Sacramento Kings: 3 factors behind missing 2019 NBA Playoffs

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /
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Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

2. Iman Shumpert for Alec Burks trade

The Kings made three trades at the deadline to help them bolster their roster for a playoff push.

In one, they swapped Skal Labissiere with the Portland Trail Blazers for Caleb Swanigan in a fairly insignificant move that likely won’t have a big impact for a year or more. In another, the Kings exchanged big contracts with the Mavericks when they traded Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson for Harrison Barnes. Barnes served as a much-needed scoring wing for Sacramento.

The final trade saw the Kings work with the Cavaliers and the Houston Rockets to exchange swingmen.

Statistically speaking, Iman Shumpert had a fairly underwhelming tenure with the Cavs. Him being dealt to the Kings at the 2018 deadline came as a surprise to few. After being traded to Sacramento, however, Shumpert sat out the rest of the season. The start of the 2018-19 season saw his first minutes as a King, despite being on the roster for just shy of nine months.

Shumpert immediately had an impact on the roster. His 26 points and three steals led the Kings to their first win of the season on Oct. 21. In fact, he averaged 9.6 points per game through October and November — higher than any of his other season averages.

While his box score numbers don’t jump off the page, his real impact was immeasurable. The young and developing Kings latched onto Shumpert as a veteran; he was the only player on the roster with Finals experience and a championship ring to show for it at the time.

The young players loved Shumpert. His role in the locker room as a mentor and friend was incredibly valuable for such a young team. On De’Aaron Fox‘s personal YouTube channel, he uploaded a video of him playing Shumpert in a game of “HORSE.”

It’s hard not to love the duo of Fox and Shumpert after watching this video, and it has to be assumed that all of the other players were close with him since he has such an amiable personality. He made the players enjoy playing more, and it resulted in some of the only winning basketball in Sacramento since 2005.

Not only did losing Shumpert hurt, but Alec Burks hardly did anything to contribute. Burks averaged a career low 1.7 points per game in the 13 games he dressed for the Kings. He also only received 9.8 minutes per game, which raises the question: Why would the Kings give up such an integral part of the locker room in exchange for less than 10 minutes per game from a player who provided nothing?

It’s a good question, and it’s part of the answer for why Sacramento missed the postseason again.