The Sacramento Kings were recently given no chance to make the playoffs by ESPN.
ESPN released an article outlining its playoff predictions for the upcoming rebranded NBA season. Among the 22 teams pitched to play in the remainder of the season is the Sacramento Kings. ESPN believes that they have no chance of making the playoffs — are they right?
Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, it was recently announced by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the NBA was planning to approve a 22-team return with eight regular-season games and a tentative start date of Friday, July 31.
Confirmed later that day by the NBA Board of Governors, this relaunched season would give teams that statistically have a chance at making the playoffs a far run, eliminating the remaining eight that don’t.
Among these teams that ‘statistically’ have a chance is the Sacramento Kings, currently tied for ninth in the West with the New Orleans Pelicans and the Portland Trail Blazers.
While the Kings will be included in the remainder of the NBA season, ESPN, in a recent article, outlined their playoff predictions, giving them a zero percent chance of making it in as the eighth seed.
Of the teams eyeing for the eighth seed, the article gave the San Antonio Spurs a 2.9 percent chance, the New Orleans Pelicans 29.4 percent, the Memphis Grizzlies 32.4 percent, and the Portland Trail Blazers the best chance at 35.3 percent.
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Why were the Sacramento Kings given zero percent playoff odds?
One clear omission from these stakes (outside of the Phoenix Suns, but who cares), was the Sacramento Kings. But why?
The inclusion of the Spurs feels like more of a legacy bid than anything else. Placed four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies and missing their second-best player, LaMarcus Aldridge, it seems as though the only thing desirable about the Spurs is their leader, Gregg Popovich.
And the likelihood that if any team has the chance to make something magical happen in these last eight games, it’s a team led by him.
The Pelicans have an extremely talented roster, with the capability to beat any team on any given night. Coupled with this, they’re similarly placed in seeding as the Kings, 3.5 games back from the Grizzlies. They also have Zion Williamson, which feels like it carries a lot of weight in arguments these days.
One of the other two teams that ESPN believes stands a better chance to slip into the playoffs from the West is the Memphis Grizzlies, who are the current eighth seed with what seems like a gully of room between them and the outside players.
Meanwhile the other is the Portland Trail Blazers, the most battle-tested team, with arguably the best player, Damian Lillard, and a team that will see the likely return of center Jusuf Nurkic and talented young forward Zach Collins.
While these are all logical reasons as to why they were given the possibility to make the playoffs, it remains a mystery why the Kings weren’t even considered.
In a strong bubble of teams placed 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Grizzlies, the Kings have a few things that I believe will favor them as they vie for a spot in the finals.
While I understand if you want to ignore the momentum the Kings were building prior to the stoppage of the regular season back in March, it’s worth mentioning that they were 7-3 in their last 10 games, beating the Grizzlies twice and the Trail Blazers once in this time period.
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If we see the team’s continuity carry over to the final eight games of the regular season this will certainly benefit them against teams that were perhaps lackadaisical even before the three-plus month layover.
Perhaps the more important aspect of the Kings’ return and one that definitely should’ve been considered is the team’s roster status.
A young energetic team anchored by a talented coaching staff; the probable re-addition of Marvin Bagley is likely just the offensive ignition the team needs to propel it into the eighth seed.
Alongside Bagley, the sustained emergence of point guard and playmaker De’Aaron Fox will also be a catalyst for the Kings’ success in this remodeled NBA season.
Fox chimed in on this omittance from the ESPN’s probable teams to come out of the West, retweeting an image of the article posted by a Kings fan.
Of the eight games left, two will likely be against the Pelicans, showdowns that will be crucial in the final seedings. They’re also tipped to play the Spurs, Mavericks, and Rockets from the West, and the Pacers, Magic, and Nets from the East.
With a projected manageable schedule, the return of one of their most talented players, and an overall electrified young squad with a ton to prove, the Kings at least deserve a chance.
And that’s what they have. So, let’s prove them wrong.