20Q | Articles

20Q: Where will the Kings finish in the West?

The Western Conference is stacked, and the Kings' roster is... not.

Going into the 2019-20 season, which feels like a decade ago, the goal for Sacramento was clear - end the postseason drought. After a disappointing bubble, letting Bogdan Bogdanovic walk, and doing little else to improve the roster's current iteration, the goalposts may have been moved a bit for 2020-21.

The top of the Western Conference includes the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, and Denver Nuggets. Practically no chance that Sacramento catches any of them in the standings.

In my eyes, the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets are all at-least two tiers above the Kings going into the season. There are going to be unpredictable injuries, key players missing stints due to Covid, and other moments of mayhem as has happened all throughout 2020.

The Rockets, for example, could trade James Harden at any moment, and that might make them worse than Sacramento? I'd still bet against it.

Golden State has the league's first and only unanimous MVP returning to their roster in Stephen Curry.

Portland added much needed defensive versatility with Robert Covington, Jusef Nurkic is returning to health, and Carmelo Anthony finally accepted a bench role.

Phoenix traded for one of the best point guards in league history to pair with Devin Booker and signed quality veterans to fill out the roster.

Hassan Whiteside and Glenn Robinson III are not going to slow any of these teams down.

This would already take us to nine teams in the conference, leaving a final play-in spot remaining for the team that locks in the tenth seed.

Yet, I would even place New Orleans and Memphis a tier above the Kings at this stage. They simply have more candidates for notable internal improvement (Ja Morant, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jaren Jackson Jr.) on their notably younger rosters.

There is a world where Marvin Bagley remains healthy, De'Aaron Fox has reached another level, Buddy Hield seems comfortable again, and Tyrese Haliburton wins rookie of the year with impeccable defensive instincts, that would allow Sacramento a playoff spot. I think it is possible, but I would gladly bet against it.

Eleven teams into the conference and I am still not sure Sacramento is the best team of the remaining San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Let's cross the youthful, future-focused Thunder off that last - they very well may end up with the worst record in the entire league come season's end.

San Antonio has the clear coaching advantage over Sacramento, and while DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are in the latter stages of their careers, and have not modernized their games, they are still superior talents to De'Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, who owned the second-worst record in the West last season, have a reason for optimism working with their first full season of D'Angelo Russel and Malik Beasley alongside Karl-Anthony Towns. The first selection in the 2020 NBA Draft, Anthony Edwards, will look to make an impact and there is potential development from Jarrett Culver or Josh Okogie.

I would tentatively place Sacramento over Minnesota, but the Wolves could very well be one of the more potent offenses in the association.

13th place in the West, that is where I have Sacramento going into this season. My predicted range would be somewhere between 11th to 14th by the conclusion of the regular season, and no end to the playoff drought.

Buddy Hield may get shipped off mid-season, some of the younger talent should be given extended opportunities, and the West is loaded as ever.

At least the 2021 Draft is a goldmine of top-tier talent!

Where do you think the Sacramento Kings will finish in the Western Conference?

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itsjabby
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December 18, 2020 10:24 am

Yes

Marty
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December 18, 2020 10:26 am

Eyes on the prize.

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CoreyBrewersD
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December 18, 2020 6:47 pm
Reply to  Marty

Tanking supposes you can do something other than lose regularly. This group has not shown the ability to do anything but lose. Just call it play to their ability!

RobHessing
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December 18, 2020 10:36 am

Spread cheeks and ready, aim, fire:

  1. Denver
  2. LA Clippers
  3. LA Lakers (I still think they’re the team to beat in the West, but I’m guessing that LeBron gets a lot of “load managment”)
  4. Portland
  5. Dallas
  6. Utah
  7. Golden State
  8. Phoenix
  9. Houston
  10. New Orleans
  11. Memphis
  12. San Antonio
  13. Minnesota
  14. Sacramento
  15. Oklahoma City

Kings finish ahead of New York, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, and Detroit, “battling” Minnesota and Chicago for the fifth worst record in the league.

