Preview of the NBA 2021-22 season over the Sacramento Kings. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
- Market movements: Transfer of Tristan Thompson, incorporation of Alex Len (here all movements).
- Backcourt: De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Davion Mitchell, Buddy Hield, Terence Davis, Jahmi’us Ramsey, Robert Woodard III.
- Frontcourt: Harrison Barnes, Maurice Harkless, Louis King (two-way), Marvin Bagley III, Chimezie Metu, Richaun Holmes, Tristan Thompson, Alex Len, Damian Jones, Neemias Queta (two-way).
This is how they face the season
It is very difficult to predict what these Kings are going to be, especially with the amount of opposing feelings they have conveyed in recent years. The recent victory in the Summer League is one of those outbreaks of hope that the Sacramento team have been mixing with moments of absolute disaster, giving rise to a squad that points to manners but is rather less than exciting.
And it is that on paper the team has several interesting men who should make the play-in a realistic objective (at least fight it until the end), but what has been seen on the track in the last two seasons seems to indicate the opposite. Walton’s men have mixed sections of very good basketball with others of a very low level, promising winning streaks and several losses in a row that threw everything away, moments in which the playoffs seemed within reach that they were throwing away. in a matter of days … And the mix of all that is absolute mediocrity.
Because that’s where the Kings are right now, out of nowhere. The young nucleus around which to build seems already formed, but there have been several years waiting for an explosion that does not come. Is it this? Mimbres there is, of course, but also uncertainty.
The one who seems his most valuable and reliable piece is De’Aaron Fox, who each season of his career has taken a huge leap in quality to finish 20-21 with All-Star numbers. If he was not, it is because he was on a team with a very poor balance, but the truth is that it seems that this is already his level and that he is prepared to try to cap Sacramento towards more important heights. It is difficult to imagine a new level jump (he comes from averaging 25.5 points and 7.2 assists), but by maintaining what he did last year he assures his team a base of stellar caliber.
One notch below in terms of reliability but not in terms of illusion we find Richaun Holmes and Tyrese Haliburton. Especially the latter has excited about his season of rookie, in which he has pointed ways as a great scorer from the perimeter, and, if with more gallons and experience he manages to continue growing, he can give an important boost to his team. A similar case is that of Holmes, who has performed very well since his arrival and whom they have managed to renew this summer, preserving one of his most solvent pieces and ensuring a reference figure in the painting.
But then we started moving on more swampy terrain. What Buddy Hield are we going to find this year? Will Bagley finally explode or will he once again be a dribbler available player? How much can Harrison Barnes contribute to justify his $ 20 million contract? Well, there is no clear answer to these doubts, which if resolved in one way or another could make these Kings a truly dangerous team at last or make them fall short for another season.
The case of Bagley is especially paradigmatic, remember, number 2 in the draft ahead of Luka Doncic and a player who has really shown great qualities. In fact, we are talking about a man who performs well every time he has minutes, but his disastrous fortune with physical problems has not only caused this to happen every very little time, but has deprived him of the continuity necessary to develop in the way expected. However, it has plenty of talent and capabilities, and it is indisputably one of the points with the greatest potential growth of the squad.
In terms of arrivals and departures, it has been a summer with little movement. Trading Whiteside for Tristan Thompson and Alex Len can be seen as an improvement, but not one that is exciting. Who does attract the most attention is the rookie Davion Mitchell, MVP of the last Summer League thanks to his extraordinary defensive performance, precisely another aspect to improve on the part of the Kings, who were the worst defense of last season.
At 23, the point guard should arrive ready to contribute almost immediately, and it seems like a logical choice both at the level of features and stage of development. He confirms that in Sacramento they want to start going up as soon as possible, and of course his first participation with the team could not have been more successful. Obviously, a rookie is not going to change overnight to the worst defense in the NBA, but it will certainly help the evolution in this regard to be positive.
And finally, you can’t finish talking about the Kings without looking at the bench. Luke Walton will once again be in charge of the project in what will surely be his last chance to bring this team to fruition (for many, there are already more opportunities than it deserves).
When he arrived, the Kings were coming off signing their best season in 13 years (39-43, which tells us a bit about the recent history of the franchise) and they were aiming to take off with a young project, but what has come since then is outright stagnation. 31 victories in 19-20, 31 victories in 20-21, and the feeling that what was a team with potential has been left in a boat adrift. If things do not change soon, it is possible that he will not even finish the course on the team.
To top it off, Sacramento would become the team that has been without a playoff for the most consecutive years if it is out again this season, something that certainly does not seem far-fetched. However, if things go well, they should aspire to a play-in place that would do them wonderfully both in terms of impact and sport. To have the feeling of playing a great game again, to see that the work done has led somewhere, that the project is really growing… They need something like that.
Player to watch
Tyrese Haliburton. With Fox already established as one of the great references of the league, the sophomore he is possibly the one who has awakened the most illusion with his unexpected irruption. After a season of rookie in which it was confirmed as the theft of his draft, there are many who expect a step forward from him that will definitely make him one of the references that will help these Kings to give the much desired and needed leap in quality. Especially now that Buddy Hield seems to be going down, his consecration as a specialist scorer in the backcourt it would be extraordinary news for yours.
NBA preview 2021-22 Sacramento Kings, prediction
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the season in the NBA 2021-22 preview.
Sign me up among those who see another year of the groundhog in Sacramento: some good streak, many lost games, defense as a pending issue and out of the play-in. If Fox raised his level one more notch, Haliburton maintained the projection and Mitchell infected his defensive spirit, the Kings could fight a play-in spot. But I don’t see them above Pelicans, Spurs or even Timberwolves, which is saying. Am I overly pessimistic? Time will tell.
Previous team analyzed: Cleveland Cavaliers. Next team: Toronto Raptors.
(Cover photo: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)