3 Sacramento Kings who failed to meet expectations this season 

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
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1. Kevin Huerter

Kevin Huerter has been a steady supporting player for most of his NBA career and had his best statistical season with the Kings in 2022-23. He was a big part of the team’s sudden success with his shooting and offensive talent. So, the expectation for this season was that he would be one of the Kings’ best and most reliable players once again. 

Instead, Huerter struggled and eventually had to miss the final part of the season with a shoulder injury. Huerter has never been known as a defensive talent, and Mike Brown’s new focus on defense put that on full display. The shooting guard quickly became the poster child for the Kings’ defensive shortcomings, even though it was far from just his fault. 

Early in the season, he seemed in danger of losing his starting spot to Chris Duarte. Even though that didn’t happen, Brown shortened his leash immensely, not allowing any defensive mistakes, and many fans were calling for Keon Ellis to replace him in the starting lineup just before the injury. 

All of this, plus seeing his name mentioned in trade talks, clearly impacted Huerter. He was in his head, struggled to shoot, and put together his worst statistical season since his rookie year in 2018-19. 

Huerter is still recovering from his shoulder surgery but will hopefully be ready to start fresh next season. Starting fresh could have several meanings for Huerter. The first one is starting fresh with the Kings with a more positive mindset and maybe even in a bench role if Ellis can retain the starting spot. 

It could also mean starting fresh with a new team, however. This season has shown clearly that the Kings need to make upgrades. They need more size, preferably in the form of capable 3-and-D players, but have few picks to trade. So, they will have to move players, and Kevin Huerter is still their most valuable trade asset.