Klam
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December 18, 2020 11:05 am
Reply to  RobHessing

The Lakers get a lot of load management while the Kings will be getting a lot of loathe management.

Kosta
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December 18, 2020 11:09 am
Reply to  RobHessing

…KINGS wind up with the #6 pick after losing in the lottery.

Last edited 2 years ago by Kosta
RobHessing
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December 18, 2020 11:21 am
Reply to  Kosta

If I had to predict a draft slot for the Kings right now, I’d go with 7.

Kosta
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December 18, 2020 11:32 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Ah, right. I forgot about the EAST teams. I was mistakenly just looking at your list and saw them as having the second worst record in the whole league.

CoreyBrewersD
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December 18, 2020 6:49 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

5-7 seems reasonable. I would hope at the very end you play to the lottery balls and lose better than the other teams that have lost hope.

rc50cal
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December 18, 2020 9:31 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

All of us old guys know it’s going to be seventh!

Brad Pitt Gywneth Paltrow GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Last edited 2 years ago by rc50cal
HaliComet
December 18, 2020 12:14 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Mostly agree but would have our beloved Kings swap places with Memphis.

Hamlet1989
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December 19, 2020 9:07 am
Reply to  RobHessing

How I read your list:

  1. The team that got Michael Malone after we screwed that up
  2. the team that end up with Kawhi Leonard after we picked Jimmer
  3. the team (you don’t need my help with this one)
  4. the team that got Lillard after we slept on him for T.R.
  5. the team that we handed Luka
  6. The team we left both Gobert and Mitchell
  7. the team we left Curry and Thompson
  8. the team everyone thought was a joke when we first started this rebuild, what now? 4or5 years ago?
  9. We passed on Harden too
  10. the team that actually knows how to tank for real (Paul, Davis, Zion)
  11. the team that’s just better than us just by virtue of not doing as much stupid shit

ok I’m done

Hamlet1989
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December 19, 2020 9:09 am
Reply to  Hamlet1989

Just realized Harden went ahead of our draft spot. Oh well you get the point.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 18, 2020 10:46 am

I pretty much agree. Without guessing at player movement, I’d put them anywhere 11 or 12 to 15.

They’re in that Spurs, Wolves, Thunder bottom tier. Obviously a lot can happen in terms of breakouts, injuries, and trades to shake things up, but I think they’re currently below the Warriors, Suns, Memphis, NO shoot out for 8th seed.

Which means, sneaking into the 10th slot and a play-in birth is probably within the error bars.

CarinaM707
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December 18, 2020 12:35 pm

Yeah, without trades I can unfortunately see us sneaking into the 10th spot for the play in.

But 10-14 all seem realistic.

Samdanger
December 18, 2020 10:49 am

Second to last in the West, only ahead of the Thunder. Anything not nailed down is traded at the deadline and some truly awful basketball closes out the season.

This is the way.

rc50cal
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December 18, 2020 9:39 pm
Reply to  Samdanger

This Is The Way GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Kosta
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December 18, 2020 11:13 am

Is “With less wins than Sacramento’s MLS team a possibility?”

NotAlwaysLogic
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December 18, 2020 12:01 pm
Reply to  Kosta

What happened to Sacramento’s MLS expansion team anyways? Is that still a thing?

Kosta
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December 18, 2020 12:35 pm
Reply to  NotAlwaysLogic

Last news I remember was that the pandemic put a halt on things. Hopefully it’s just a 1-year delay….?

NorCalKingsFan
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December 18, 2020 6:46 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Sac FC’s MLS entry was pushed back a year to 2022

Marty
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December 18, 2020 1:24 pm
Reply to  NotAlwaysLogic

Just get really drunk and keep singing your same question over and over and over and you might get more response.

SelecaoKOJ
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December 18, 2020 11:13 am

I see them no better than 10th. A lot depends on trades, player improvement, regression, etc. If the Kings stand pat and not move anyone, I feel they could win 30-32 games. If they start unloading HIeld, Bjelica, Barnes, Whiteside, and Holmes, the Kings can easily be one of the Bottom 5 in the league. I am not sure what Monte has in mind. I see 2 maybe 3 wins in the first 10 games. That may be enough time for Monte to start unloading players.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 18, 2020 11:49 am
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Depending on who they unload those guys to, they could get better.

eddie41
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December 18, 2020 11:20 am

Tied for last place with Sport Billy and Sport Lilly.

