March 27, 2017, 5:49 pm
Despite the fact that another underwhelming season is slowly coming to an end for the Sacramento Kings, we can’t help but feel a little optimistic as the offseason approaches. Finding optimism where there seemingly is none is far too familiar for Kings fans around this time of year, but this time it feels different; the vibes are genuinely good and it gives fans a reason to believe.
The playoff conversation died a long time ago, no matter how confident the players seemed to be on social media, it was never an attainable goal following the bomb shell that occurred during the All-Star break. The #HereWeBuild can be brought back to life, but thankfully for another reason this time around. Regardless of the fact that many have their eyes on the offseason already, the Kings continue to fight on a nightly basis and they were rewarded with a stunning victory over the Clippers on Sunday.
Anyway, we are here to preview the upcoming week for Sacramento so let’s dive right into it.
Monday, March 27 – vs. Memphis Grizzlies (40-33)
This marks the final meeting between the two teams this season. Coming into this game the Grizzlies have a 2-1 lead in the season series and were fairly dominant in the prior two victories. Sacramento does have one win over Memphis earlier in the season but that seems like an age ago.
Marc Gasol is unlikely to suit up for the Grizzlies so the Kings get a win there but despite the fact one of their best players won’t be playing, it will still be a tough task for the young Kings to knock off a team on its way to yet another playoff berth. Zach Randolph will likely start in place of Gasol and he’s going to be a problem down low for the Kings as they just don’t have to muscle to match up with him. If Sacramento can’t crack the Grizzlies defense, it’s going to be a long night.
Wednesday, March 29 – vs. Utah Jazz (44-29)
If you thought the Grizzlies would be a problem for the Kings then think again. The Jazz are a younger, more consistent team on offense and are just as good defensively. The season series is 2-1 in favor of Utah, and one of those losses came in OT back on March 5.
The Jazz have already clinched a playoff berth this season but they are looking to remain in the top four so they will come out motivated and full of energy. The length of Rudy Gobert is going to be a problem for Sacramento, like it has been in the previous meetings this season. Willie Cauley-Stein will put forth his best efforts to stop the Stifle Tower but Willie’s poor rebounding could really hurt the Kings in this one. Things could be of a similar tone to Monday’s game.
Friday, March 31 – @ New Orleans Pelicans (31-42)
This game will be something else. It will (likely) be the first time the Kings see DeMarcus Cousins post trade but he is dealing with an ankle injury at the moment so his immediate status for this one is up in the air.
If Cousins does suit up he’s going to give it everything he has, and that’s scary to think about. There’s going to be a lot of emotion on both sides of the ball and it’s going to be a must watch for not only Kings fans, but basketball fans in general. Sacramento will not only have Cousins to worry about; they have Anthony Davis to worry about too and that could cause a lot of problems for the young “Thin Towers”.
Saturday, April 1 – @ Minnesota Timberwolves (28-44)
These two teams have met three times this season and once post All-Star break. The Wolves got the better of the Kings in the most recent game but they have lost six straight and are slumping. This is a game the Kings can win and it will likely be their easiest of the week.
They will have to work out a game plan to guard Karl-Anthony Towns who continues to grow as a player each game. Skal Labissiere may be able to work his magic in this one and Willie Cauley-Stein could be a good match up against the Wolves front court. This game also has important lottery implications so the ‘tanking’ crowd will certainly be cheering for a loss in this one.
- ESPN’s Marc Stein released a report which mentioned that the Kings have been granted permission to talk to former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. This report was quickly confirmed by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical who said that Vivek Ranadive has been on the look out for someone to essentially replace Vlade Divac. This move would be great for the Kings after what Hinkie was able to do in Philadelphia. Details are fairly limited at this point but it’s a promising sign for Sacramento.
- Malachi Richardson (hamstring) will miss the remainder of the season after Kings’ medical staff decided to shut him down. He suffered a partial tear in his right hamstring back in February and medical staff believe it’s best to sit him out and go into the offseason healthy.
Rudy Gay (torn left Achilles) – out for the season
Malachi Richardson (partially torn hamstring) – out for the season
Tyreke Evans (rest, knee) – day-to-day
Arron Afflalo (personal) – day-to-day