After years of organizational chaos and questionable decision making, the Sacramento Kings appeared to have finally gotten back on the right track. With a major leap from their young core along with steady contributions from veterans, the Kings found themselves in contention for a playoff spot for the first time in a while. Even though they ended up finishing one spot outside of the playoff seeding, Sacramento fans have to be encouraged by their team’s progression, and the hope is that the young team will be able to build off of this momentum and once again make a postseason push.
A lot of credit for Sacramento’s jump up the standings has to be given to the stellar play from their backcourt. De’Aaron Fox was arguably one of the most improved players in the entire league, as he made substantial strides in just about every major statistical category. If his play can continue on this upward trajectory, Fox can certainly develop into one of the best point guards in the league, and he should be given every opportunity to do just that. His backcourt partner, Buddy Hield, also stepped up his game as he received more playing time. He averaged more than 20 points per game for the first time in his career and has evolved into one of the league’s biggest threats from the behind the 3-point line. That being said, these two guards complement each other’s skills very well, and they should continue to lean on one another as they try and push this Kings squad to the next level.
In addition to Fox and Hield, the Kings will also look to lean on second year big man Marvin Bagley to make a leap in the western conference. Despite having his minutes somewhat limited throughout the season, Bagley flashed his potential through his high-end athleticism and offensive versatility. However, Sacramento will hope that Bagley can improve both his interior defense and 3-point shot so that new head coach Luke Walton can feel comfortable playing him in any situation.
The Kings were the 4th youngest team in the NBA last year, and it appeared that the Sacramento front office made an effort to surround their young core with veteran experience this offseason. They decided to bring back Harrison Barnes, who proved to fit nicely next to Fox and Hield last year as a 3-and-D player. They also brought in former Atlanta center Dewayne Dedmon, who they can use to allow Bagley to have some playing time at the forward position. Additionally, guys like Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph will bring more playoff experience to the table, as the team has made it clear that anything short of a playoff berth will be considered a failure.