Sacramento Trending Upward
What a season for the Sacramento Kings in 2022-23. They headlined NBA news by ending a 16-season playoff drought and also had the third-best record in the Western Conference, winning the Pacific Division.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Kings NBA playoffs odds were decent with the whole organization doing everything to end the postseason drought. The process began with the hiring Mike Brown, a coach with a winning pedigree due to being an assistant with the Golden State Warriors. On top of that, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis played amazing ball. They were rewarded by being named to the All-Star and All-NBA teams, making sportsbooks take the Kings seriously.
The 2022-23 Kia All-NBA Third Team:
▪️ De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
▪️ LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
▪️ Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
▪️ Julius Randle, New York Knicks
▪️ Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings pic.twitter.com/HLhSlCzszN
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) May 10, 2023
However, in the playoffs, Sacramento would not have the best NBA title odds, having to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors, in the first round. The Kings would put up a fight in taking the Warriors to a Game 7, but they still fell short. From now on, the Kings could be solid NBA picks, having shown what they can do.
Sacramento’s core is already built around Fox and Sabonis, and for NBA predictions, the front office only needs to add complementary talent. That should not be too hard with a framework of players already in place.
2022-23 Season Record: 48-34
Status of Coach: Mike Brown just won Coach of the Year, the first to do so unanimously, so his job is safe.
Positions Of Need For the Kings
- Keeping The Core Intact
- Two-Way Wing
- 3-point Shooting
- A Defensive Backup Center
Possible Free Agency Plan
The Kings are actually in a pretty good position when it comes to their salary cap space. Harrison Barnes is the only key player with an expiring contract, and Sacramento will try to bring him back – likely for less than the $18 million he made in 2022-23. Looking ahead, the Kings will have to extend Sabonis and Malik Monk, both crucial players whose contracts end after next season.
However, there should still be a lot of money left, with Fox the only max deal on the roster now. Furthermore, Richaun Holmes is making $12 million to sit on the bench, so eventually, he would have to be traded, opening up a bit more cap space.
One of the biggest needs for the Kings is more floor spacing that won’t interrupt the already-made flow of the offense. Bringing back Barnes would make sense, but if you can upgrade the starting small forward position, that would be even better.
With the cap space that the Kings have, they could make a run for Jerami Grant, a massive improvement from Barnes, but that seems a little less likely. Kyle Kuzma is a player that can do exactly the same thing as Barnes along with a little more. Kuzma is a solid defender, can be a spot-up shooter and has some upside as a playmaker.
Finding an upgrade at the starting small forward position might be a priority, but the Kings could re-sign Barnes and focus on building depth. Outside of Monk, Davion Mitchell and Trey Lyles were the only real impact players off the bench.
Trying to bring in a defensive stopper off the bench like Matisse Thybulle could be interesting, with the Kings having one of the worst defenses in the league. Also, signing a spot-up shooter like Max Strus, who can play with and without the ball, is crucial. Because of the Kings’ cap situation, they can afford to overspend a little and get the players they want to round out the bench.
First-Round Draft Pick
Sacramento has the 24th pick in the draft, plus two second-rounders.
Possible Draft Plan
In the draft, the Kings have another chance to try to fill out the depth on the roster. The bench does need a lot of help beyond guard, so the best course of action is to go with a two-way wing or shot-blocking big.
A name that could be interesting is Sidy Cissoko. Playing in the G-League, he already has some experience with NBA talent and has proven to be a top defender. The big question would be if his offensive game could carry over since he is not a reliable threat from 3-point range. However, he does have some playmaking ability for a forward, which could make him the primary shot-creator in the second unit.
G.G. Jackson is another name that could be available at No. 24. He was a high recruit coming out of high school but struggled a little in college. He is a solid rebounder and can space the floor for a power forward, but he is not the best defender. Noah Clowney would be a different option for a big if need be, offering a lot more defensive versatility, especially when using his length to block shots.
This draft is deep with wings and scoring guards, so that might also be an option for the Kings. Colby Jones and Maxwell Lewis should be available at the back end of the first round and could fit in Sacramento. Both are older players, offering immediate impact while showing they could be solid shooters in college.