Articles | Game Recap

Rockets 129, Kings 112: Playoff drought reaches 14 years

The Sacramento Kings were officially eliminated from the playoffs for the 14th straight year.

The Sacramento Kings took on the Houston Rockets for their sixth game in the Orlando bubble. Richaun Holmes and Kent Bazemore were ruled out for the Kings and Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon wouldn't suit up for Houston.

Sacramento played a solid first quarter as they jumped to a 36-23 lead. They didn't let Houston get into the paint, daring them to shoot threes and though that's dangerous considering the opponent, it worked. Offensively, the Kings were knocking down their shots and Buddy Hield played a big role in that.

Hield opened the first quarter with 11 points, going 3/3 from deep and also making a layup. Hield was put in good positions and he succeeded.

Things began to turn in the second quarter however, which has been a theme for the Kings in the bubble. They come out strong in the first and unravel in the other three quarters to the same old Kings. Houston began knocking down their threes and the Kings didn't have a response in them. Though De'Aaron Fox looked aggressive when driving to the rim, not much else was working out. Austin Rivers, James Harden and Ben McLemore started catching fire from deep and that was the one thing Sacramento couldn't afford to do.

Sacramento trailed going into the half after scoring just 20 points in the second quarter, but because the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, the Kings were officially eliminated from the playoffs.

The third quarter only made things worse for the Kings. Harden and Rivers continued to bombard the Kings from beyond the arc and all effort was lost. Ball movement was minimal, shots stopped falling and no one moved off the ball either. That's just not a good way to respond to the way Houston poured it on from deep.

Houston jumped out to a double-digit lead as the Kings struggled to even score a single bucket. Sacramento somehow scrapped together 15 points in the third quarter as Harden and Rivers played like Batman and Robin out there. The Kings didn't have the defensive power to do anything about it as they trailed by over 20 going into the fourth.

The fourth quarter saw Jabari Parker playing at center and that pretty much wrapped things up for a potential comeback. Though Fox, Hield, DaQuan Jeffries and Bogdan Bogdanovic were out there, they couldn't keep up with the hot hands of Houston. Justin James, Corey Brewer and Yogi Ferrell eventually came into the game as Rivers scored over 40 points for a career-high.

Fox led the Kings with 26 points and added nine assists but he didn't get much help from anyone else. Jeffries scored a career-high 13 points off the bench and continues to make a name for himself as a rotational piece going forward.

Hield made 4/9 threes today and finished with 16 points. He started off 3/3 but just like everyone else not named De'Aaron Fox, his play deteriorated as the game went on. Harrison Barnes finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds and despite having a quick start attacking the paint, he slowed down too.

The Kings play the New Orleans Pelicans next, another disappointing team that was eliminated today following Portland's win. Sacramento, we have a problem.

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Chef
August 9, 2020 7:44 pm

No comments? must be a kings win….oh wait.

L-Train3.1
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August 9, 2020 7:44 pm

This is perhaps the lowest point is it not? This is how Lord Voldemort must have felt after the incident with the Sorcerer’s Stone.

TheFifthMookie
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August 10, 2020 8:59 am
Reply to  L-Train3.1

imho, the ‘lowest point’ is probably in a couple of years when Fox leaves, and Vlade, Matina, and Vivek are still driving the ship

Klam
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August 9, 2020 7:47 pm

So at 14 years, the Vivek era has equaled the amount of years sans playoffs compared to the previous owners.

And unless something drastic changes with the higher ups, we are well on our way going on to eight years.

Amonk81
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August 9, 2020 8:58 pm
Reply to  Klam

It really is such a bummer and so hopeless I root hard for The Kings to lose. It is the only way out.

Get so bad it creates apathy in the fan base and embarrasses/angers Vivek enough to fire Vlade and Puke.

I realize Vivek is ultimately the problem. But one step at a time.

Fing jerks running this team so badly it actually worse than under the Magoofs.

SharkKing
August 10, 2020 10:18 am
Reply to  Klam

I don’t see a path to the playoffs next year unless half the west gets injured.

As of today, only the Wolves and Warriors are below us in the west. Both project to be better next year. The only team I can see falling below us is the Spurs if Pop retires. Otherwise, my money is on us being last in the west and blowing another top 5.

