Awards Should be Aplenty for The Sacramento Kings


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The Sacramento Kings have broken their historic 16-year playoff drought with a bang.

Basketball Reference‘s playoff probabilities report gives the Kings an 87.4% chance at keeping their No. 3 seed with an 11.8% chance at leaping the Grizzlies for the No. 2 spot.

After this stellar campaign, the Kings are prime contenders to win multiple end-of-the-year awards like Coach of the Year, Executive of the Year, and the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year.

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Coach of the Year

Mike Brown unequivocally deserves Coach of the Year honors.

The preseason over/under on the Kings’ win total was 33.5. Brown led his team to their 34th win in February in a double-overtime victory against the Clippers in what is now the second-highest-scoring game in league history.

The Kings also find themselves playing their best basketball outside of the Golden 1 Center. With a West-best road record of 24-14, Brown has the Kings playing inspired basketball when facing opposing crowds.

After the hiring, GM Monte McNair called Brown “One of the league’s premier defensive minds,” hoping Brown would transform this team into a defensive juggernaut.

That hasn’t happened. Instead, they have found their team identity— offense. The Kings lead the NBA in Offensive Rating with a 119.0 clip. Outside of the fantastic efforts of All-Stars Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, Brown is maximizing the potential of the rest of the roster. Using the Princeton scheme and relying on the roster’s collective passing and shooting ability, Brown has created a high-scoring and efficient offense.

The high-movement offense is getting the team great looks on all levels. The Kings are converting on a league-leading 58.9% of attempts from inside the arc. From distance, Brown has given the team the green light. His system thrives on off-ball movement and screens to create quality looks. Keegan Murray and Kevin Huerter lead the charge in this aspect, both shooting over 40% from deep.

Executive of the Year

Monte McNair should be the front-runner for Executive of the Year. McNair’s moves since last year’s trade deadline have made the team the contender it is today. The bold move to trade Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield for Domantas Sabonis was risky, but worked out.

Despite Sabonis turning into the arguable MVP of this team, however, it is McNair’s other moves that have been most impressive. Over the past year, the Kings have acquired Trey Lyles, Kevin Huerter, Keegan Murray and Malik Monk.

Moving the much-maligned Marvin Bagley for Trey Lyles has turned into a positive for the Kings. Lyles has turned into the second-most important rotation player and the best forward off the bench. His attitude on defense and efficient scoring has been crucial in important games this season.

Lyles’ Spot in Kings’ Rotation No Longer in Limbo

Malik Monk’s addition in free agency was a major move this offseason. While his stats are down from last year, Monk is having his most impactful season as a pro. The backcourt reunion with his Kentucky teammate De’Aaron Fox has proven to be a formidable force with the ability to take over games. While Monk’s scoring efficiency is down from last season, he has emerged as a fringe 6th-man-of-the-year candidate, mostly behind his career highs in assists and usage.

The Keegan Murray draft pick has turned out wonderfully, too. Murray has turned into exactly what McNair was hoping for— a switchable forward who could reliably play off the ball. With Sabonis and Fox’s game requiring the ball for large portions of the game, Murray has slotted in well next to them. With only a 15.6% usage rate, Murray is likely going to break the rookie three-point record. He is shooting a blistering 41% from range on 6.2 shots a game.

McNair’s trade for Kevin Huerter has been maybe his most impressive move yet. The Kings exploited the Hawks’ trade for Dejounte Murray and the subsequent positional logjam it created to fleece them for Kevin Huerter. In exchange for Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless and a protected first-round pick, the Kings acquired one of the best three-point shooters in the league.

Clutch Player of the Year

De’Aaron Fox should be the runaway candidate for the inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award.

Fox has been sensational in close games down the stretch. He leads the NBA in fourth-quarter points scored while shooting 53.9% from the field and is the leader in go-ahead field goals in the last two minutes of games. Additionally, he sits second in the NBA in steals during clutch time as well.

Beyond statistics, however, Fox’s play in the clutch has simply been incredible to witness. His ability to push the ball, penetrate, absorb contact, finish and hit his patented midrange jumper is scintillating.

The Kings are back in action Tuesday night in New Orleans.

NBA Jam Kings Fox And Sabonis

Boomshakalaka! Homage’s latest installment of NBA Jam brings you Sacramento Kings duo De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis in classic arcade style. Shop here today!

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