What is more important for an NBA franchise: the method or the results? Ideally, the answer is method because it provides a reproducible process that will more often than not yield good results. But in a league where the coaching and GM turnover is so high, realistically the results are more important.
San Antonio Spurs (46-34) vs. Sacramento Kings (26-54)
April 9, 2018 | 7:30 pm CDT
Watch: FSSW; Listen: 1200 AM WOAI
Spurs injuries: Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management)
Kings injuries: Zach Randolph (personal); Iman Shumpert (foot); Garrett Temple (ankle)
This rings especially true for Vlade Divac and the Sacramento Kings. The Kings have been able to afford Divac’s ill-conceived method because of the results. His tenure reached a low point when rumors arose questioning his understanding of the CBA. But you know what?
They have great assets
In a Kings preview from earlier this season, I raved about all the high-potential players they have accumulated over the past few years:
“The Kings could be special because they have the perfect blend of youth and talent. De’Aaron Fox (20 years old) and Frank Mason III (23) have shown flashes of brilliance. Bogdan Bogdanovic (25) has smoothly translated his Euro-style to the NBA. Willie Cauley-Stein (25) and Buddy Hield (26) have progressed to solid contributors, too. It also doesn’t hurt that they have veteran leadership in Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, Garrett Temple and George Hill to mold it all together.
I even left out guys like Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles, all of whom have the potential to be average to above-average role players in the not-so-distant future. But if these lower-tier prospects never turn out to be more than that, it just seems like there’s too much talent here to mess this up. The Kings have been the laughingstock of the league for the better part of this century. It’s finally time that they shut this narrative down.”
Not much has changed since then. Fox, Bogandovic, Hield and Jackson are great building blocks for a future contender. While Cauley-Stein has regressed heavily after a strong start to the season, but he certainly has value, whether that’s with the Kings or not. The question is:
Can they put it all together?
Young talent alone often isn’t enough to improve in the wins column. The 2013 Warriors needed Andre Iguodala (and the David Lee injury) to launch them to stratospheric heights. It took a Jimmy Butler trade for the Timberwolves to finally translate talent to wins. What’s that final piece that firmly places Sacramento in that upper echelon?
There are five or six franchise-altering free agents available this off-season, but the odds that any of them opt for the Kings are microscopic. Similarly, there are five or six high-caliber talents in the upcoming draft, but the lottery is, well, a lottery.
The final option is trades. Blake Griffin, Kemba Walker and other stars may be on the market. Sacramento has all sorts of enticing talent, most of which should be readily available for the right price. The Kings are just a year or two and a piece or two away from true contention. Hopefully, Vlade has learned from his mistakes and can draw up a methodology out of all this madness.
Matchup to watch: Dejounte Murray vs De’Aaron Fox. These are two of the fastest guards at the league. They are also both prolific at stealing and turning the ball over. At the very least, this matchup will be chaotic fun.
Vegas line: Spurs by 13.
Game prediction: Spurs by 9.
For the King fans’ perspective, visit Sactown Royalty.
As always Tony must dominate Fisher.
PtR’s Gamethread will be up this evening for those who want to chat through the game. You can also follow along with the action through PtR’s Twitter feed