3 Players who failed to step up with the Kings’ season on the line

Sacramento Kings v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament
Sacramento Kings v New Orleans Pelicans - Play-In Tournament / Chris Graythen/GettyImages
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2. Keegan Murray

When the Kings were looking for a third All-Star to pair with De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, teams wanted Keegan Murray in return. The Kings’ front office refused to move him, believing that his potential was worth more than bringing in an All-Star for only a few seasons at best. 

Murray is still young and far from being the player he might eventually become, but with Malik Monk sidelined, the Kings needed him to fill the role of the third star for one night. He has done it before. In the win against the Warriors, he was the leading scorer, constantly looking for his shot. 

Last night, Murray looked almost like a different player. Maybe the Pelicans’ size bothered him or maybe he was exerting too much energy on defense or maybe he just didn’t feel well. Whatever the reason, Murray failed to step up and eventually finished the game with only 11 points on 4-12 shooting. 

Murray certainly would have benefitted from some more postseason experience, but now he will have to spend the time working on his game instead. Since his rookie season, he has already come a long way, especially as a defender, and now is the time to continue working on his offensive game. 

Murray needs to bring the aggressiveness we saw against the Warriors every game next season and work on his self-creation and handles until then. Next season might be a very big one for him. Fox and Sabonis are still under contract for a few seasons, but the Kings need to build a contender now before they fall too far behind while the Thunder, Mavericks, Nuggets, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Rockets, and Spurs all continue to get better. 

Considering the Kings’ assets available this summer, it is unlikely that they will be able to bring in a huge name. On top of that, they might also lose Monk. Murray better be ready to step into one of the star roles the team needs to fill.