Kingsguru21
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December 18, 2020 11:29 am

2nd to last in the West. 5th worst record overall.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 18, 2020 11:49 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Hopefully Kuminga falls!

RobHessing
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December 18, 2020 12:34 pm

I once summered at Kuminga Falls. Very pretty.

Kosta
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December 18, 2020 12:37 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I always thought Burney Falls was Bernie Falls, for some reason. Never been there yet, but heard it’s nice.
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Kingsguru21
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December 18, 2020 12:42 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Weekend at Burney’s!!!!

Kosta
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December 18, 2020 12:51 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Count me in!

ArcoThunder
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December 19, 2020 4:03 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Weekend at Haliburney’s?

Kingsguru21
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December 18, 2020 12:43 pm

I don’t predict lottery luck, sir.

ArcoThunder
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December 18, 2020 11:35 am

Hopefully last.

okay, now I’ll read the article.

andy_sims
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December 18, 2020 11:39 am

I predict that they will finish in Sacramento.

ForKingsandCountry
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December 18, 2020 11:50 am

I have them at 14th right now, though I am sure that one or two of these teams in the west will be much worse than we think.

keith_kar
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December 18, 2020 12:03 pm

I understand there’s another mini-tournament to determine the 7th and 8th spot. My prediction, and best case scenario is I can see the Kings possibly sneaking into the 10th spot, and making it into the mini-tournament.

It’s hard to tell with only 4 games, but it seems this exhibition season, the Kings were able to put a decent product on the floor, and at least played competitively. So you never know, a lot of things would have to go in the Kings favor.

ZillersCat
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December 18, 2020 12:03 pm

I hope they finish at the end of the season, not because of the Pandemic. Otherwise, the league doesn’t seem real and I can’t wait for it to get till next season and a normal regular season.

Otherwise I’m looking at the new players and hope they do well and wish them luck. Also, they will finish 9th in the West.

Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
ZillersCat
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December 18, 2020 12:14 pm

I think we need to yell Jumanji at new years to exit 2020?
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Kosta
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December 18, 2020 12:40 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

…we could use another point guard!

itsjabby
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December 18, 2020 1:07 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Is that a joke

RORDOG
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December 18, 2020 12:19 pm

fivethirtyeight’s projections have the Kings going 31-41. They’re tied with the Warriors for second worst in the west. The problem is that puts them tied for 8th worse record in the NBA.

Another interesting little tidbit is their projections think Halliburton will have the most WAR of any of the rookies over their first 5 years in the league.

eddie41
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December 18, 2020 1:06 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Haliburton is already the best player on the team.

rc50cal
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December 18, 2020 9:43 pm
Reply to  eddie41

At the end of 538’s projection range (5 years I think), Halliburton had the greatest WAR of any player on roster.

SelecaoKOJ
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December 18, 2020 4:06 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

I can definitely see that record. If, the Kings don’t move anyone. A slow start will get the trade machine moving quickly. Looking at the first 10 games, I would say Monte is going to be active in Jan 2021. A 2-8 start will open up trade options quickly.

CoreyBrewersD
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December 18, 2020 6:25 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Tied with the Warriors LMAO. Line up the players 1-8 and tell ma how the Kings are even close. Defense offense, coaching, hell special teams. That prediction is way off. lest the crystal ball shows injuries.

Nardell
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December 21, 2020 12:15 am
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

I’ve always felt we needed an upgrade in our punt coverage.

andy_sims
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December 18, 2020 12:42 pm

There are a couple of characterizations with which I disagree:

After a disappointing bubble, letting Bogdan Bogdanovic walk, and doing little else to improve the roster’s current iteration

and

Hassan Whiteside and Glenn Robinson III are not going to slow any of these teams down.