4on5
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August 9, 2020 7:50 pm

I’m sure TNT is thrilled to broadcast the effort they are likely to give against the Pelicans

SelecaoKOJ
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August 9, 2020 8:06 pm
Reply to  4on5

Can TNT please cancel this Tue debacle. Replace it with Scooby Doo. What a disaster.

Otis
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August 10, 2020 1:28 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

comment image

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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August 9, 2020 7:51 pm

“We’re willing to make changes. But I guess I haven’t learned to play Buddy properly still.”

RobHessing
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August 9, 2020 8:04 pm
Reply to  Klam

Sounds like a man that has lost the locker room.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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August 9, 2020 8:15 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

And he never seemed to establish an identity either…

Amonk81
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August 9, 2020 9:07 pm
Reply to  Klam

Jesus, even Lavar freakin ball knew Walton was a Terrible coach Luke is allergic to actually coaching. He’s horrible. Apathetic. Disengaged.

The Kings, not only didn’t see the obvious, they signed this moron for how many years….

RikSmits
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August 10, 2020 3:40 am
Reply to  Klam

Excellent question by Richard and overall I am glad we have the TKH crew (here and in the SacBee) to stay critical and sharp with regard to this organization (and I use that term loosely).
 

BestHyperboleEver
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August 10, 2020 6:55 am
Reply to  Klam

Um… ideally you would know what you’re going to try to do no matter what team you’re facing.

MichaelMack
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August 9, 2020 8:05 pm
Reply to  Klam

To be fair, those historically great outside shooters with a quick release and high motor are difficult to use in today’s NBA. For Walton at least.

Klam
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August 9, 2020 8:11 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

“But I figured out how to use one and got canned for it!”
comment image

MichaelMack
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August 9, 2020 8:15 pm
Reply to  Klam

You never disappoint Klam.

Last edited 2 years ago by MichaelMack
Inthestarz
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August 9, 2020 8:50 pm
Reply to  Klam

Don’t undermine your boss and throw your players under the bus (Joerger on Doncic)
 
lessen he won’t forget

Otis
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August 9, 2020 9:45 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

Seems like a lesson we won’t forget. A good franchise probably works through that trivial shit and keeps a successful coach.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 10, 2020 8:28 am
Reply to  Inthestarz

Yeah, having to sit back and collect millions for doing nothing while watching the team that fired you clearly regress under their new coach. That’ll teach him.

SPTSJUNKIE
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August 9, 2020 8:53 pm
Reply to  Klam

Word for word this is what needs to be said to Vivek as we enter the offseason.

Does he feel enough pain to finally make changes.

RobHessing
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August 9, 2020 8:01 pm

7 years in for Ranadive. 5 for Divac. And I’ll bet money on 8 & 6 if changes are not made at the very top of this organization.

Odds are better than not that the Kings will run this streak out to 15 years and beyond, eventually owning the all-time NBA record for playoff futility.

Go root for the Clips. Go root for the Mavs. Hell, go root for the Dubs or Lakers. I won’t hold it against you. If you love NBA basketball you deserve so much better than what the Sacramento Kings have and are presenting you.

Nice arena, though. And it will be available to rent for many Mays, Junes & Julys to come.

anan1234
August 9, 2020 8:45 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

You know we can’t quit this team. It’s a curse us Sac fans have. I’ve now realized to keep expectations extremely low because even if things start to trend upward someone in the front office might F things up. Be it Vivek or Vlade. Vivek isn’t leaving so our only hope is he learns to stay out of things and lucks out and picking a good GM.

Last edited 2 years ago by anan1234
MillersCornrows
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August 10, 2020 1:41 am
Reply to  anan1234

That sounds like a great reason to quit this team.

9sac8
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August 10, 2020 9:49 am

AND 1!!!!!!!

anan1234
August 10, 2020 9:55 am

Haha fair! But I still cheered for this this when we featured John Salmons and Marcus Thornton which I think qualifies me as a lifer.

RobHessing
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August 10, 2020 11:32 am

Tell me, what is your opinion of this organization and this team?

SPTSJUNKIE
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August 9, 2020 8:59 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Very well said.

And worth reiterating here – 16 of 30 teams make the NBA playoffs. That is over half of the teams.

