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What awaits the Sacramento Kings after the NBA hiatus?

The Sacramento Kings are one of several teams that are hoping to get the chance to make a push for a playoff spot when the NBA returns

Howdy everyone,

My name is Christian Rivas and I’m a producer at SB Nation. I started writing at SB Nation almost three years ago, covering the Los Angeles Lakers for Silver Screen and Roll. While that has been where I’ve done the bulk of my writing since then, I’ve also covered the NBA on a national scale for USA Today and Dime, and it’s something I really, really enjoy doing.

Above all else, though, I’m a basketball fan, and the Sacramento Kings have been one of my League Pass teams ever since they paired Buddy Hield with De’Aaron Fox in 2017. I’m also a fan of Harry Giles III, but he’s not the biggest fan of me.

The only thing I could use a crash course on is Kings fans, and I’m hopeful that you can all give me that as we wait for the NBA season to start. You can follow me over at @RadRivas, or leave a comment below. I know how much this community means to the city and the important role you all have played here over the years. I’m going to do everything I can to live up to the standards set by Tom Ziller, Akis and Greg, and all the great writers who have come before me.

Until then, let’s talk basketball.

The NBA has suspended its season as COVID-19, or the coronavirus, continues to spread rapidly here in the United States. While the hope is that the season will continue in mid-June — with or without fans — it’s unclear exactly how the season will resume, and those decisions will have the biggest affect on teams like the Sacramento Kings.

The Kings (28-36) currently sit at the No. 11 seed in the Western Conference, 3.5 games back of the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies. If the NBA decides to let teams play out the remaining games on their regular season schedule, the Kings will have an opportunity to close that gap in their final 18 games. However, if the regular season is shortened in an effort to get the postseason started, the Kings will likely stand pat, and Harrison Barnes’ face will remain scruffy.

Going with the assumption that the Kings will get to play the rest of the games on their regular season schedule, they’ll need to be nearly perfect to have a realistic shot at the No. 8 seed. In their final 18 games, the Kings will play seven games against teams that are currently slotted for a playoff spot, including their rivals in the pacific division, the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers — the latter of whom they’ve yet to beat this season.

Additionally, they’ll play a few teams directly ahead of them in the standings, including the New Orleans Pelicans and Grizzlies. While stealing both of those wins would obviously be massive for the Kings, they won’t mean anything in regards to the playoff race unless they beat all of the teams below them in the standings, plus a few against teams in the top half of the Western Conference.

Ultimately, the Kings will be looking for at least 14 wins in 18 games, which is something they haven’t done at any point this season — very few teams have. That’s not to say that they can’t do it, but it’s going to be extremely difficult.

Hopefully the Kings can continue to build on the growth they’ve shown over their last 15 games, where they’ve gone 10-5 — tied for the fourth-best record during that stretch — without Marvin Bagley III, who could stand to benefit from this three-month break.

Even if they come short of a playoff spot, the fact that we’re having this conversation this late into the season shows much the team has grown since their 0-5 start to the season. We’ll see if they have one last push in them in a few months.

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