The Sacramento Kings Of Confusion

<> at Sleep Train Arena on October 30, 2013 in Sacramento, California.
<> at Sleep Train Arena on October 30, 2013 in Sacramento, California. /

As the final stretch of the 2015-16 season begins, we look at what to expect from the Sacramento Kings of confusion

Heading out of the All-Star break, the Sacramento Kings stand at 22-31, 10th in the Western Conference and 4.5 games behind the Utah Jazz for a playoff position. The 2-7 record in the last month has caused them to slide in the standings.

The Kings had entered the last week of January with a record of 20-24, putting them at 8th in the Western Conference playoff chase and still looking optimistically at a 7th or 6th seed. Things continued to look optimistic on a random Monday night late in January that saw a career night for the Sacramento Kings star, Demarcus Cousins.

Cousins put up a franchise-high 56 points, the best of any player in the NBA this year. He added 12 bittersweet rebounds and four assists as well, before fouling out in what turned out to be a thrilling double-overtime loss for the Kings (Rajon Rondo also had 20 assists in the loss). The final score of 129-128 was indicative of the kind of tremendous game that both teams played.

After that, the team lost three straight games, before a home win against the Bucks. Then, they lost four more games in a row. Incredibly, they lost by the exact same score two straight nights (128-119). A gut-check win in Philadelphia ended the losing streak heading into the week-long All-Star break.

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Since there is never a dull moment in the Vivek Ranadive era, the Sacramento Kings managed to make news during the week by firing assistant coach Vance Walberg in a move that baffled everyone. Walberg is widely respected around the league, so his firing makes little sense. Kings General manager Vlade Divac said that he needed to “shake things up” (as though firing an assistant coach is going to change anything). The team is being widely ridiculed and mocked for the move. Unless Divac knows something we don’t, this looks bad.

The coming week brought the NBA Trade Deadline on a Thursday afternoon. The team was rumored to be active in the trade market, with players like Rudy Gay, Ben McLemore (whose agent reportedly asked the team for a trade and was involved in talks with Cleveland), and Kosta Koufos being talked about. The Kings are very good at one end of the court and very bad at the other. Perhaps a trade might have brought a defensive player? Could that have made a difference down the stretch? We will never know.

The deadline has come and passed and this is the team they are for the rest of the season. As it stands, the Kings would need to go 20-9 the rest of the season to finish at .500 and at least have a chance at making the playoffs.

Is that possible?

Of course it’s possible. Almost anything is possible. But is it likely? Certainly not.

Next: NBA Trade Deadline: The Winners And Losers

I think that going 15-14 is probably much more realistic for the team.

The rest of the season will consist mostly of rumors about George Karl, Vlade Divac, and DeMarcus Cousins. Somewhere along the way more people are likely to be fired before this season is over.

One thing is for sure – there will be drama, lots of drama. Because that is the one thing you can count on the Sacramento Kings for these days.