Since Vlade took over – the Kings, Knicks, and Suns are the only three teams who haven’t made it. And the Suns could still make it this year.

So it’s almost impressive to miss this many playoffs in a row. Like getting zero numbers right in Keno.

jay14bay
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August 10, 2020 8:58 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Yeah and this year, that cutoff number was extended to 18 in a way (with the play-in for the 8th seed). Still couldn’t even come close.

Marty
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August 9, 2020 8:02 pm

comment image

Gregoryl
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August 10, 2020 12:01 am
Reply to  Marty

This pic really pisses me off. F them.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 10, 2020 9:02 am
Reply to  Marty

I mean, it IS the roster. Among other things. All of which those 3 are responsible for. So saying €œit’s the roster€ isn’t really and absolution Or distraction from the leadership’s shortcomings.

MichaelMack
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August 9, 2020 8:02 pm

Is there a resource to find how how many players in the NBA the last decade have had their career high against the Kings? I feel like we get Delk-ed a lot.

I mean, its not like I thought before the game we could stop Austin Rivers, but I had hoped we could contain him.

NinjaFetus
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August 9, 2020 8:22 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

Its freaking Austin Rivers! He’s averaging 8.4 points this year, yet we allow him to go for 41???? His highest in the bubble was 11. Yet we let him look like Steph Curry or some other superstar out there.

SelecaoKOJ
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August 9, 2020 8:08 pm

I am hoping there are some major changes coming down. Starting next week.

Klam
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August 9, 2020 8:16 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I’m actually hoping they go 1-7 and get thoroughly embarassed each loss. There’s more of a chance of something actually changing that way.

NinjaFetus
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August 9, 2020 8:24 pm
Reply to  Klam

If our owner can’t figure it out in 7 years, then don’t get your hopes up. Mine are thoroughly quashed after this Orlando fiasco.

Klam
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August 9, 2020 8:40 pm
Reply to  NinjaFetus

Oh, I am very well aware that nothing may change even if they go 1-7. But you have way more of chance of something happening than if they won the rest of their games.

Marty
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August 9, 2020 8:34 pm
Reply to  Klam

Yep

BeTheBall
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August 9, 2020 9:34 pm
Reply to  Klam

Nah, we’ll get the “it was just a tough situation to be in, and nothing anyone has ever experienced before”.

Carl
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August 10, 2020 12:45 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

COVID will be the excuse. The whole crew gets another year, and if they crack mid-30’s, they’ll get another year after that.

Inthestarz
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August 9, 2020 8:42 pm

Was that Fox giving up Rivers 41?
 
his regression on D is flying under the radar
 
much worse advanced d stats this year, and has been giving back his points this bubble (white/fultz et al

Inthestarz
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August 9, 2020 8:48 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

i guess Rivers wasn’t starting, still point that has been festering

oshima9
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August 9, 2020 10:40 pm
Reply to  Inthestarz

I think we are getting close to the what you see is what you get stage with Fox. His defense and 3 point shooting are not likely to improve significantly. Vlade and Vivek will have to decide if that is worth a max contract. When you add Bagley to the mix next year, one shudders to think how bad this team will be defensively.

SPTSJUNKIE
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August 10, 2020 7:14 am
Reply to  Inthestarz

Watched the first three quarters of the game last night on NBA TV replay after reading this comment.

While I wasn’t zeroed in on every one of Rivers’ shots, I did watch who was guarding him when I saw him score. And it’s not as simple a Fox letting him score 41. I saw one clear basket he scored on Fox, but he also scored on Belly, Hield, Bogi, etc.

I agree that Fox’s D has been subpar. But a lot like with those really bad Kings’ teams under Smart, Corbin, Karl, etc. – we play such bad team defense that it’s hard to really evaluate the man defense any individual players is playing. We rotate terrible and constantly wind up in bad match ups or giving up open shots because players are trying to rotate and help out.

At a minimum though, it’s not as if Rivers’ was consistently getting to the basket or burning any individual player. He just took advantage of our porous difference.

BestHyperboleEver
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August 10, 2020 9:03 am
Reply to  SPTSJUNKIE

Such is the challenge of having a non-defense-minded coach leading a low-BBIQ roster.

