NBA: How the bottom 7 in the West can make a return to the playoffs

NBA Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
NBA Dallas Mavericks Luka Doncic (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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NBA Sacramento Kings
NBA Sacramento Kings De’Aaron Fox (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Exploring how the bottom seven teams in the Western Conference can take a step in making a return to the playoffs this summer

As the 2019 NBA Playoffs continue to roll on, inching closer and closer to the Conference Semifinals, there are a number of teams sitting at home wishing or trying to figure out how they could be where the likes of the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers or even Los Angeles Clippers are currently.

Last week, we covered the bottom seven teams in the Eastern Conference, and what they could do to make the playoffs next year. This time around, we’re going to do that with the Western Conference.

Starting with…

9. Sacramento Kings: Defense and Leadership

Although being the ninth seed typically means that you just lost one or two key games, the Sacramento Kings are an example of the ninth seed being the best of the worst and not the worst of the best. The Kings found themselves nine games out of the Western Conference Playoffs, but at first, it’s hard to tell why. The Kings placed in the top half of the league in nearly every stat, but their problems begin to show up on defense.

The Kings allowed the 11th highest opponent field goal percentage in the league, their opponents had the highest total rebounds, and the Kings were fifth in opponent second-chance points. In order for the Kings to get to the playoffs next year, they need to boost their defense and stop their opponents from scoring.

Another problem the Kings have had for the last few years is their coaching situation. In the last 13 years, the Kings have had 10 different head coaches. In those years, the Kings have never made the playoffs. Their most recent signing of Luke Walton is a promising one since he has a proven track record of being able to lead young teams.

Many forget, but he was at the helm when the Warriors made their historic 34-9 run during their 2015-2016 season. In the 39 remaining games, Kerr would lose more games than Walton, with the Warriors going 73-9 that season.