The Sacramento Kings have been invited to Disney World for the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA campaign, but the general expectation is that they will be sent home rather early.
Sacramento was considered a Western Conference sleeper by many (including myself), but due to injuries and disappointing performance across the board, the Kings have struggled.
However, Luke Walton’s club was playing significantly better in the weeks leading up to the league shutdown, so perhaps there is some hope for Sacramento.
Here are the three biggest questions for the Kings as they prepare to head to Orlando:
3. Do they have enough depth?
Buddy Hield has become the Kings’ sixth man, but once you get past Hield, Sacramento’s bench is rather thin.
Of course, if Marvin Bagley is able to return healthy (more on that in a second), that will push either Richaun Holmes or Nemanja Bjelica to the pine. But even then, Sacramento’s depth is questionable.
The Kings have veterans Cory Joseph and Kent Bazemore, neither of which inspire a ton of confidence. For what it’s worth, Bazemore is simply not the same player from his peak Atlanta Hawks days a few years back.
Harry Giles is talented, but he is incredibly raw and has only played in 38 games this season. Sacramento did have Trevor Ariza, but the team dealt him to the Portland Trail Blazers.
There will be a whole lot of responsibility on the shoulders of Hield to produce as the Kings’ primary reserve with very limited scoring behind him.
2. Is Marvin Bagley healthy?
The decision to take Bagley over Luka Doncic at No. 2 overall in 2018 is looking worse and worse.
Heck, I was entirely on Bagley’s bandwagon at first. As a matter of fact, I thought he had a shot of being the best player in that draft class.
To be fair, Bagley showed some flashes of his superb offensive ability when he was healthy last season, but he only played in 62 games. This year? Injuries have been even less kind to the Duke product, as he has appeared in just 13 contests.
First, it was a broken thumb. Then, it was a foot injury.
Bagley has not played since Jan. 20, and during the limited time he has been on the floor this season, he hasn’t looked too good. But make no mistake: the Kings will need him if they want to last for an extended period of time at Disney World.
At worst, Bagley is one of Sacramento’s top three scorers. There’s no doubt he has the talent to become the club’s No. 1 option at some point, but he needs to actually stay on the court for that to happen.
Bagley seems to be alright now, but it remains to be seen how effective he will be if he does play.
1. Will youth doom the Kings?
When you start playing truly meaningful games like this, experience matters, and the Kings don’t have much of it.
Whether it’s De’Aaron Fox or Hield or Bagley or Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento is incredibly young. Aside from Harrison Barnes, Joseph and Bazemore, there isn’t a whole lot of veteran leadership on the roster.
It should be noted that the Kings will be battling with other youthful clubs such as the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns out West, but the Pelicans seem to be a step ahead of Sacramento and the Suns aren’t going anywhere, anyway.
In the end, the Kings will probably just be too young and inexperienced to overcome their circumstances.