NBA Season Preview 2019-20: Every team’s biggest question

Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images
Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images /

Sacramento Kings: Can they break their 13-year losing streak?

Largely written off in the landscape of the Western Conference after over a decade of their signature brand of dysfunction, the 2018-19 Sacramento Kings were perhaps the most remarkable underdog story in basketball. Though they may not have broken the franchise’s now-13-year streak of consecutive losing seasons, they hung around the Western Conference playoff picture for a remarkably long portion of the season.

The beating heart of their resurgence was second-year guard De’Aaron Fox, who shrugged off an atrocious rookie season to blossom as one of the most effective two-way points guards in basketball and finish as the runner-up for Most Improved Player. Coach Dave Joerger ramped Sacramento’s pace of play up to 11, allowing the speedy Fox and his young co-stars to rampage down the court in transition, catching defenses on their heels — often quite literally. He didn’t do it alone, of course — players like Buddy Hield (acquired in the DeMarcus Cousins trade two years ago), Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic enjoyed career-best seasons and help power the Kings to ninth place in the Western Conference.

Now, the secret’s out. Teams have had a full offseason to prepare for that up-tempo offense, and they’re not going to get caught off-balance anymore. The onus now falls back on Sacramento and new head coach Luke Walton to adjust accordingly.

Based on their offseason, the Kings clearly believe in their young players’ ability to grow. Armed with a fair amount of cap space, they abstained from taking any home run swings, instead opting for supplemental veterans. Trevor Ariza, Cory Joseph, Dewayne Dedmon and Richaun Holmes are all useful role players who should slot in and contribute positively this season. They also retained 27-year-old Harrison Barnes, inking the forward to a four-year, $85 million contract to remain in Sacramento.

It’s time for the Kings to prove they belong. The West is crowded, but they believe they finally have the potential talent to hang around. Can they finally put an end to the losing streak and barge into the Western Conference Playoffs for the first time since 2006?