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A New Goal For The Kings: Sustained Playoff Success And a Championship

The playoff drought is over, onto bigger and better things.
By | 29 Comments | Oct 2, 2023

Oct 2, 2023; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown poses for a photo during media day at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

It is optimism season around the NBA as Media Days took place across the league Monday. And this season in Sacramento there is no reason not to jump on the optimism train after the team finally broke the playoff drought in the 2022-23 campaign. Based on what the Kings general manager, head coach and star player are saying to the media, the team is ready to take that first round game 7 loss to the Golden State Warriors and use it as motivation. So much so that the word “championship” was being thrown around as a goal.

Now, there isn’t a team in the association that doesn’t have a championship as their goal, of course. But with the painstakingly long goal of making the playoffs in the rear view in Sacramento, it’s time for new goals, which based on the talking points today (collected below in excerpts from various media coverage) is sustained playoff success and a championship.

“We expect to compete for a championship,” Mike Brown declared.

Brown continually stressed the difference between being a good team and a great team. “First and foremost, we have to understand that the enemy of the great is the good,” he said.

The coach emphasized that complacency is the enemy. “To go from good to great is hard,” he said, urging the importance of open communication and constructive criticism. “This applies to anybody. They don’t want to deal with being open and honest with each other. It’s hard to hear constructive criticism, but you need to be open and honest with each other so we can all hold each other accountable.”

De’Aaron Fox continued this line of thought in terms of the importance of accountability among players. “Every time we come here we know that we’re going to get after each other. We know that coaches are going to yell at us and cuss us out. You know that it’s what’s best for us. It’s never getting taken personal. As a team, you need that. You need that type of, I don’t want to call it adversity, but we need people to get on each other,” Fox said.

And with this mindset, the Kings set their sights on the task at hand.

“We have high expectations for ourselves. We all want to win a championship. That’s our next goal,” Fox said.

General manager Monte McNair had a clear message: the Kings are no longer content with just making it to the playoffs. “I think for us, we talked about step one, we have to break that playoff drought. I’m glad to have that monkey off the back. Now it’s a different challenge, a harder challenge in a lot of ways to make this step two of sustained success in the playoffs,” McNair said.

McNair emphasized the importance of winning in the playoffs and pointed out the team’s defensive lapses.

“We want this to be a multi-year playoff run. Certainty, we need to figure out a way that we can continue to have our fantastic offense, but get better defensively,” McNair said, noting that despite some positive signs in defense down the stretch last season, there’s a lot more work to be done.

Moreover, McNair highlighted the significance of internal improvement and being able to build on year 2 of the Mike Brown era.

“We had a new coach last year, completely new defensive system. In a lot of ways, I think that’s the thing that takes longer in the NBA,” he said. “There’s just so many complex rotations and reads. I think our guys got better as it went along. Then we’re going to have to figure out a way to bring more guys in that can be two-way players, can defend, can hit shots, can make smart plays on the offensive end. We’re going to continue to do all those things to shore that side up.”

In line with McNair’s sentiments, Fox emphasized the need for the team to be consistent in their defensive efforts throughout the season. “Like Mike [Brown] has said before, we have to be playing defense and be physical from game one to game 82 and then however many games we play after that, rather than going into the playoffs trying to amp that up because now guys might not have been playing that hard. Now you’re tired, now your shots are different. So, we have to try to do that as much as possible before getting into the postseason where you’re just trying to flip a switch. We know we can’t do that.”

On the offensive side, Brown detailed some strategic adjustments, particularly after facing the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs. “We need to change this, adjust that, and see if we can come up with something that still fits our style of play,” Brown shared, hinting at potential alterations in the team’s DHO game, which the Warriors effectively shut down in the first-round series last season.

The Kings begin the 2023-24 training camp on Tuesday and the first preseason game is an away game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday, Oct. 8.

Light the beam.

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Ellis5
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October 2, 2023 7:45 pm

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I miss basketball.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ellis5
Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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October 2, 2023 9:14 pm

Media Day means we’re getting closer to the start of the season….I can NOT wait!
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NowLoveThemOnceAgain
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October 2, 2023 9:39 pm

D-fens!

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October 2, 2023 10:08 pm

all the right things were said and it was nice to hear those things.

Dunno if it was camera angles or what I wanted to see or not –
Keegan looks like he’s packed on some muscle, Heurter as well.

Sasha seems awfully nice and I hope his gym game translates to real game.

JeVale McGee was engaging and comfortable sounding.

I didn’t see Coach Jordi interviewed – maybe that’s not a Media Day thing (Head Coach, GM only)

My biggest hope is continued good health for all.

ArcoThunder
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October 2, 2023 10:08 pm

This is the way

RowJimmy
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October 2, 2023 10:31 pm

Took $50 house money from winning the over wins last year and put it on Championship. I like everything that was said today. I figured if we could get by Denver why not us then Boston happened. It is such a gift to be speaking of competing with the upper echelon of the league and built for it instead of hoping to be the best of the rest or tanking for a pick.
Let’s go Kings! Light the Beam!!!

nonstripedzebra
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October 3, 2023 9:01 am

To me this year is mostly to calculate if last year is sustainable with what I think is a more convincing conference. I think they need to have a little more clarity on what the projection is on Keegan. Sort out what they prioritize in the Huerter and Monk distinction long term. And then just to take the temperature if Sasha may eventually be able to usurp Barnes in due time, or be of plus starter quality.