As to the first, I’d argue that given the front office’s plan to get younger, more athletic, and to build around the young core, the roster is vastly improved from where it was a year ago. It’s only unimproved if your goal is to try to get to the playoffs this season.

In regard to the second, I don’t understand the notion that HW & GRIII were signed (at veteran’s minimum, one-year contracts, by the way) in an effort to slow down AD & Lebron, Kawhi & PG, or any of the other teams that will actually be contenders. Whiteside is here to provide interior defense and get boards, which is something the team hasn’t had since Jerry Reynolds was in short pants. Robinson is here to soak up some minutes at the 2/3 when needed, and should both parties find benefit, is only 26, and would fit nicely with the younger core group.

The Kings are likely to finish in the 12-14 range, which is fine, and hopefully will be giving the young guys ample time to gain experience and improve. I’m a lot happier with this roster, because everyone is being realistic about what the organization’s goals are. We’ve retained our draft picks, and the only “bad” contracts, Hield & Barnes, are both guys that will make large contributions this season.

The franchise hasn’t dug itself a hole with dumb contracts, and drafted well. I’m good with the state of things.

RORDOG
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December 18, 2020 1:08 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Pictured: Jerry Reynolds in short pants
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andy_sims
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December 18, 2020 1:45 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Literally goes to a page with FORBIDDEN at the top.

Which seemed appropriate.

rockbottom
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December 18, 2020 2:54 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

Maybe the worst contract is the max one just signed by Fox ! We will know in a few months !

andy_sims
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December 18, 2020 3:12 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

I can’t get over how much these comments remind me of someone’s tweets.

rc50cal
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December 18, 2020 9:48 pm
Reply to  rockbottom

Possible but unlikely. He’s a a positive impact player. Barnes makes no impact and his salary is in the same ballpark.

ManilaBayCleanerCrew
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December 18, 2020 1:12 pm

14th in the West and 3rd worst overall. My prediction for Tankathon 2021:

Cavaliers
Thunder
Kings
Bulls
Knicks
Timberwolves
Pistons
Spurs
Hornets
Magic
Grizzlies
Wizards
Pelicans
Warriors

Teams I see in the playoffs this year:

Blazers
Nets
Lakers
Bucks
Mavericks
Heat
Nuggets
Rockets
Celtics
Raptors
Jazz
Clippers
76ers
Pacers
Suns
Hawks

andy_sims
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December 18, 2020 5:00 pm

I really think that the Thunder are going to have a better season than the Kings. This is not a complaint.

ElRonToro
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December 18, 2020 1:25 pm

I’m going to go with 17th because I’m sure at least a couple of teams will have lapped them

Lucky_Guy
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December 18, 2020 2:40 pm

What would it take for the Kings to make the playoffs? Everything would have to go right for the Kings.

  1. Fox needs to become an all-star this year
  2. Bagley has to be in the hunt for CPOTY
  3. Hali has to be in the hunt for ROTY
  4. Buddy needs to have a big rebound year
  5. Harden needs to get traded
  6. and one or more of Curry, Dame, Luka, and CP3 needs to have a big injury.
CoreyBrewersD
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December 18, 2020 6:28 pm
Reply to  Lucky_Guy

Add in that none of the top 8 players get traded for picks.

Malrock
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December 18, 2020 2:52 pm

Kings Top 8 team in the west. We are going to the playoffs!

CoreyBrewersD
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December 18, 2020 6:30 pm
Reply to  Malrock

OK Vlade…..
Just because you are getting paid, doesn’t mean you need to continue to shill!

sonny
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December 18, 2020 8:57 pm

The Kings need a vaccine.
14 yrs of playoff quarantine is too much to bear.

scatshot
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December 19, 2020 2:15 am

I feel like I want to be placed in a one to two year self induced coma after reading all this.

Hamlet1989
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December 19, 2020 8:38 am

Vivek: “Now’s the time to add some veteran players around Buddy and let’s make a run!”

Hamlet1989
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December 19, 2020 10:42 am

I predict, after securing the 7th worst record, Kings win the second pick again.
No guess what they’ll do with it.

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