Sacramento Kings: The 3 steps needed to make the playoffs next season

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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Sacramento Kings
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MARCH 14: Harry Giles III #20 of the Sacramento Kings reacts with teammates Harrison Barnes #40 and Marvin Bagley III #35 after a technical foul is called against him during the second half at TD Garden on March 14, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Kings 126-120. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings are coming off a surprisingly strong 2018-19 season. What steps will they need to take to finally make it back to the playoffs?

By many measures, the Sacramento Kings had a successful 2018 season watching their young core shape into something potentially promising.

Buddy Hield emerged has one of the game’s better shooters and De’Aaron Fox showed flashes that he could someday become a dominate point guard in this league.

The addition of Luke Walton as the team’s new head coach should help the Kings take a step closer to their ultimate goal of getting back to the playoffs and contending.

His experience from his time spent with the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers will hopefully bring stability to the head coaching position that hasn’t really had it since the Rick Adelman era.

Sacramento had a busy offseason with a collage of offseason signings. Dewayne Dedmon is quietly a nice upgrade at the five with his rim-protecting ability and outside shooting touch which will help space the floor, opening lanes for Fox to penetrate and put pressure on the defense inside the paint.

Re-signing Harrison Barnes was smart and although they may have overpaid to retain him, his defense and shot-making ability is something they need. Barnes in 28 games with the Kings last season shot almost 41% from three-point range.

The additions of Corey Joseph, Trevor Ariza, and Richaun Holmes give the team veteran talent that can come in and compete and teach the young guys how to win. This is especially true with the signing of Ariza and Joseph who both have been to the NBA mountain top by winning a championship.

Add in draft picks Kyle Guy, who had a strong showing in Las Vegas summer league, and Justin James and the Kings have some good depth at the guard position.

Now that the craziest NBA free agency and offseason ever known to mankind is practically in the books, it is time to shift our attention to what the Kings need to do.

These are the three steps necessary to build off a strong developmental season where the Kings finished ninth in the Western Conference (39-43) and which players need to step up to end the franchise’s playoff drought.

Sacramento Kings
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: Tomas Satoransky #31 of the Washington Wizards puts up a shot over Buddy Hield #24 of the Sacramento Kings in the second half at Capital One Arena on March 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Sacramento Kings Depth Chart

Point Guard: De’Aaron Fox, Cory Joseph, Yogi Ferrell, Kyle Guy (TW)

Shooting Guard: Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin James

Small Forward: Harrison Barnes, Trevor Ariza

Power Forward: Marvin Bagley III, Nemanja Bjelica, Tyler Lydon, Wenyen Gabriel (TW), Caleb Swanigan

Center: Dewayne Dedmon, Harry Giles, Richaun Holmes

 1. Improving on defense had the Sacramento Kings ranked 21st in defense rating and opposing teams scored on average 115.3 points per game which is in the top-five most given up a game.

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Opposing teams would have a very high shot percentage far too often as Sacramento allowed teams to shoot 46.6% from the field last season. Compare that to the Toronto Raptors who shocked the world and won an NBA title.

They were a defensive nightmare for opposing teams (obviously it helps to have the services of the Claw also known as Kawhi Leonard) as the Raptors ranked top-five in defensive rating and opposing teams shot only 44.9% against them.

So it’s not a stretch to think that defense wins championships. If the Kings can improve and jump into the top-15 in the league in defensive rating, that should take them one step closer to making the playoffs.