Photo Credit: The Sacramento Bee
Let’s take a look at where the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans stand since the Boogie trade:
The Kings have been one of the pleasant surprises thus far in the NBA season. They are currently 9th in the Western Conference standings and closing in on what seems like a tanking Los Angeles Clippers team. The only other franchise realistically fighting for a playoff spot against them is LeBron’s Lakers. This would be Sacramento’s first playoff appearance since 2006. The Lakers have a brutal schedule ahead. Although it is risky to bet against LeBron, the Kings and Clippers do have a much easier schedule. It is clear the Kings are making a push to win now as they traded for Harrison Barnes before the deadline.
Buddy Hield, who the Kings got in the Boogie trade, has been silently great. He is averaging 20.5 PPG (leading the team), 5.1 RPG, and 2.3 APG. That is pretty sufficient, especially because they didn’t plan on keeping Boogie anyways. Hield is ranked 4th in 3-PT field goals made in the NBA. Another bright star the Kings have stolen is former Kentucky guard, De’Aaron Fox. Fox is averaging 17.2 PPG, 7.2 APG (leading the team), and 3.7 RPG. Fox is also ranked 8th in total assists this year in the NBA. That is fairly impressive in a modern day guards league. Fox also ranks 5th in total steals. Their chemistry is refreshing and you can tell they love to play for each other.
Rookie Marvin Bagley III has been solid this season so far. Willie Cauley-Stein and Bogdan Bogdanovic are great young pieces as well. The majority of this team is under the age of 26, which means many of these players should be entering their prime. Yogi Ferrell has bolstered their bench, too. It should be noted that the Kings went from being one of the slowest paced teams last year to one of the fastest paced teams this year. A change in coaching style could be what this team needed. With solid stats coming from almost every position at such a young age, a playoff birth would do wonders for these guys. The experience would set them up for future years to come, helping everybody to enhance their game.
The league needs to stop sleeping on these young Kings. They are hungry and want to be noticed. It wouldn’t be surprising if they prevented LeBron from making the playoffs. That would make this postseason the first LeBronless playoffs since 2005.