The Sacramento KIngs are a very interesting team going into the 2022-2023 season. They forewent re-signing shooting guard Donte DiVincenzo who was solid for them in the second half of this past season and made some interesting signing bringing over swingman Malik Monk and just recently signed guard Quinn Cook. They traded for shooting guard Kevin Huerter who comes over from the Atlanta Hawks and are pretty deep at the guard position with Fox,Mitchell,Huerter, and recently signed Monk. I do not mention Cook and Jackson because nothing guarantees they will be in new head coach Mike Brown’s rotation come tip-off. Trading away Tyrese Haliburton definitely surprised me as I belive Tyrese will be an all-star at least 2-3 times in his playing career and he’ll be the new anchor behind a turnaround in Indiana.
Kings basketball hasn’t been all that exciting over the past 18-20 years, I followed them sparingly in the early 2000’s because I was such a big fan of Chris Webber’s game and how fluid the Kings’s offense ran when they ran their offense through the post with either Chris Webber or Vlade Divac. They were likely robbed of a championship in the 2002 playoffs after losing in a very controversial series against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers led by Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant and never had much luck after the Chris Webber era was over. Demarcus Cousins brought some life to Sacramento but was always a knucklehead and his ability to impact winning and carry Sacramento was always in question. They fired the coach who actually made a connection with him in Mike Malone and ever since then we are still wondering when will they ever make the playoffs.
I think Monte McNair has done a decent job making the Kings competitive over the past few years, shockinly Harrison Barnes is still in Sacramento as his name is constantly brought up in trade rumors due to him approaching 30 and the Kings not knowing if they should blow it all up or look to compete. Bringing over big man Domantas Sabonis was a chess move I guess, a ton of international players have succeeded on the Sacramento Kings from Vlade Divac to Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu who all were part of those teams in the 2000’s which former head coachRick Adelman made a title contender for several years and a threat out West. De’Aaron Fox’s trainer has been wrong so far, close to 4 years ago he predicted Fox would be playing at an MVP level and carrying the Kings to a championship that has not been the case what so ever so far. Former head coach Dave Joerger saw a Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook like pairing between De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley which was also a failed experiment as Bagley’s status grew sour with the organization.
De’Aaron’s name was even brought up in trade rumors this past season, his name was mentioned with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics as their were rumblings about the direction of the team and low and behold instead of trading Fox they got him an actual running mate which Bagley failed to be for years due to injuries and inability to stay on the court. Former head coach Luka Walton thought Marvin Bagley could be Giannis Antetokoumpo clone yet he never gave him a consistent role and juggled Marvin in and out of the staring lineup. New head coach Mike Brown has a reputation for being a defensive minded coach, he coached LeBron James in Cleveland and his teams were top 5 in defensive rating for several seasons in the early 2000’s. Davion Mitchell fits Mike Brown’s personnel being that he looks forward to making winning plays and playing some exceptional on ball defense.
Most would likely bet on the Kings likely winning 36-45 games this season and likely making the Play-In Tournament, I believe they can be good enough to be a 6th-8th seed in the Western Conference they don’t boast one of the top 10 players in the game at the moment but the pieces fit. Fox has free rein to be the floor-general and no longer has to worry about deferring to Tyrese who needs the ball to be effective as he is an exceptional passer with great size and athleticism who needs his own team. Davion fits in right with De’Aaron since much of what he does is off the ball play and he is able to be shot-creator and spot up shooter much like Marcus Smart was for the Celtics last season. Davion will compensate for De’Aaron’s deficiencies on defense and be able to create offense for others, don’t believe me? Go watch his 15 points 17 assist performance versus the Rockets this past season.
Another thing is Domantas Sabonis will never be on the level of a Joel Embiid,Nikola Jokic,Anthony Davis, or Giannis Antetokoumpo but he is a borderline all-star and good for 20 points 10 rebounds 4+ assists per game and will give the Kings the front-court scoring they’ve been lacking since Demarcus Cousins last played in Sacramento. It really will come down to De’Aaron Fox, he has had his growing pains and what has always been inquestion is his jumpshot which is still far from consistent. Someone has to be great for the Kings to leave mediocrity behind, I am not expected newly drafted forward Keegan Murray to be the one to lead the turn-around but being that I watched De’Aaron at Kentucky where he was teammates with Heat forward Bam Adebayo and I saw how bad he wanted to win after losing in the Final Four and crying post-game with Bam I know he cares about winning. Keep an eye on Fox he might enter MVP conversations this coming season till next time.