The Sacramento Kings (30-27) are the biggest surprise in the NBA, and the young Kings, led by Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox, are currently on the playoff bubble heading into the final 25 games of the season.
In the Western Conference, the Kings are currently on the bubble. The Kings trail the #8 LA Clippers by a single game. Only two games separate the Kings and the Utah Jazz in the six seed.
WEST CONFERENCE PLAYOFF PICTURE
1. Golden State Warriors (41-16)
2. Denver Nuggets (39-18)
3. OKC Thunder (37-20)
4. Portland Trail Blazers (34-23)
5. Houston Rockets (33-24)
6. Utah Jazz (32-25)
7. San Antonio Spurs (33-26)
8. LA Clippers (32-27)
Sacramento Kings (30-27)
LA Lakers (28-29)
The LA Clippers got off to a hot start this season, but appear to be easing off the pedal after trading away their top player. Tobias Harris is now starting for the Philadelphia Sixers and trying to help them win an NBA title. Meanwhile, the Clippers weak grip on the #8 seed is up for grabs.
The Kings are in the best position to slide into the final spot. They also have a chance to even grab the #7 seed. Their biggest competition is the dysfunctional Lakers. Will they try to tank the rest of the season and then fire Luke Walton? Or will LeBron James and company make a run for the final playoff spot in the West?
The Sacramento Kings were represented All-Star weekend in the Rising Stars Challenge. Marvin Bagley III and De’Aron Fox were both on Team USA. The Kings are not on many televised games, so it was truly the first time many fans were able to see the young players in action.
The Kings headed into the break winning five out of their last seven games. After an 8-8 start, the Kings are 22-19. The young team still struggles to put away teams in the fourth quarter. Their inconsistency in the first half of the season is the precise reason they find themselves on the bubble.
Buddy Hield leads the Kings in scoring with 20.5 points per game. De’Aarox Fox is second in scoring with 17.2 points per game. Fox also leads the team in assists with 7.2 per game. Bogdan Bogdanovic is third on the Kings with 14.8 points per game. Meanwhile, Rookie Marvin Bagley III is coming off the bench to average 13.3 points per game.
Stop the 13-Year Slide
In eight out of last ten seasons, the Kings lost 50 or more games and one of those seasons included 49 losses.
The Kings last playoff appearance happened in 2006. They were bounced in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs. In 2005, they were eliminated in the opening round by the Seattle Sonics. Yes, the Sonics reference is dating the Kings final days of prominence. That’s how long ago the Kings were in the playoffs.
The Kings have not won a playoff series since 2004.In 2002 and 2003, they went all the way to the Western Conference Finals with Chris Webber and Vlade Divac. In 2003, the Kings went all the way to seven games but lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.
Game 6 Rigged
The Kings have been jinxed since referees favored the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2002 Western Conference Finals. The Kings forced the Lakers to seven games before the Lakers prevailed in the elimination game.
Game 6 is at the heart of NBA conspiracy theorists. The Kings were up 3-2 and on the verge of heading to the NBA Finals. The referees whistled the Kings for significantly more fouls than the Lakers. The Lakers attempted 40 free throws to only 25 for the Kings. Center Vlade Divac fouled out on a couple questionable fouls and the Lakers attempted 27 in the fourth quarter, which is at the heart of the conspiracy.
The Kings lost Game 6 and Game 7. The LA Lakers headed to the finals. The big-market team represented the West instead of the small-market team.
According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Sacramento Kings are 500/1 odds to win the NBA championship.