4 Sacramento Kings lineups that have been killing it defensively lately 

Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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The Kings returned to the playoffs as the best offensive team in league history at that point. Defense was not the team’s strong suit, as it just wasn’t built around defensive-minded players. 

Nevertheless, Mike Brown came into training camp with the vision of his team playing physical defense and competing every possession. That vision has finally come true. 

The Kings’ defense has been looking much improved this month. So, let’s look at four Kings lineups that have been killing it defensively lately. Spoiler: Keon Ellis is involved in all of them. 

4. Harrison Barnes, Domantas Sabonis, De’Aaron Fox, Keegan Murray, Keon Ellis

Over the last 12 games, this now new iteration of the Kings’ starting lineup has posted a 103.4 defensive rating. With the trio of De’Aaron Fox, Keon Ellis, and Keegan Murray all playing at the same time, the Kings have three good perimeter defenders out there. 

That makes Domantas Sabonis’ life much easier than before. He is not a rim protector, and the last thing a big who is not a shot blocker wants to see is crafty guards continuously rushing at him. Better perimeter defense solves that problem. 

Ellis is a huge step up defensively from Kevin Huerter, who will unfortunately miss quite some time with a shoulder injury, but his presence also helps offensively. Having one less offensive-minded player in the starting lineup means more shots for everyone else and fewer mouths to feed. 

Plus, better defense leads to more fast break opportunities and easier points. Fox and Ellis are averaging 2.4 and 2.1 steals per game respectively in March, which ranks first and third across the NBA over that stretch. 

They just bother opposing guards, and it has redefined the Kings’ identity on that end of the floor. This lineup is no slouch offensively either with a 111.3 offensive rating.