Sacramento Kings: The Roller Coaster That Was December

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Nov 15, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo (9) and forward DeMarcus Cousins (15) watch a free throw during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Toronto Raptors 107-101. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

The Sacramento Kings sit on the cusp of the playoffs as we head into the new year, and will look to steady themselves in what has been a tale of two teams thus far this season.

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Heading into the month of December, the Sacramento Kings looked substantially different from last year’s team. Obviously, the team was different on paper, but in terms of pace of play, depth, and nearly every other manner, the 2015 Kings team is different from what they were in 2014. This isn’t to say they looked better, per say, as they clung to their 7-12 record entering December.

The team had been led by DeMarcus Cousins and new addition Rajon Rondo early on, and at times Sacramento looked like a smooth team full of confident players, making play after play and scoring big. However, other times they would look like a team all too familiar to Sacramento fans — rushed on offense, turning the ball over, and failing to close out tight games.

The Kings have long lacked the stability and consistency seen in championship organizations like the San Antonio Spurs. Obviously, having a Hall of Fame player and coach helps, but the Spurs are a franchise that rolls with the punches. They are constantly replacing players while drafting smart and building a team that plays well together.

The Kings have a Hall of Fame coach in George Karl, and players like Cousins certainly have All-Star if not Hall of Fame potential. The only difference between the Kings and Spurs (besides a lot of hardware) is that the Kings don’t play consistent basketball. As evidenced, their starting five can be quite potent and it often is, but where the Kings falter is down the stretch, when teams need to learn how to properly mix in bench players and maintain their rhythm and confidence.

This is on both Karl and the team as a whole. Karl makes head-scratching moves in terms of substitutions from time to time. Nearly all coaches do. Sadly, even if he appears to make the right move, there have been plenty of examples of the team failing to execute as a whole.

December has been a month of excitement and frustrations for the team, but no one ever said turning a franchise around was an easy job.

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