The Sacramento Kings may very well be the most overlooked team in the NBA right now, and it’s hard to understand why, as they are teeming with young talent and are coming off of a season in which they contended for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
But, nevertheless, people are tending to forget about the Kings when they examine the West.
That’s a big mistake, because well Sacramento obviously isn’t a title contender right now, it is a potential up and coming powerhouse that may very well end up making the postseason in the rugged West in 2019-20.
So, here are the three Kings players under the most pressure heading into what should be an exciting season in Sactown.
3. Marvin Bagley III
I absolutely love Marvin Bagley and think he could actually end up being the best player from the 2018 draft class, but before he reaches those heights, he has some things to work on.
It starts on the defensive end, where Bagley struggled a quite a bit during his rookie year. Not that that was surprising, as Bagley wasn’t known for his defensive chops coming out of Duke, but in order to become an elite big man, he’ll at least need to become passable on that end of the floor.
Also, Bagley played in just 62 games this past year due to injury. In order to get the most out of his second season and improve as much as he possibly can, he’ll obviously need to stay healthier.
The 20-year-old is incredibly gifted offensively, so if he can continue expanding on his offensive game and if he can just become adequate defensively, look out.
2. De’Aaron Fox
We know how this works by now: once a player breaks out, expectations are immediately levied upon him.
De’Aaron Fox is one of those guys entering the 2019-20 campaign after a terrific 2018-19 season in which he challenged for the Most Improved Player award.
One area in which Fox needs some serious work is his efficiency, as he posted a true-shooting percentage of just 54.4 percent this past year, which was largely due to the fact that he shot just 72.7 percent from the free-throw line.
Fox has blinding quickness and can get to the basket at will, but he can stand to improve his shooting.
The kid averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 assists per game this past season, so expectations are high for Fox going into next season.
1. Harrison Barnes
For really the first time in his career, Harrison Barnes finds himself tasked with the responsibility of being a veteran leader.
Barnes was a part of two finals teams in Golden State, winning the championship in 2015 and losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games in 2016 after winning 73 games.
Since then, Barnes has played for the Dallas Mavericks and the Kings and has earned himself some pretty good money in the process, but there isn’t much evidence to suggest that he has improved as a player.
Now, after re-signing in Sacramento on an $85 million deal, it’s time for Barnes to start showing out, if he has that in him.
It should be noted that Barnes played pretty well in 28 games with the Kings after coming over in a trade with the Mavericks midway through this past season, averaging 14.3 points per game while making 45.5 percent of his shots and 40.8 percent of his triples, but he needs to demonstrate he can be a go-to guy on a regular basis.