The Sacramento Kings Are Befuddled At The Halfway Point


At the midway point of the 2016-17 NBA season, the Sacramento Kings are searching for answers as the season quickly goes down hill

A season that started with so much optimism has gone south rather quickly for the Sacramento Kings.

With  a new head coach, a rising superstar and some solid off season pickups, this was supposed to be the Kings’ best opportunity to end a 10-year playoff drought.

Well, as it has been for the past decade, the Kings are once again well below the .500 mark at the halfway point of the season.

Dave Joerger, the coach who was supposed to be the savior after replacing George Karl, has not yet earned the fans’ trust. For some unknown reason, Joerger refuses to give playing time to rookies such as Malachi Richardson.

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Yet Ben McLemore keeps getting chances, although he has not shown any sign of improvements in his three years in the NBA. What’s even more puzzling about Joerger’s rotation? Thirty-six year old Matt Barnes has become a fixture in the lineup despite shooting bricks every night.

As for DeMarcus Cousins, the franchise player who is reportedly expected to sign a $200 million extension this summer, he is statistically having the best season of his seven-year career. Yet, the superstar still racks up technical fouls with his tantrums. At times, his body language seems like that of a person who has been forced to watch a Kardashian marathon.

The Sacramento Kings’ season hit its lowest point on Wednesday, Jan. 18. On that night, this cursed franchise finished 1-6 in a seven-game homestand, capping it off by blowing a 22-point lead against the Pacers. But the worst part of that night was losing Rudy Gay, who is likely out for the season after going down with torn Achilles.

At this point, Kings’ fans will do what they usually do in January when the season seems lost. They analyze draft boards and glance at upcoming free agents, hoping maybe next year will be the year.

This time, the upcoming offseason will be as dramatic as ever. Will DeMarcus Cousins sign the extension? Do the Kings trade him and start all over? Will Gay pick up his option now that he has torn his Achilles? Which holes do the Kings need to fill through the draft and free agents?

Before we get to the offseason however, the Kings have to decide whether it’s time to tank or make a playoff push. After all, even if the season seems doomed, the Kings still have a chance in the horrendous race for eighth in the Western Conference.

Call me naive, but I still have believe Kings can make the playoffs. They played well when Gay was out for a couple of weeks earlier this season. So why wouldn’t they be able to do it again?

Besides, for all the criticism Vlade Divac has received, he deserves credit for picking up solid free agents such as Ty Lawson, Garrett Temple, Arron Afflalo and Anthony Tolliver.  This group of veterans might just have enough to help the Kings sneak into the eighth seed.

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Of course, as a Sacramento Kings fan, it’s best to be cautiously optimistic. I can’t get my hopes up thinking Malachi Richardson will actually get playing time. I can’t expect Matt Barnes to get less than 15 minutes a game for the rest of the season. I can’t even expect the Kings to make a smart move before the trade deadline.

I can only hope that maybe 35-37 wins will be enough for an eighth spot. Sure, the Kings will likely get swept in the first round, but just a little taste of playoffs would be so delicious for this franchise.