Written By: Lalo Mata
Published: April 25, 2020
The Sacramento Kings gave a city with no banners a reason for hope and a glimpse of being a powerhouse team in the second half of the season.
A playoff push that forced not only Kings fans, but a community of people to believe in a chance that our city would be an underdog threat late in the fight. From the loose ball dives of Harry Giles to the dog mentality finishes of Fox in the clutch, we miss Sacramento Kings basketball.
With our season coming to a close at 28-36, it’s tough to believe that Harrison Barnes would've gotten to shave his beard for a .500 record, but only 3.5 games behind the 8th seed had all of Kings fans believing that this was the year the Kings could put the whole league on notice.
With a Western conference filled with confusion this year of new faces on the Lakers and missing stars on the Warriors, it was arguably the best chance for the Kings to make that playoff push that Sac needed. As we look back at the 2019-2020 season, we remember all of the great times that the Kings fans would feel untouchable to other teams and it is a real blow to the gut to pause a run like this.
Counting down the top 5 moments or takeaways as a Kings fan this year is a tough list, but for an exciting year with a tragic end, at least we can reminisce on our Kings royalty run.
5. Downtown Beli
Facing a small ball team in Houston was already hard enough with guards like Westbrook and Harden. Westbrook exploded for a 34 piece with a side of 27 points from Harden having their production create more than half of their team’s points. As a team effort to take down a Brodie and Beard duo, the Kings had 4 players score more than 15 points as well as a long distance 3 piece from Downtown Beli to put the Rockets to sleep in buzzer beater fashion.
4. Home Sweet Home
The streetball play style of Kent Bazemore breeds a hustle mindset. Bazemore has become a player off the bench that we can rely on to create offense from defense. Kent will give you effort that doesn't always show up on the stat sheet, but I think I speak for all Kings fans when I say that we want Bazemore for the long run here in Sacramento.
The new faces on the team brought together a group of players that the Kings fell in love with. Richaun Holmes is one of the many new faces to put on a Kings uniform and when I say nobody, I mean NOBODY in their right mind would want the big 22 to leave Sacramento. An athletic threat in the paint and an absolute workhorse of a big man is what we found in Holmes. We have become a team with a great rotation at the big man spot with Holmes, Len, Giles, and Bagley in the future.
It is very safe to say that these players need to be playing at Golden One for years to come as we look back at the hustle and determination that Bazemore and Holmes gave us.
3. Young Core
Bagley has missed more than 50% of his games as a King due to his injuries. The promising prospect out of Duke has given us a solid statline of 14.9 career points with 7.6 rebounds, but the problem is that has only been in 75 total games which isn’t even a full season. The brightside is that Bagley is young and for Kings fans who aren’t aware; this should technically be his rookie season. Yes I said that right- SHOULD BE. Bagley was a top prospect his junior year of high school and skipped his senior year of high school to become a freshman at Duke. Therefore, his rookie season should have been a freshman year spent at Duke.
This long NBA offseason gives Bagley time to recover and prepare for the next season where he will most likely be healthy and ready to fight for starting player status. Once Bagley is healthy it can also be a thought that he could be our forgotten missing piece to an underdog Kings team.
Projected Rotation When Bagley is Healthy:
PG: Fox, Joseph, Ferrell
SG: Bogdanovic, Hield, James
SF: Barnes, Bazemore, Parker
PF: Bagley, Bjelica, Giles
F: Holmes, Len
2. Buddy Buckets
As King fans, we don’t get to see our team on national television all that often. With Klay and Curry out this year, it gave Buddy a chance to prove himself to the league that he’s a dead-eye from behind the 3- point line. Every Kings fan can admit that when we saw that last moneyball go through the net we instantly jumped up and lost our minds. This in itself put the Kings in league conversation for a while, but this also started a streak of success for the team and put us in a discussion with teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and the Bucks as top teams of the second half after the all star break. This run is what makes up for the close game losses us fans had to endure watching for a while early on in the season.
1. Comeback Kids
Every Kings fan knows the game I’m talking about. Down by 27 points in the game and down 17 points with 2:49 left in the fourth quarter; an overtime win with the score of 133-129 against the Timberwolves was a comeback win that nobody has ever seen happen in the NBA. This was such a historic night and one of the biggest comebacks in NBA history. Bazemore gave a subtle 15 points with Bjelica’s 20 and Fox’s 22, but the star shined bright in Buddy Hield’s career high 42 points. Buddy exploded for 20 points in the fourth quarter going 5-of-5 from deep range and 6-of-6 shooting.
As we get deeper into the offseason, we can also look forward to the team getting healthier and getting hungrier to finish what they started. A Kings fan will miss the 2019-2020 season filled with new faces, game winning shots, 3 point contests and even a historic comeback in Kings fashion. The royalty run that has been put on hold will someday take its throne once again.