By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist
OPINION – Will this be the season that the Sacramento Kings break their dubious record of 15 years without making the NBA playoffs? The 2021-22 NBA season starts this week and every NBA team is feeling good about the upcoming season, because they haven’t lost a game! Speaking of losses, your Sacramento Kings came into the summer league in July this year in Las Vegas after drafting point guard Davion Mitchell of the 2021 NCAA Basketball Championship Baylor Bears. The team — filled with rookies and undrafted players, led by Mitchell — went undefeated and won the Las Vegas Summer League Championships. Mitchell was named co-MVP of the league for his stellar play.
So, the Sacramento Kings continued their winning ways by going undefeated in preseason play. No one around here is getting excited about the Kings’ preseason record, however at least this year’s version is starting the upcoming NBA season with a winning attitude.
Let’s evaluate the Kings roster to determine whether this will be a successful season or not.
The 2021-22 version of the Sacramento Kings success this season will be determined by the play of the Kings guards. It’s no secret that because of Mitchell the Kings will utilize a three-guard offense until NBA opponents find a way to stop it. The head of the snake is budding NBA star De’Aaron Fox who is approaching making the NBA All-Star team in the Western Conference, if his performance improves from last year. When you add Rookie Of The Year runner-up from last season, Tyrese Haliburton along with three-point threats Buddy Hield and Terence Davis, the Kings will be a threat no matter what combination head coach Luke Walton decides to play. The key is whether Mitchell’s defensive intensity will allow him to play major minutes on the court as a rookie in the NBA.
It is no secret that the Kings had the worst defense in the NBA last year, finishing 30 out of 30 teams. If Walton, along with defensive-minded new assistant coach Doug Christie can improve the Kings from 30th to 20th , that should mean at least five more wins this season. The Kings also need to find a capable back-up to Harrison Barnes at the small forward position.
Everything also hinges on the team not having a major injury to a key player this season.
Kings Prediction For The Season:
If the Kings can have decent health this season, I predict 42 wins which should get them to the 9th spot in the tough Western conference with the home game against the 10th seed team. The Kings will then use that momentum to win the 8th place in the playoffs, breaking their drought and saving Walton’s job!!