The Most Promising Young Team in The NBA

AJ Shaw, Staff Writer

From 2008-18, the Sacramento Kings compiled a record of 265-539, with zero playoff appearances, one last place finish in the Western Conference, three second-to-last place finishes in the Western Conference, 10 seasons of 50 or more losses, and four last place finishes in the Pacific Division.

Not only does this on-court performance show how bad the Kings were, but their incompetent front office set this team back for years with poor drafting, trades, and free agency decisions.

But this season hasn’t been like the past. The Kings are currently 34-36 as of March 20, 2019 and sitting at 9th in the Western Conference.

While they’re most likely not going to overcome a 6 game deficit to the Los Angeles Clippers who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, the young core of the Kings gives them a promising future for the first time in a decade.

Let’s talk about the reason for their success: What is it? It is their incredible backcourt duo of second year point guard De’Aaron Fox and third year shooting guard Buddy Hield.

Hield came to Sacramento in February 2017 in the infamous DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans where everyone claimed that the Kings were robbed in the deal.

At first, it looked that way. Cousins and the Pelicans were playing great, and Hield struggled in his sophomore season of 2017-18. But then Cousins tore his achilles and then signed with the Golden State Warriors.

Meanwhile, Hield has been proving the doubters wrong, as he is taken off in his third season, averaging 20.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game with a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 17.59, which is eighth amongst NBA shooting guards. Hield is also shooting close to 47% from the field, and close to 44% from three.

The other key piece to the Kings is point guard De’Aaron Fox, who has blossomed into one of the best point guards in the game in his second season.

As the third point guard taken in the 2017 NBA Draft behind the heavily sought after Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, Fox had a solid rookie season, but not many expected to him to explode like he has in his second year.

Fox’s issue coming out of college was his jump shot, and while he is shooting only 37% from the field this season, his speed and playmaking abilities hide that blemish in his game.

Fox and Hield lead a young core of players like Marvin Bagley III, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Harry Giles. But the veterans have also played a major role for the team this season too, as Nemanja Bjelica is having a career season averaging close to 10 points per game and is shooting 46% from the field.

With this great core of young and veteran players, the Kings will be a playoff team very soon. Many make the argument with this young team that they need another piece or two to become a championship threat, but I believe with the core that the Kings already have, if they can continue to improve, the team could be a favorite by many in the West once the Warriors reign is over.