ESPN Analyst shares doubts about Kings’ playoff chances after huge win over Clippers

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

In a tough Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings are one of many teams chasing a playoff spot. Outside the top four, no one is safe yet, and a huge win over the Clippers last night catapulted the Kings back into fifth place. That can change quickly, however, so don’t get too comfortable. 

The schedule doesn’t get any easier from here on out. You should never bet against Miami, even though they will be short-handed, Denver and Nikola Jokic will be looking for revenge, and the Timberwolves have been one of the best teams in the league all season long. 

If the Kings play like they did last night, they have a chance, however. Offensively, things looked solid, as the Kings shot 40.5 percent from three, converted their free throws, and dished out 29 assists. 

De’Aaron Fox didn’t make a single three but did some serious damage in the paint and mid-range. Domantas Sabonis recorded another triple-double, and six Kings scored in double-figures. 

And yet, it was the defense that stuck out most. Three players—Fox, Harrison Barnes, and Chris Duarte—had multiple steals. Pretty much everyone was locked in, but especially Fox. He didn’t back down from any challenge, played physical defense, and bothered the Clippers. Barnes, who took home the Defensive Player of the Game Crown, said that it was Fox’s best defensive game so far. 

Kings fans are rightfully excited about this giant win on national TV—even though the Clippers were without Paul George—but not everyone is optimistic about their playoff chances.

ESPN’s Tim Legler has doubts about the Kings’ playoff capabilities this season

On ESPN’s SportsCenter, analyst Tim Legler gave his thoughts on last night’s game—and not concerning the Clippers. A lot of times when the Kings get a big win, national TV networks talk about what went wrong with the other team and not about what the Kings did well. 

Last night, the Kings and their huge win were the topic of the segment, which is a win for Sacramento fans, but it wasn’t all positive. The Kings’ goal this season is to go to the playoffs, get more experience, and maybe win their first playoff series since 2004. 

Legler has his doubts about the last ambition, however. 

“Could they win a playoff series? Probably, but I wouldn’t bet on it,” he said, looking at the competition. Kings fans might not like to hear it, but he is not alone with that take. 

In a conference that features the reigning champions, the top-heavy Clippers, the Suns led by Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Luka Doncic’s and Kyrie Irving’s Mavericks, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry, the Kings are not the favorites. Just like the Timberwolves and Thunder, they have to prove themselves in the postseason first. 

Legler’s main concern about the Kings’ playoff aspirations is Domantas Sabonis. It sounds crazy to say that about a guy who just posted his seventh triple-double in the last ten games, but Sabonis struggled in last season’s playoffs

The Warriors clogged the paint and forced him to be a shooter. It was tough for Sabonis and interrupted the Kings’ offensive flow. For Legler, that is still a problem

“What it comes down to for me is, as great as Sabonis is,… he has some limitations offensively,” he noted. Later in the segment, he added, “It’s the stuff he doesn’t do in the middle area of the floor.”

Sabonis is amazing—without him, the Kings wouldn’t be in the position to even compete for the playoffs—but none of this is totally unwarranted. Until he and the Kings prove that they can do it, there will always be doubters. Now is the time to start proving them wrong and set the foundation for a long time of winning basketball in Sacramento, led by two of the top players in the league.