The Sacramento Kings’ Pursuit to End their Playoff Drought
The Sacramento Kings are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to end a frustrating 16-year playoff drought. With the aim to climb out of the Western Conference basement, the Kings have made some significant additions to their roster. They recently acquired Kevin Huerter from the Atlanta Hawks via a trade and signed Malik Monk to a two-year contract in free agency. These moves are part of the Kings’ strategy to strengthen their backcourt and improve their chances of securing a playoff spot in the upcoming season.
A Promising Backcourt Pair
Malik Monk from the LA Lakers drives against Kevin Huerter of the Atlanta Hawks last season, but the two will be teammates next season with the Sacramento Kings. (Image: Getty)
The Kings’ acquisition of Huerter and Monk is expected to have a substantial impact on the team’s performance. Both players have proven themselves as capable shooting guards who can provide valuable support on the offensive end. Huerter, known as “Red Velvet” for his smooth shooting motion and distinctive red hair, started nearly 79% of the games he played for the Hawks. With a career 3-point shooting percentage of 37.9% and an average of 12.1 points per game last season, he has demonstrated his ability to contribute significantly to his team’s scoring efforts.
Monk, on the other hand, decided to join the Kings despite the Lakers’ interest in retaining him. His decision to seek a more lucrative deal worth $19 million over two seasons demonstrates his confidence in the Kings’ potential. At just 24 years old, Monk has displayed considerable growth and development throughout his career. He showcased his scoring prowess by setting a career-high of 41 points against the Denver Nuggets last season, leaving a lasting impression on the Kings’ management.
Building an Impressive Roster
The Kings’ backcourt additions, Huerter and Monk, will compete for the starting shooting guard position. The player who doesn’t secure the starting role is expected to become the team’s sixth man, providing a valuable scoring punch off the bench. The rest of the starting five is also filled with talented players. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis anchor the team, while Harrison Barnes and rookie Keegan Murray, the fourth overall pick in the recent NBA Draft, complete the lineup.
In addition to Huerter or Monk, the Kings’ second unit will include backup point guard Davion Mitchell and forwards Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu, and Jeremy Lamb. This well-rounded roster offers a good balance of experience and youth, with players who can contribute effectively in various positions.
Playoff Aspirations and Betting Odds
Despite the Kings’ improvements, they are still considered long shots in the championship race. According to the odds at DraftKings, the Kings have +8000 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship. Though the odds may be stacked against them, the Kings are determined to overcome their underdog status and make a strong playoff push.
‘Red Velvet’ Huerter Heading West
The Kings’ acquisition of Kevin Huerter came in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. In exchange for Huerter, the Kings sent Justin Holiday, Moe Harkless, and a lottery-protected 2024 first-round pick to the Hawks. Huerter, who was drafted by the Hawks with the 19th overall pick in 2018, quickly established himself as a key contributor to the team.
Known for his silky-smooth shooting motion and red hair, Huerter earned the nickname “Red Velvet” among fans. Throughout his tenure with the Hawks, he started in nearly 79% of the games he played, showcasing his reliability and consistency. Huerter’s scoring ability, especially from beyond the arc, will be an asset to the Kings as they look to improve their offensive firepower.
A Win-Win Trade
The trade between the Kings and the Hawks proved beneficial for both teams. The Hawks recently acquired Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs, solidifying their backcourt and making Huerter expendable. The Kings, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to add a talented shooter to their roster and seized it. The four-year contract worth $65 million that Huerter signed with the Kings reflects their confidence in his abilities and potential contributions to the team.
Furthermore, the Hawks acquired Justin Holiday, who will join his brother Aaron on the team. Justin played for the Hawks during the 2015-16 season and will reunite with his younger brother to form a dynamic duo on the court. This trade allows both teams to address their specific needs and strengthen their respective lineups.
Cow Town Monk
Malik Monk’s decision to join the Sacramento Kings instead of staying with the Los Angeles Lakers raised some eyebrows. While the Lakers intended to retain Monk for a minimum wage contract, he opted for a more lucrative deal with the Kings. Monk’s decision demonstrates his belief in the Kings’ potential and highlights the appeal of a significant payday.
A Fresh Start in Sacramento
Selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Monk initially struggled to find his footing in the league. However, in his last two seasons with the Hornets, he showed significant improvement, especially when coming off the bench. This development caught the attention of the Lakers, who signed him to a one-year deal.
Monk’s time with the Lakers was marked by standout performances and memorable moments. He put up a career-high 41 points against the Denver Nuggets, establishing himself as a player with tremendous scoring potential. The Kings recognized Monk’s abilities and the impact he could make on their team, leading to their successful recruitment of the talented shooting guard.
The Lakers’ Ponderous Pursuit
Although Monk’s departure may raise some concerns for the Lakers, their ability to attract star talent in the future could mitigate any potential setbacks. Recent rumors linking the Lakers to Kyrie Irving have sparked excitement among fans, resulting in a slight increase in the team’s odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship. However, the Kings’ acquisition of Monk adds depth to their roster and strengthens their position in the highly competitive Western Conference.
In conclusion, the Sacramento Kings’ recent moves to acquire Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk demonstrate their determination to improve and bring an end to their playoff drought. The additions of these talented shooting guards, along with the existing core of players, provide the Kings with a well-rounded roster capable of making a playoff push. While the odds may not be in their favor, the Kings’ commitment to success and the talents of Huerter and Monk position them as a team to watch in the upcoming season. As they embark on their journey, the Kings aim to surprise skeptics and make a lasting impact in the NBA.
1. How long is the Kings’ playoff drought?
The Sacramento Kings have not made the playoffs for the past 16 seasons. However, with their recent roster improvements, they are determined to break this streak and secure a playoff spot.
2. Who will start as shooting guard for the Kings?
Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk will compete for the starting shooting guard position. The training camp and preseason will likely determine which player earns the starting role, while the other will provide valuable scoring off the bench.
3. How do the odds stack up for the Kings in the championship race?
DraftKings currently lists the Kings as long shots with +8000 odds to win the 2023 NBA Championship. While the odds may be against them, the Kings are focused on proving their doubters wrong and making a strong playoff push.
4. What is Kevin Huerter’s shooting specialty?
Kevin Huerter is known for his exceptional shooting from beyond the arc, making him a valuable asset for any team. His ability to space the floor and knock down three-pointers adds a new dimension to the Kings’ offensive strategy.
5. What impact did Malik Monk have with the Lakers last season?
Malik Monk had a breakout season with the Lakers, showcasing his scoring potential and ability to make an impact off the bench. He provided valuable scoring contributions, including a career-high 41-point performance, which made him an attractive target for the Kings.