Wednesday’s victory, by a score of 120–80, gave the Sacramento Kings an automatic berth in the postseason for the 2023 season. That’s right: The National Basketball Association (NBA) has finally put an end to its longest postseason draft, which lasted for a whopping 16 arduous years. Just turn on the beam already.
It took a few extra days, but in the end, the Sacramento Kings defeated the weakened Portland Trail Blazers with a thunderous victory to seize control of their destiny and determine whether or not they will participate in the postseason. As the game was over, people began chanting “ignite the beam.” This is Portland, Oregon.
As the third club in the Western Conference to clinch a spot in the playoffs, the Sacramento Kings have joined the ranks of the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies. To put it mildly, this is not what the informed community anticipated before the start of the season. Before training camp, BetMGM set the over/under bar for Sacramento’s 2022–23 win total at 34.5 games.
The Sacramento Kings hadn’t topped that number in three seasons and had only done it twice since 2005–2006; thus, such low expectations occurred amid an entire fifteen-year stretch of poor performance by the franchise.
The situation wasn’t always like this, though. By the turn of the century, the Sacramento Kings were recognised as one of the league’s perennial powerhouses. They had eight consecutive playoff visits and five straight seasons with 50 or more wins while Rick Adelman was their head coach, including a league-best 61 wins in the 2001–02 season that ended in stunning circumstances.
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Early Sacramento teams, led by players such as Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and Peja Stojakovi, delighted in quick breaks, ball movement, three-point bombs, and highlight-reel finishes; their play exuded excitement while also containing the required substance.
Despite this, things started to change once Webber suffered a knee injury and seasoned rotation players such as Bobby Jackson, Doug Christie, and Vlade Divac were brought in. After two consecutive eliminations in the first round, the Sacramento Kings decided in the summer of 2006 not to extend Adelman’s contract.
This decision kicked off a bleak period during which the team would have 11 different head coaches working under four different lead executives for two different ownership groups. These individuals were juggling the existential crisis of a potential move to Seattle while failing to produce a single season with a winning record or a defensive efficiency finish in the top 15.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic recently quoted All-Star point guard De’Aaron Fox as saying, “What Mike expressed before the season started inspired confidence in us.” Hell, he might even convince you that you are better than you are. Every time we play there, our goal is to come out on top. You are well aware that there is no guarantee of success in every game. Nevertheless, you participate in the competition to win.
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