Kings

Purgatorial Kings Can’t Figure Things Out

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Will somebody please tell the Sacramento Kings that it’s OK to lose right now?

The Kings made a decision at the trade deadline that they would go for the play-in tournament.  Some will say that was a good decision at the time.  The Kings had won five of eight to start the second half of the season and four of their last five before the trade deadline.

Others will disagree because the Kings were still six games under .500 at 19-25.  There are also some big nuggets sitting out there in next year’s draft.  Players who could be good enough to turn around the fortunes of this struggling franchise.  Losing would only increase the odds of getting a high draft pick.

The decision to go for it looked like the right one, though, as the Kings won their next four games to extend their winning streak to five, including seven of eight!  They were almost back to .500 at 22-25.

The Kings were climbing up the hill to fetch a play-in spot, but then the bottom fell out, and the Kings came tumbling down.

They lost nine in a row.  The gamble for the play-in tournament appeared to be a failed idea.

The worst part of what has been a roller-coaster season is the Kings appear to be stuck in the middle — in basketball purgatory — not good enough for the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a high draft pick.

Unless…

As the odds for a spot in the play-in tournament diminished, there was a glimmer of hope rising, because if the losing continued, the Kings would improve their chances of getting a high draft pick, possibly even a top-five choice.

Developing, Not Tanking

We’re not talking about tanking here.  No, we don’t believe in tanking.  We’re talking about player development.  The Kings have all these young guys on the roster…Kyle Guy, Chimezie Metu, Robert Woodard, Jahmi’us Ramsey, Chris Silva, Damian Jones.  Wouldn’t this be a great time to give them some playing time and find out if they are worth keeping on the roster next year?

So what do the Kings do?

They not only snap their nine-game losing streak, they win two of their next three games.

As of Wednesday night, following a win over Minnesota, the Kings are in the No. 7 spot in the lottery order.  They are three games behind 6th-place Cleveland, but could have been within 1.5 games of the Cavs had they lost, because the Cavs won Wednesday.

Oklahoma City — with their plethora of draft picks and every reason not to care if they win any more games this year — sits in the No. 5 spot.

The Kings were three games back of OKC going into Wednesday with the two teams scheduled to play each other three times before the end of the season, so the Kings have a chance of catching the Thunder if you get my drift.  However, those chances took a hit Wednesday as OKC lost — with the Kings winning — so the Kings are now 4.5 back.

The play-in tournament is a shattered dream, but a top five or six lottery pick is still a possibility, especially with De’Aaron Fox expected to miss the next 10-14 days due to the NBA’s health-and-safety protocols.

Nobody likes to lose, but the Kings focus now should be on player development, not wins.

Can the Kings get it right?

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

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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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