Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings are off to an excellent start

In just about every NBA preseason prediction article, the Sacramento Kings were placed near the bottom of the Western Conference. Even a casual NBA fan knows that this organization has been one of the worst in the league over the last decade. This team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006 and is known for making questionable roster decisions over the years. However, the 2018-19 Kings have shocked the league by starting off this particular season well above .500.

The Kings are now 6-3 and have won five in a row after a dominant 146-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night. While they haven’t played the toughest schedule, there are plenty of games they’ve won this season that they probably would’ve lost last season. The Kings are averaging 119.8 points per game which is good for second in the NBA. They’ve scored at least 110 points in seven of their nine games as well.

Dave Joerger’s team is getting production from the entire core of their roster. Willey Cauley-Stein, Nemanja Bjelica, and rookie Marvin Bagley III have played very well. Bjelica, the Kings free agent signing after he changed his mind about signing with the 76ers, has shot over 55% from three point range so far. Bagley is averaging 13 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game off the bench. Cauley-Stein has developed into a really good two-way center in the early going. While this is big for the Kings’ chance to compete in a tough Western Conference, the play of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield has been what has set the team apart.

The 20-year-old Fox had 31 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists on only 13 field goal attempts against the Hawks last night. All three totals were career highs for the second year point guard from Kentucky. He is one of the fastest players with the ball in his hands in the NBA and is constantly looking to create shots for himself and others and as we can see, the Kings are benefiting from that.

In addition to the great performance from Fox, Buddy Hield couldn’t miss from three last game. He added 27 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a block. The biggest key to the team’s success is that the back-court duo is shooting the ball at a very efficient rate. Both are shooting at least 50% from the field and Hield is shooting just under 49% from downtown through the team’s first nine games. The former Oklahoma standout is playing with a lot of confidence and it shows.

Are this year’s Sacramento Kings legit after this hot start to the season? We will find out sooner rather than later. The next five games, the Kings play will be against much more talented opposition than the Hawks. From the Bucks to the Raptors to the Lakers, the Kings will face stiff competition from some of the best players in the league. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James are all playing at their usual high level and will be ready for the Kings.

We’ve seen teams start out hot and then crash and burn. For example, last year’s Orlando Magic started 8-4 and ended 25-57. The Kings will look to end that trend this year. Finally, the play of this team gives the fans in Sacramento something to cheer about.

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