NBA coach: Kings have playoff shot after league’s best offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
In the eyes of one rival Western Conference assistant coach, the Kings had the best offseason in the NBA.
It just might be enough to snap the franchise’s historic 16-year playoff drought.
“I think they’ve made enough additions where I think they have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs,” the anonymous coach said on ESPN’s annual survey of NBA coaches, executives and scouts.
Coming off a 30-win season, general manager Monte McNair buckled down and got to work this summer. He shifted coach Alvin Gentry to a front-office role and hired Golden State Warriors top assistant Mike Brown to lead the Kings’ bench.
When Sacramento moved up to the No. 4 spot in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery, McNair took advantage and picked Iowa forward Keegan Murray, who went on to be named MVP of the Las Vegas Summer League. The Kings also added outside shooting by signing Malik Monk in free agency and trading for Kevin Huerter.
The West will be competitive with the Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns expected to vie for the crown, but the Kings only need to beat out five other teams in the conference to be awarded a play-in tournament spot.
Over the last five seasons, the 10th-placed team in the West won an average of 36 games. Last year, the San Antonio Spurs grabbed the No. 10 seed with a 34-48 record — four games ahead of Sacramento.
Now, the Kings would need to get through the play-in tournament to officially get their postseason attendance box checked off, but it would be a start.
Sacramento was one of five teams to receive one single vote in the survey, along with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Washington Wizards. The Boston Celtics owned the league’s top offseason in the eyes of six voters, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers (2) and Utah Jazz (2).
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Elsewhere in the survey, the coaches, executives and scouts voted on which member of the 2022 NBA Draft class will be the best player five years from now.
Murray received just one vote and finished in fourth place behind Paolo Banchero (6) and Chet Holmgren (6), the top two picks of the 2022 NBA Draft. Jaden Ivey of the Detroit Pistons, tied to the Kings in rumors before the draft, received two votes. Jabari Smith Jr., taken ahead of Murray at No. 3 by the Houston Rockets, did not receive a single vote.
The Kings now boast a boatload of young talent around De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis all under 25 years old, and all locked in for at least the next two seasons with Murray (22), Davion Mitchell (23), Huerter (24) and Monk (24).
A playoff berth would be a perfect start for the new core.