A historic season that saw Sacramento make the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006 ended at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who defeated the Kings in a Game 7 win at the Golden 1 Center. Warriors guard Stephen Curry finished the night with 50 points, while Kings guard De'Aaron Fox added on 16 while dishing six assists.

“This is probably the first time that the season ended and I'm like, upset,” Fox said, via James Ham of The Kings Beat. “Because of the way it ended and we felt like we could have kept playing, we could have got to the second round and kept our season going, this was the first time I actually felt like the season ending was kinda hard for me.

“You want that sting to last a little bit so you don't want to feel that again.”

Sacramento ended the season with a record of 48-34, good enough to put it at first place in the Pacific division and at third place in the Western Conference. The Kings exploded to 120.7 points per game in the regular season and 113.7 during the playoffs under the first season of head coach Mike Brown. Guard De'Aaron Fox and forward Domantas Sabonis led the team in scoring with 25 and 19.1 points per game during the regular season, respectively.

What will the Kings' most significant need be heading into the offseason? And will they be able to do enough to make another run for the NBA Playoffs?

Strengthen the bench, particularly on defense

These Kings will only be as strong as the last man off the bench.

Sacramento ended the season with the league's most efficient offense, going up to an offensive rating of 118.6. The Kings finished with an effective field goal percentage, or a statistic that accounts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth more than a 2-point field goal, according to Basketball Reference, of 57.2%. The team's bench finished with an offensive rating of 57.8, good enough to put them 0.1 points ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for 11th place in the NBA.

Led by Fox's 25 points per game, Sacramento finished the regular season with six players scoring in double figures. Forward Keegan Murray, the No. 4 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and a former standout from Iowa, completed the year with 12.2 points per contest on a 45.3% shooting percentage and a 41.1% clip from the 3-point line.

“If you go and dive into the analytics, we've always been taking the right shots,” Brown said in February, via The Athletic. “Our turnover margin is not drastically different. We have the ability to make shots at a high level from the 3-point line. It's kind of worked out offensively the way we've talked about the whole time.”

The Kings will have to elevate their defense if they want to compete with the best of them in the NBA Playoffs.

“Right now, our strength is on the offensive side of the ball, as fast as Fox is and Domas' ability to take the ball off the glass and go coast-to-coast and make the right play,” said Brown, via The Athletic. “As challenging as it may be for me individually to see where we are defensively, I know it's the right thing to continue to emphasize what we do best.”

Though their offense was enough to push them to a 2.6 net rating, the Kings' 116 defensive rating was enough to tie with the Utah Jazz and put them in 24th place in the league. They took spots behind the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

Their bench finished with a defensive rating of 57.1, putting them within range of the Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies while taking the 18th spot in the league.

Sacramento will need wing and big defenders off the bench to shore things up on defense while still providing the scoring punch off the bench that helped guide the Kings to the postseason. The Kings will have plenty of options to look out for on the trade market, but will also have to look to free agency to add some solid defenders off the bench. Sacramento will have both the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level and Bi-Annual exceptions to work with in the offseason, and their total salaries add up to just under $109 million.

Though the Kings have shown signs of growth and completed a hopeful 2023 campaign, there's plenty of work for their front office to do in the offseason if they want to advance further in the NBA Playoffs.

One can only hope the team will come back stronger next season.