The Sacramento Kings have been one of the better stories in the NBA this season, but is this a team that is built to fail in the playoffs?
Before the season, there were many questions surrounding what lay ahead for the Sacramento Kings. After 16 straight seasons of missing the playoffs, this new core had to show something for this franchise to continue down this path. The franchise was at a crossroads that would either lead to a path that would take them up the Western Conferene standings or one that would lead them toward another rebuild.
And through the first nine games of the season in which they were just 3-6, things were beginning to look bad for the Kings. They then went on a seven-game winning streak and won 10 of their next 13 games overall. It’s almost as if something clicked for the team, something that hadn’t for what felt like almost two decades.
With less than 20 games before the start of the playoffs, the Kings are for the first time in a long while part of the fun. Just a few weeks out from the playoffs, the Kings are third in the West standings with a 36-25 record. They are only two games back of the second seed and have a three-game cushion over the fourth seed.
Short of an absolute collapse over the next few weeks, the Kings will be hosting a first-round playoff series for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Perhaps the best part about it all is the fact that the Kings are doing so with an exciting brand of basketball.
The team has the best offense in the league heading into Friday night’s NBA action.
Why the Sacramento Kings might be set up for failure in the NBA Playoffs
However, if there is one gripe about the Kings, it’s the fact that they have a bottom 6 defense. In fact, of all the 16 projected playoff teams in the NBA, they have the second-worst defense among them. And that has to be at least somewhat concerning heading into the playoffs.
During the playoffs, the offense generally slows down and it becomes more of a defensive and a half-court game. Clearly, that’s probably something that the Kings may struggle with. But that will also be a good test for this year’s team. If nothing else, this young Kings team will get some much-needed playoff experience. Even if it comes with a heartbreaking ending.
There’s no question that the Kings have been one of the most overlooked stories in the NBA this season. They have the best offense in the league without a notable superstar. The job that Mike Brown has done as the team’s head coach has been a magnificent one and he should probably win the NBA’s Coach of the Year award.
And even if they don’t win a playoff series, I wouldn’t call this season a disappointment for the team. The franchise has taken a clear step forward this season. And that was something that nearly every critic of the Kings asked before the season – for the team to simply show signs of improvement. They did that, and then some.
Even if the Kings aren’t “built for the playoffs” and if they lose in the first round, there’s no question that this year will be one to remember. And, perhaps most importantly, it could be something that the team could build on moving forward.