I say all that as I think those questions answer the looming questions for this teams cycle. Fox continually elevating, Sabonis sustaining are givens or necessary in any version of the next best Kings team. The clock is Fox’s contract as far as I’m concerned. Monte and Wes I would assume will likely try to correlate a big swing trade to add to that core prior to him expiring. De’Aaron’s quality has elevated him into courtship territory. Before making the moves in regards to that I think is all tied to the above questions having clearer answers.

Is a big swing deal make more sense for a two, three or four is tied to that happens this season. If Keegan is unmovable in such a deal is likely more clear after this year. And ultimately if the teams quality and play is convincing enough to trade for an all star talent and have them feasibility re-sign assuming its for an expiring or with a sizeable outlay to be acquired.

Those examinations could be clear early on and maybe they push the timeframe a year early. But first we have to define the contours of the team with a little less noise. This is an exciting team, one that captivated us and the league last season. It’s time to show it wasn’t a fluke and to get a little more nuanced with what is and isn’t essential to their success now and in the future. As bigger decisions I think are on the horizon.

Last edited 8 months ago by nonstripedzebra
ArcoThunder
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October 3, 2023 10:28 pm

Hot damn! That’s a good post!

RikSmits
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October 3, 2023 9:36 am

WHO IS IN THE BEST SHAPE OF HIS LIFE?

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October 3, 2023 10:46 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Slawson Slamson

AmateurNerd
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October 4, 2023 6:28 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

They sleepin on Ben McLemore, I tell you!

Hobby916
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October 3, 2023 9:42 am

This season the starting 5 should be set, with Monk/Davion/Lyles as the top bench minutes. Then it’s a matter of how to work in Duarte/Sasha/Javale as the next group of bench guys.

Last season there were so many questions about rotation, minutes, who will play well with each other, etc. That has mainly been figured, so I see the Kings coming out hot to start and eclipsing the 48 win mark.

Kosta
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October 3, 2023 10:34 am

Kings fans, if Sac were to win a championship:

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lakerssuck2002
October 3, 2023 4:34 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Love it!

Klam
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October 3, 2023 12:57 pm

Loving what I’m seeing from JaVale McGee already.

andy_sims
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October 3, 2023 1:07 pm
Reply to  Klam

…if not actually hearing.

Captions! I need them, apparently.

murraytant
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October 3, 2023 2:14 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

or a hearing aide.

Klam
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October 3, 2023 3:17 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

I guess this is what he said at the end:

andy_sims
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October 3, 2023 3:48 pm
Reply to  Klam

Jeez, nice work!

Can you help me find a big superball that I lost when I was nine? I lost it in the kitchen, and it’s as if it disappeared from the face of the earth. Very disillusioning.

andy_sims
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October 4, 2023 10:51 am
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The kitchen is in a house that’s 2,270 miles from Sacramento. Let me know if you want the address.

murraytant
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October 3, 2023 2:17 pm

If I listen to all the other teams in the West- listen to the noise from their camps, it sounds like they all expect or want to win. ESPN and NBA TV ran specials last night- Denver, Suns, duds, LAL, LAC, – all “contenders”.
Kings- barely a mention- oh, maybe play in.

That’s all ok.
When I look at this team, I get excited. This team is better than last year.
Of those above, Suns better but that’s it.

lakerssuck2002
October 3, 2023 4:29 pm

Excited!

I posted this question in the Sasha 30q post but was really late and got no response. What do you all think?

Could the 2nd Unit run a similar offense with Sasha playing DS’s role?

Surrounded by Monk, Davion (hopefully improved shooting), Lyles and (probably) Duarte? Could they run the high post DHO offense? Other options Javale, Len, Lyles are likely not capable.

Can Sasha be Sabonis-Lite? Can he pass out of the high post (videos I have seen seem promising)? Can he hit the mid-long range jumper if he is left open (Euro league 3-point point range)?

Maybe his ceiling is spot up shooter or 4th or 5th option like HB. But what do you think about experimenting with this?

Last edited 8 months ago by lakerssuck2002
jwalker1395
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October 3, 2023 4:45 pm
Reply to  lakerssuck2002

Lyles is Sabonis’ backup precisely because he can pass out of the high post, set screens, and play team defense. Sasha is less of a passer/defender and more of a pure play finisher. He’ll be a 4 in most rotations. But I do think they will try to have as much replicability between the two units as possible, I just think Lyles will be the man in the middle.

lakerssuck2002
October 3, 2023 6:50 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

Thanks for the insight jwalker. I must not have paid much attention to Lyles filling that role last season.

9sac8
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October 3, 2023 5:49 pm

We expect to compete win the championship in 2024,” Mike Brown declared.

Gotta love Coach Brown.

notdeaaronfox
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October 3, 2023 8:28 pm

OT: City jerseys leaked. Cincy-era-ish design with the modern font. Thoughts?

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Marty
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October 4, 2023 9:07 am
Reply to  notdeaaronfox

LOVE these. Anything that gets rid of purple and brings back Royal Blue. Real nice.

andy_sims
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October 4, 2023 10:53 am
Reply to  notdeaaronfox

No baby blue, no gold lamè. Finally, Nike hasn’t fucked the dog.

BuffaloDiaspora
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October 4, 2023 2:08 am

i am beyond excited for Kings basketball this year. This team was really good last year and that should build on itself – I wouldn’t be shocked if their ORtg this season is 125+ and the defense should improve to at least mediocre. This is absolutely a contending team even if they are built a little weird for that.

LFG

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