Sacramento Kings: What to make of their surprising start to the season

NBA Sacramento Kings Buddy Hield (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
NBA Sacramento Kings Buddy Hield (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings are off to a start that not many people projected. Like many teams that have struggling for a long time, the fight to be relevant again is tough battle. Does this signal a change in Sacramento? Is this start going to last?

Those are two tough questions to answer. The Sacramento Kings have been so irrelevant that there is no reason to believe that this good start will last.

To start off with, the Kings are in the loaded NBA Western Conference. The Golden State Warriors run the show out West and there are seven other teams that are better and more trustworthy than the Kings right now.

Can that change this season?

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Does it mean it will?


At the beginning of the season most NBA prognosticators did not think to much of the Kings. What those pundits thought of Sacramento can not be printed here.

However, one thing may become clear. Which is the idea that the Sacramento Kings may not be a complete dumpster fire, but may actually be okay.

I’ve watched the Sacramento Kings a couple of times and one of the areas that I noticed a difference in was pace. These Kings are playing at such a quicker pace this season. The bring the ball up slowly routine seems to be a thing of the past.

Sacramento was near the bottom in total possessions last season at  94.9 possessions per game. Through eight games the Kings were in third place in terms of total possessions at 105.6. That number also tells you that De’Aaron Fox has sufficiently taken over this team at the point. Fox showed some good flashes last season like all rookies do, but he couldn’t draw fouls while exploding to the basket or effectively finish at the rim. He struggled like a lot of point guards do in their rookie year.

Fox has certainly showed the improvement that the Kings were looking for coming into the 2018-19 season. Stats don’t lie. Fox is taking four more free throws per game and is shooting 13 percent better at the basket. Fox has learned how to be more basketball efficient for his Sacramento Kings. Fast break points are up as well for the Kings. By Fox being so quick out on the break, it has created easy buckets. As a result, the Kings are up to fourth in fast break points in the young NBA season.

That is a vast change from the days of slowly bringing the ball up the court with Zach Randolph plodding his way down to the post.

It is certainly Fox’s team now. The youth movement is on for the Sacramento Kings right now.

Another direct result of the quickened pace is that Willie Cauley-Stein has, for the moment, become the teams best big man. With Fox pushing the pace, Cauley-Stein has been able to get up and down the court like a gazelle and get easy dunks. WCS is averaging 17.4 points per game and nine rebounds a game as a result of being more active on the court.

The other part of this youth movement is rookie Marvin Bagley III. He played only 12 minutes in his pro debut, but since then has become pretty comfortable on the floor. He leads the team in blocks at 1.3 per game and his defensive prowess looks pretty good for a guy who is only eight games into his professional career. Bagley is an elite athlete. Using his athleticism he has battled for 23 offensive rebounds. For a young man learning the pro game, that is excellent.

Lets not forget about wing-man Buddy Hield. Despite not having fellow wing, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Hield is shooting 44.7 percent from the 3-point stripe. Once Bogdanovic comes back, the spacing on the floor becomes that much greater for the team. Hield’s shooting percentage should go up once Bogdan returns.

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The Sacramento Kings are not going to make the playoffs in the West. The Kings are not there yet. Sacramento is the third youngest team in the NBA, so having youth on their side is going to buy them some time with their fans. I believe that their fans should have some reason to have hope with what they are seeing on the court.