SPTSJUNKIE
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August 10, 2020 10:37 am

Hahaha – well, you just made this even more depressing 🙂

HongKongKingsFan
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August 9, 2020 9:31 pm

Right now officially eliminated from the playoffs for the 14th straight year.

Has there any reporter going to interview with Vivek and Divac and ask

(What they going to do ?)
(Will Divac kept his promise to step down ?)
(Do they still think Bagley is a better player than Doncic?)
(Will some staff take responsibility for all those bad decision?)

Happy to see J. Parker plays……..

Otis
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August 9, 2020 9:47 pm

I take some solice in the fact that the Giants went 15 seasons without making the playoffs when I was a much younger fan.

On the other hand, it’s considerably harder to make the playoffs in MLB.

RobHessing
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August 9, 2020 9:52 pm
Reply to  Otis

Yep. For example, the Giants once won over 100 games & missed the playoffs, and played better than .500 ball in many others. There were some lean stretches, but overall it was competitive baseball. This organization is a complete joke, from top to middle to bottom.

Kingsguru21
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August 10, 2020 8:25 am
Reply to  RobHessing

The ’93 Giants are an easy example of why Wild Cards came to fruition.

Marty
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August 10, 2020 9:08 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Absolutely! Those €œalmost€ Giants teams were fun to watch. Die hard Phillies fan who spent many nights in the garage working on my bikes listening to Jon Miller.

Tankathon
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August 9, 2020 9:51 pm

This is scorched earth and the players deserve just as much blame as Bill’s son. Aside from Fox, we are no longer dealing with 20 or 21 year olds. These are vets making 20 mil/year.

Side note: props to the diehard fans of over 20 years. I’ve witnessed lottery quality basketball for over 50% of my life. This is the breaking point.

HongKongKingsFan
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August 9, 2020 10:01 pm

Buddy Hield just cannot handle the ball………

1) Should be a 8 second violation ? comment image

2) I don’t freaking understand how did he not able to grab the ball underneath his legcomment image

Can our next coach use him just like BenMac / Duncan Robinson ? (Just a spot up shooter)

RobHessing
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August 9, 2020 10:04 pm

Last coach did that. Got fired (though he’s still on the payroll…).

ImJoeKing
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August 10, 2020 5:41 am

On point 1) I believe it’s a violation when the clock shows “15” seconds. When it shows “16” it means there are 16.9-16.0 seconds left. So it isn’t until it ticks to “15” that it’s down to 15.9 seconds left and therefore 8 full seconds have elapsed. I could be wrong.

Marty
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August 9, 2020 10:51 pm

Sean just went full Kate.

Last edited 2 years ago by Marty Marty
L-Train3.1
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August 9, 2020 11:33 pm
Reply to  Marty

Have the clippers played their starters once in The bubble? It seems like someone is always resting. Must be nice to get a rest from all their rest.

krswin
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August 10, 2020 8:16 am
Reply to  Marty

After 14 years we deserve to hear the other teams radio personalities say that about the Kings.

RobHessing
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August 10, 2020 11:35 am
Reply to  Marty

Sofffffffffffffffffft Cunningham.

Otis
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August 10, 2020 1:33 pm
Reply to  Marty

The part that talking heads like Sean miss is that the Nets are missing a ton of guys, and made lemons out of lemonade.

It’s not about whether the Nets are a crap team, it’s that a smart franchise and a resilient group of hard-working players with a solid coach can punch above their weight in this environment.

Kingsguru21
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August 10, 2020 2:09 pm
Reply to  Otis

Psst. Jacque Vaughn is an interim coach, too.

Just saying.

Last edited 2 years ago by Kingsguru21
Gregoryl
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August 10, 2020 12:09 am

Huge props to Will for nailing the post-game show B.S.. The same tired shills giving the same tired answers: €œgreat learning experience€, €œbuilding trust in one another€, €œneed to learn how to close out games€, etc.. The same junk that we have heard every season for the last 14 years. Stop it already. They suck. They have zero integrity or pride. They are in it only for a paycheck. Stop sucking up and do your job.

MillersCornrows
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August 10, 2020 1:12 am

The remember password option here is a little clunky. Just bringing this up in case something can be done. Overall, this site is sacred.

