Monday, 24 Jun 2024

2020-21 Season Preview: Sacramento Kings

Is this the season the Kings end their playoff drought?

When last seen, the Kings were missing out on the playoffs once again and still seeking an identity. The Kings always seem to be under construction, and in that sense, nothing changed last season, their first under coach Luke Walton. While De’Aaron Fox showed more growth and maturity at point guard, that was the biggest plus for Sacramento. Buddy Hield did average 19.2 points and has made more 3-pointers in his first four years than anyone in league history. He also pouted when asked to come off the bench in favor of the departed Bogdan Bogdanovic. Also, Marvin Bagley III once again dealt with injuries, playing only 13 games and leaving the Kings at a disadvantage near the rim. The Kings traveled down a well-worn path to the Draft lottery and then braced for changes within and beyond the roster.

What’s New?

Monte McNair was hired to replace Vlade Divac as general manager, a swap that was overdue. Divac lorded over a post-DeMarcus Cousins era that never gained any traction and couldn’t hire a coach with staying power. His biggest crime, however, was bypassing Luka Doncic in the draft for Bagley. McNair’s first big decision was allowing Bogdanovic to bolt to the Hawks in free agency without matching the offer sheet. If nothing else, it at least made Hield happy even if an asset walked out the door with nothing in return. McNair also drafted combo guard Tyrese Haliburton from Iowa State and signed Hassan Whiteside and Frank Kaminski on the cheap for front-line depth and experience.

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What’s Missing?

The Kings are an unbalanced team, with most of their energy generated from the backcourt, although this could change if Bagley stays healthy and develops. Harrison Barnes, a solid player at small forward but never a star, could begin to decline, and that could force the Kings to examine trade possibilities provided there’s a taker for his contract. A defensive presence at the rim would be beneficial for Sacramento, and Whiteside has been one of the league’s premier rebounders and shot-blockers in recent years. But there’s a reason why nobody wanted him, even for the minimum — he’s severely lacking intangibles. Hopefully, for the sake of the Kings and his career, this is his wakeup call.


De’Aaron Fox: 21.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 6.8 apg – Freshly signed to a max deal, Fox looks to make a push toward All-Stardom.

Buddy Hield: 19.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.0 apg – A solid volume 3-point shooter searches for happiness and a long-time home in Sactown.

Marvin Bagley III: 14.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 0.9 bpg – Injuries have restricted his development, making him somewhat of a mystery.

Harrison Barnes: 14.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 2.2 apg – Steady and dependable veteran who has already reached his ceiling.

Richaun Holmes: 12.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.3 bpg – A worker bee who has been a pleasant surprise but faces a threat from bigger Hassan Whiteside.


Tyrese Haliburton: 15.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 6.5 apg (Iowa State) – A multiskilled combo guard who brings an all-around game and an odd shooting motion.

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Nemanja Bjelica: 11.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.8 apg – A very productive per-minute player who flourished in Bagley’s absence last season.

Hassan Whiteside: 15.5 ppg, 13.5 rpg, 2.9 bpg – Perhaps no one with comparable stats has taken a bigger pay cut in NBA history.

Sacramento Kings, last 5 seasons:

Season W L PCT OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg Rank
2019-20 31 41 0.431 109.5 18 111.4
2018-19 39 43 0.476 109.6 17 110.8
2017-18 27 55 0.329 103.1 29 110.4
2016-17 32 50 0.390 106.6 20 110.8
2015-16 33 49 0.402 105.3 14 107.6

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions


Q: Will the Kings end their playoff drought this season?
A: The Kings have been striving to end their playoff drought for quite some time, but it remains to be seen if they can achieve it this season. While they have promising young talent, the Western Conference is stacked with quality teams, making it a challenging task for Sacramento to make any significant noise in the playoffs. However, the addition of Tyrese Haliburton and the development of Marvin Bagley III could provide some hope for the team’s future.

Q: What changes have occurred within the Kings organization?
A: The Kings made several changes within their organization, including hiring Monte McNair as the new general manager to replace Vlade Divac. McNair’s first major decision was allowing Bogdan Bogdanovic to leave in free agency without matching the offer sheet from the Hawks. The team also drafted Tyrese Haliburton and signed Hassan Whiteside and Frank Kaminsky to bolster their front-line depth and experience.

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The Sacramento Kings have been stuck in a playoff drought for many years, despite consistently picking high in the NBA Draft. Last season showed some signs of improvement, with De’Aaron Fox demonstrating growth and maturity at point guard. Buddy Hield continued to prove himself as a prolific 3-point shooter, but also expressed frustration when asked to come off the bench. Marvin Bagley III’s development has been hindered by injuries, leaving the Kings at a disadvantage in the paint. With a new general manager and some fresh additions to the roster, there is hope for the future. However, the Kings face challenges in achieving success in the competitive Western Conference. The addition of Tyrese Haliburton brings more talent to the backcourt, while the health and progress of Bagley will be crucial. The Kings must find a balance and address defensive needs to move forward. Only time will tell if they can break their playoff drought and establish a winning identity.

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