Kings

Can the Kings Win By Losing?

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“That’s like going to the dentist and having a root canal without Novocaine.  Oh my, such pain for the Kings and their fans.”

Long-time Kings announcer Gary Gerould with a very honest assessment on the broadcast after the Sacramento Kings blew an eight-point lead in the final 53 seconds to lose to Charlotte on February 28th.

Warning: watching the highlights from the Charlotte broadcast is more torture for Kings fans.

The loss to Charlotte is just part of a disastrous stretch that saw the Kings lose nine in a row and 11 of 13.  Several weeks ago, the Kings envisioned a playoff run.  The reality has now set in that this Kings team may not be good enough to end their 14-year playoff drought.

WIN BY LOSING

So can the Kings win by losing?  Sure, that sounds crazy.  But experts say the 2021 draft is loaded with outstanding talent.  If the Kings keep losing, they will have a great chance at getting a high draft choice, maybe even a top-three prospect, which could be the ticket to winning basketball in Sacramento

Now, no team (except the Philadelphia 76ers who trusted “The Process”) is going to tank for a high draft choice.  Players and coaches will do everything they can to win whenever they take the court.

Luke Walton wants to win.  From all indications, he will coach the Kings at least until the end of the season, but there is a good chance that Walton is gone if the Kings play terrible over the final 36 games.

The two key players in the Kings core, De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, certainly do not want to lose.  Both have shown frustration with losing.

WHAT IS MCNAIR THINKING?

General Manager Monte McNair has been very silent.  He has said little about his plans for the team, but did say in his introductory media zoom session that he “wanted to build a winning culture.”  Tanking certainly doesn’t fit that picture.

The Kings have some good players– they’re just not very deep.  Walton has used a nine-man rotation.  With recent injuries, he’s even shortened that rotation to seven or eight.  The Kings have scored the ball well, but that’s not their problem.

They just can’t stop anybody. They have the worst defense in NBA history.

The trade deadline (March 25th) is fast approaching.  The Kings are expected to make some trades.  They just may not trade some of the big names that have been floated around (Buddy Hield or Harrison Barnes).  Of the two, Hield is the more likely one to be traded.

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STATE OF THE KINGS

Without knowing what McNair is thinking, it is hard to know what the Kings are going to do and where they are headed.  Kings insider James Ham and Kings legend, former coach and GM Jerry Reynolds probably have as good a feel for the pulse of the organization as anybody.  Their recent conversation on The Kings Herald Podcast provides a pretty good look at what Kings fans might expect moving forward.

Sacramento may actually surprise a lot of people in the second half.  As much as getting a top-three pick would be great and could quickly turn the Kings into a winning team, they are not going to tank.  They are probably not going to blow up the roster.  They may even make a run at the play-in tournament.

When I looked at the Kings’ first-half schedule, I predicted they would go 16-22.  They went 14-22, with two games postponed.  The second-half slate looks to be a little easier, paving the way for a potential play-in bid if everything goes to plan.

EVERYBODY HATES THE DENTIST

One way or another, here’s hoping that the pain for Sacramento Kings fans will go away.  Either they get past the play-in tournament and make the playoffs or they get lucky with the ping-pong balls to end up with a high lottery pick.

The suffering has lasted way too long!

Follow us on Twitter @Kings_Lead for the latest Kings news and insight. 

About Dave Andrade

Sports Director, KRCR-TV Redding 1968-81; Shasta College football & basketball play-by-play; marketing rep; retired, but still doing a daily sports report & commentary for KKXS 96.1 FM, Redding; contributor at Kings Lead

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