The Sacramento Kings could back into the playoffs with a play-in game

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings could wind up backing into the playoffs this season.

The Sacramento Kings currently sport the longest active postseason drought in the NBA today and one of the longest in professional American sports. But that drought could be coming to an end in the near future.

Only not in the way that many Kings fans would have envisioned.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Wednesday that the NBA was considering a playoff format that could include anywhere from 20 to 24 teams. The Kings would likely be a part of such a format.

This comes following growing skepticism that the NBA will not be resuming the regular season for all 30 teams following a similar strategy that the NHL has enacted. That strategy would include an increase in the number of teams that would make the playoffs.

The format that Wojnarowski laid out would see the top eight seeds from the Eastern Conference make it with perhaps a scenario that involves play-in games for the Western Conference’s 9th through 12th seeds.

The Kings, with a 28-36 record, currently sit tied with the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans for the ninth seed, 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

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Technically, this proposed play-in format could bring an end to Sacramento’s 13-year playoff drought, depending on how the NBA classifies the play-in games.

This is just one scenario though. The NBA could always just expand the playoffs and not have play-in games — similarly to how the NHL will be operating. For the Kings to be included, the league would feasibly need to include at least 20 teams in the bracket.

Oddly enough, almost any proposed format would come with an unbalanced conference set-up — the Western Conference having more “playoff-worthy” teams.

Simply put, the whole situation is a complete mess, but the Kings could be one of the teams to benefit from it.

The Sacramento Kings have a better shot at making the playoffs now than before.

At the time of the league stoppage, Sacramento still had a shot at making the postseason, but hopes were fading quickly.

With 18 games remaining, the Kings would have not only needed to overcome the 3.5-game deficit with Memphis, but also out-play the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and San Antonio Spurs over the final month or so of action.

Was it possible? Sure, but not nearly as probable as the team’s playoff chances seem now.

Ultimately, will it feel a little cheap? Probably. But it sure would feel good to see postseason basketball being played by the Kings once again.

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Even if it isn’t under ideal circumstances.