ImJoeKing
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August 10, 2020 5:48 am

Pretty terrifying that Buddy Hield, with his 4 year/$86-106M contract, is trending a lot more toward Ben McLemore than Ray Allen , in basically every aspect of the game including shooting, his one plus skill.

Chent
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August 10, 2020 7:48 am

We’ve reached the mediocrity levels again, too good to get a great pick, not good enough for playoffs. Now the team needs to decide, do we try to retool or rebuild? I am in favor of a hard 1 year rebuild, get as much as possible for Buddy/Holmes/Barnes, start Fox, Justin James, Jeffries, draft pick, Bagley, most likely leading to a high pick. This would allow Bagley to re-establish himself if he could stay healthy, and give opportunity to the others to establish being rotational pieces.

The FO might think we are close enough to the playoffs (8th seed) and may consider retooling on the cheap because of the financial uncertainty.

RAP87
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August 10, 2020 8:45 am
Reply to  Chent

I’m all in for this. 2021 is supposed to be a deep draft and adding a potential top 3-5 pick certainly would help. But again putting that decision on Vlade to choose that player is f*cking terrifying! Common Vivek! I’ve been rooting for the F.O to succeed since day 1 but it seems that this FO is allergic to success! Firing Malone after a promising start and seems an identity was finally formed. Firing Joerger after having a very good season in a LONG time. Its like every time the Kings finally makes a step in a right direction, they try and pull the plug!

Chent
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August 10, 2020 2:57 pm
Reply to  RAP87

Yes a 1 year hard tank makes too much sense, especially since most likey there will either be no fans or limited capacity so it won’t look bad. The 21 draft looks way better than this years and all the playing time these guys would get would be beneficial. You can re-evaluate after the year after a top 7 pick is locked in, then boom you got Fox, hopefully Bagley giving 20/10, whichever rookies we draft this year (Patrick Williams), and hopefully proven wings in Jeffires/James.

SharkKing
August 10, 2020 9:04 pm
Reply to  Chent

Only problem, the Hinkie hire is too obvious for Vivek. It’s the perfect scenario to tank with no fans and a strong draft coming up.

Last edited 2 years ago by SharkKing
9sac8
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August 10, 2020 9:43 am

Good read. It’s been a long 14 years.

HunterSThompson
August 10, 2020 12:45 pm

Wash…rinse….repeat.
The idea of having another off season that starts out with me hating the ineptitude of the Kings organization before slowly transitioning into a “well, maybe a good draft pick will help” and then to thinking that said draft pick will be a good addition because…fill in the blank. As has been stated a thousand times before “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result”.

What did we expect from the “Bubble”? In the months leading up to the final 8 games of the season, I am 100% guilty of thinking that this team might have a chance…wrong…again. 14 god damn years of wrong….14 years of doing the same god damn thing and expecting a different result. Another year of putting lipstick on a pig….but this pig is dead and the carcass is rotting but we, the fans of this debacle, are willing to look past the insects helping with the decomposition and the stink filling the concourse of the Golden 1 Center and think “that’s a lovely shade of lipstick”. We are insane–to care about this team, to think that “this is the year”, to spend a moment of our time on this organization…not to mention a not insignificant sum of cash on them.

There was a musician (Ryan Adams….not Brian) who got himself into hot water by texting underage girls and coming across as a general idiot…the night the story broke I went to a bar and saw a local artist who didn’t play a Ryan Adams song but rather four or five. I walked up to him and said “interesting choice of songs with those Ryan Adams covers.” He responded by saying “love the art not the artist.” At one point it felt like the Kings were art, that we were lucky to have them, that they made Sacramento better. The artists currently in control of the canvas are no better than the folks who show up at “paint and drink wine bars”. They can try to copy what other artists have already created in the league, but it always turns out to be a shi+ier version. At this point the front office/artists deserve no support from us…thanks for trying Vlade–it felt like you weren’t the right guy and we rallied behind you anyway. As it turns out we were right. In this case, we can love the artist (thanks for being part of the only Sacramento Kings era that held joy for the fans) but we cannot under any circumstances love the art.

NinjaFetus
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August 10, 2020 3:35 pm

Wow, this is it exactly! Thank you!

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