The Sacramento Kings currently hold the longest active playoff drought in all of the four major sports in the U.S. and the longest in the history of the NBA. Cover your ears kings fans, but the Sacramento faithful have not gotten to watch their Kings in the playoffs in 16 seasons. The last King’s roster to appear in the postseason was headlined by guard Mike Bibby — a name that casual NBA fans might not even know. Despite the playoff drought, the Kings have seen some talented players come and go in the past 16 years. Names like DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, a young Tyreek Evans, Tyrese Haliburton and more have all passed through Sacramento, yet none of them were able to get the kings to the postseason.
After dropping 153 points in a win over the Brooklyn Nets, however, Kings fans and lovers of basketball everywhere are asking…
Could this be the year that the Sacramento Kings reach the Playoffs?
It’s hard to say with certainty that this will be the year the Kings get over the hump and make it to the playoffs, but there is certainly reason for optimism in Sacramento. To start, this seems to be the most talented team the Kings have produced in some time. Not only are they led by De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, who both have started their seasons with All-Star-level basketball, but they are flanked by talented role players up and down the roster.
Shooting guards Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk have both proven to be reliable shooters to stretch the floor and can give the Kings a boost in scoring when needed. Combo guard Davion Mitchell is a pure jolt of energy off the bench and an amazing defensive talent, and even the backup forwards like Chimezie Metu and Trey Lyles have been impressive off the bench for the Kings. If all of this wasn’t enough, rookie Keegan Murray already looks to be an NBA-ready talent through his first few weeks of professional basketball.
It is no mystery that the hopes and dreams of the 2022 Sacramento Kings rest primarily on Fox’s shoulders. The 24-year-old point guard has had an incredible beginning to his season, averaging nearly 25 points per game on the best efficiency of his career. If the numbers aren’t enough for you, Fox has passed the eye test as well this season. Looking more comfortable in his role and confident in his jump shot, this version of De’Aaron Fox seems to have taken a leap.
Take the Kings’ recent game against the Golden State Warriors for example. Deep into the fourth quarter with only four minutes remaining, the Kings trailed the Warriors 113 – 110. Fox went into overdrive on the next three scoring plays, finishing a layup through traffic, nailing a three-pointer and connecting on a step-back midrange jumper. After this quick takeover from Fox, the Kings were able to escape with a win against the defending champs. These kinds of close games are the type that most Sacramento Kings fans have become accustomed to losing, but not this year.
Sacramento has another factor playing in its favor: the NBA’s coveted Play-In Tournament. The Kings will only have to reach the 10th seed to give themselves a chance at the 2023 playoffs. With a talented roster like theirs, in a single-game elimination format like the Play-In Tournament, they will have as good a chance as any to make out on top. Of course, Kings fans will be dreaming of obtaining the sixth seed or higher, effectively locking themselves into the playoffs. Nonetheless, their most likely playoff appearance will be via the Play-In.
Regardless of how they get there though, the 2022 Sacramento Kings look energized, and many NBA fans will be rooting for them to make the Playoffs and end their 16-year drought. It is far too early in the season to make any definitive predictions, but at 7-6 (8th in the west) and riding a 4-game win streak.
Still, it is hard not to daydream about the prospect that this could be the season the Sacramento Kings make history.