murray started the game well, shooting 6-12 from the field, and then only took one shot during the third quarter. That is a problem. 

He has to be a consistent part of the offense both for his development and the Kings’ current success. The team needs as many offensive weapons as possible right now because the defense just isn’t good enough to secure wins and Fox hasn’t been the same clutch player he was last season.