This year's NBA free agency has been nothing short of crazy. Many could say this offseason has been revolutionary, as it marks a new era in the NBA with big name duos all across the league. Some players are in some quite surprising places such as Westbrook going to the Rockets through trade, or Jimmy Butler signing with Miami. But the teams that really headline this offseason have been out west. Joining the winning ways of the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers and the Clippers have been projected to be complete locks to take over next season. But can the Sacramento Kings continue to make forward strides in this new environment?
Can Sacramento Keep Up With The Bigs of California?
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Last season the Sacramento KIngs fell one spot shy of making the playoffs for the first time since 2006 and faced another year of sitting out for the postseason. But the player development they have going looks like one of the league's best. De'Aaron Fox had a great sophomore season with improved numbers all the way down the stat sheet. With just an extra 520 minutes on the court compared to last season, he scored 555 more points, 100 more rebounds, and 270 more assists. With just two years in the league he is really establishing himself as one of the more efficient point guards in the league. Marvin Bagley III had really proved he can bring something special to the team with a promising rookie season averaging nearly 15 points and seven rebounds per game. There is plenty of time for the Kings to build around these two young stars but competition is always trying to improve.
The opposing California teams have been loading up all offseason. The Lakers have been working hard to make a big leap for next season. Making the long awaited trade for Anthony Davis. Adding onto that they made some great signings in Demarcus Cousins, and Danny Green, including the resigning in Rajon Rondo who is definitely going to keep the ball movement on a high level offensively. All these players join Lebron's mission in bringing the Lakers back to greatness as they continue to make these aggressive offseason moves.
The Golden State Warriors have taken a few steps back with the loss of Kevin Durant but they still maintain a serious run as the reigning champs of the western conference with Thompson, Green, and Curry all having a high interest in keeping the winning culture down by the bay. They also add rising all star DeAngelo Russel to their roster so they now wield two elite point guards.
The Clippers had already made themselves heard last year by forcing six games against a fully healthy Warriors team and they only got better in the offseason. This team acquired Paul George through trade who was basically the package deal that came with signing Kawhi. We all know that Kawhi is the reigning finals MVP. And Paul George was in the running for regular season MVP as well as the Defensive Player of The Year award. These two men are arguably the best two-way players in the league and now they team up in LA to play for the Clippers.
As for the rest of the western conference, many teams have gotten better to only the few that have lost a step. The only team with a real chance of missing the playoffs this next season will be the OKC Thunder. That's just sure spot out of the playoffs with so many teams in the race of getting back to the postseason. The Lakers and Mavericks both have a serious chance at making the postseason as well as the Kings.
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For another year, the west is a completely different beast compared to the eastern conference so Sacramento has got to earn it. They trust their draft picks as they haven't picked up any big name player the last few years but it finally seems to be going in the right direction for them. But I see their chances of making the postseason being a long shot. The competition around them only got stronger as they only changed their head coach for the most part. And that coach being Luke Walton. And in my opinion, Walton is only going to make that team worse.
Although I do not see it to be likely of the Kings playing in the postseason this coming year, I do think their two stars will continue to be exciting to watch. They will definitely pull off a few crazy upsets and as long as they keep excelling in the draft I think their future is in good hands.