Kings Lead

Top Five New Year’s Resolutions for Sacramento

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It’s the New Year and time for everyone to look to the future, plan out what’s going to be different, and how they’re going to change. No one out there could use a better 2018 than the Sacramento Kings. Sure, 2017 marked the first time in a decade plus that the Kings seriously committed to a rebuild, and hope finally became more than just an ideal wish of the most optimistic fans. Still, the Kings are sitting at 12-24 and staring down the barrel of a twelfth straight season without a playoff berth. So, here are five new years resolutions to help ensure that NBA basketball in Sacramento is much more enjoyable and successful than years past:

1. Stop playing to the level of their opponents

The Kings are currently sitting at 12-24, but among those wins they count a thriller over the Golden State Warriors, a comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and a dominant defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ve shown the ability to be able to compete with best in the league. However, they’ve also suffered multiple double digit beat downs at the hands of the bottom tier teams. The Kings are a conundrum because they can play a very competitive game against the best in the world one night, and then look like a glorified G-League team the next. In order or their fortunes to be better in this league, they’re going to have to figure out a way to not just compete with the best, but play just as strongly against the worst and find a consistent approach to each game.

2. Figure out how to compensate for a lack of size on the perimeter

In a recent contest against the Phoenix Suns, the Kings’ issue with size from their wing positions was on full display. Devin Booker and TJ Warren exploited this issue to score 26 points apiece along with 10 rebounds for Warren. The problem is that Sacramento only has one true small forward in Justin Jackson, and he’s averaging just under 18 minutes per game. More often than not, they find themselves in the position where they have to play with multiple point guards or shooting guards on the court, and it costs them defensively. The Kings can remedy this by playing stronger team defense, but most likely they’ll only be able to answer the problem by overhauling the three position.

3. Make some free throws 

We’ve extensively detailed the Kings’ issues at the line in the past, but it’s such a problem that it’s worth mentioning again. Sacramento currently have the least free throws attempted per game (17.2), and have the third worst free throw percentage (72.2) in the league. These are numbers are bad by any standard and would be the worst for Sacramento since 2009. To put this in perspective, the two best free throw shooting teams are the Warriors and the Cavaliers, and four of the five worst are bottom feeders in the league. The ability to get the free throw line often and make those shots at a high clip is imperative to success in the NBA.

4. Hit a home run in the 2018 draft

Like the previous draft, the upcoming one is looking to chock-full with talent. Trae Young, Marvin Bagley, DeAndre Ayton, and Mohamed Bamba are currently killing in college, while Michael was possibly the number one overall pick before his injury and Luka Doncic might be the best prospect to ever come from Europe. The bottom line is that the first six picks of the draft seem to can’t miss prospects, and the Kings would be smart to stay in that range (they currently sit fifth). This would also be the perfect place for them to answer their issues at small forward. The 2018 draft is vitally important for the Kings, because due to a terrible trade with the 76ers that will not be re-discussed they are without a first round pick in 2019.

5. Patience, patience, patience, and more patience 

The sad truth is that 2018 won’t be noticeably more successful than 2017. More gruesome losses are on the horizon, and another playoff spent from the couch is almost inevitable for the Kings. The key for this year will finding solace in the little improvements, concentrating on development, and a lot of patience. It’s easy to preach work now and win later, but when it actually comes down to it the actual process can be tough to stomach. It may be a phrase as old as time for the Kings and their fans, but patience is the best remedy for eventual success in Sacramento.

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About Jordan Schauberger

Jordan is a Sports Journalism student at American River College. He is a passionate NBA fan and unironically supports the Kings. #SacramentoProud

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