The Sacramento Kings will embark on their second half of the season against, their over-the-bridge rivals, Golden State Warriors, on Wednesday. The Kings first half of the season had a ton of ups and downs but with the second half of the season about to start, the Kings will need to begin stepping their overall game up and start racking up the wins.
In the first half of the season the Kings players, as well as the fans, were still in the high of winning the battle to stay in the beautiful town of Sacramento but with the record looking the way it is at (18-35)–which is tied with the Lakers for last in the West–the high for the team is now gone and wins should become a top priority. To make this second half become an overall success there are three big keys that the Kings are going to have to do to succeed:
- FEED RUDY GAY- When the Kings acquired Rudy Gay, it was to bring in another all-star caliber player to help relieve DeMarcus Cousins of his scoring load. But while that role that was to be filled by Mr. Gay, it seems that Isaiah Thomas has taken that role for himself. I am not saying that Isaiah is not showing that he has a great talent but Rudy Gay is a talent that has the choice to leave this Sacramento Kings franchise at the end of the season. To make the team better and to make Rudy Gay feel that his importance to the Kings is at a high level–this should be the one of their biggest priorities moving forward.
- DEFENSE FIRST- The mindset and goal that coach Michael Malone came into this season with was to make this selfish young Kings team become defense-first players. During the first half of the season the Kings defense was lackadaisical at best and was more up and down than an elevator. For the Kings to make any noise for their last 29 games in the season the team is going to have to find a way to make defense its first priority. Of course it is not easy to make a losing team, full of young talent, to change their selfish ways into team defense in one season; but at the same time the team should not be at the bottom in each defensive category. Coach Malone says it best “when players are on a losing team so long, they get use to losing and pick up bad habits.” Those habits that some players on this Kings roster have, need to become less frequently shown and with the team wanting to show they can start winning; showing that defense is what comes first is a good start.
- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MATCHUP-The Kings seem to show their brightest colors when matched up against some of the higher echelon of teams in the NBA. With wins over teams like the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and Houston Rockets; the Kings have shown that this franchise has potential to become a true playoff contender. However, when the Kings find themselves going against teams like the Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic; they show why they are bottom feeders in the NBA right now and why they will be in the lottery once again this season. The Kings need to find a way to become consistent and treat every team as if they are the reigning champs. The Kings do not have the skill nor talent to have the on-and-off switch mentality of underestimating teams and thinking they are better than them. When the Sacramento Kings start winning games they are supposed to then they will become a team to look out for during this last half of the season.
A lot of excuses could be made for this team such as chemistry still needs to build, the team is different, and changing a mindset takes time. Fingers have also been pointed at players for their recent play on the floor. All arguments that are valid, but when you are a rebuilding team and you need to become a team that wants to be taken seriously; excuses are not allowed. This last half of the season will be a big half for the Kings to show they are ready for a change in this franchise and that they are ready to make some noise for years to come. If the team can become consistent and follow these three steps; I don’t see why the Sacramento Kings can’t finish these last 29 games with more wins than losses.