It is time to throw away the American inferiority complex with its place in the sport, where many blindly claim that technique should come above all in choosing and developing the best prospects and that the U.S. is not an international power because it cares too much about athleticism.
Far-Fetched Friday: Sacramento Kings Become a Top Four Seed Within the Next Two Seasons
By: Jake Lofgren
Being on Twitter during what was an eventful NBA trade deadline is often a reactionary and toxic place. The Sabonis to Sacramento rumors existed for a while, but being traded for Haliburton sent twitter into a spiral. You'll read all sorts of tweets like:
"The Kings got fleeced."
"Pacers won the trade."
"Kings should just move to Seattle."
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday we look at the Sacramento Kings.
I, for one, miss the days when people realized both teams can win a trade. I mean, that is literally why trades happen, right? So both teams improve on their current situation? Can some teams get the better of a deal? Absolutely. Although, at first glance, the Sabonis for Haliburton trade looks like a win-win to me.
Now I know that the Kings gave up more than just Haliburton. They gave up Buddy Hield in the trade, too. But, don't trip; the Kings made up for it by acquiring undoubtedly the best player in the transaction. The league is beginning to be dominated again by extremely skilled big men. The last two MVPs were Giannis and Jokic, while the next one could very likely be Joel Embiid. The Sacramento Kings now have one of the most skilled big men in the league and can structure the entire roster around him. They failed to do it with Demarcus Cousins, but they have another chance. If the Kings do a good job at it, Sabonis has the potential to be an All-NBA player in Sacramento.
Sacramento, over recent years, has loved drafting talented guards. They drafted De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Davion Mitchell. It was well known that one of those guys would be traded eventually. The Kings just shocked everyone by picking to move Haliburton. Although, people forget that you have to give up something to get something. And the Kings got Domantas Sabonis and an expiring contract in Jeremy Lamb to help set them up for trying to be a competitive team.
Fans around the league are upset with the Kings for giving up Haliburton instead of Fox, but I like it. The Kings, for the first time in a long time, have a direction. They have an extremely young and talented duo in Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox. They finally have something to build around.
This Sacramento team still needs a lot of work to be a contender, but the roster they have built is both young and flexible. The Kings have cap space and in a year full of talented restricted free agents, why not be aggressive this summer. The Kings will have to overpay players to come, but, at least, there is something to buy into now with your organization. Harrison Barnes is a solid player still with another year on his contract. Davion Mitchell is on a rookie deal for another three seasons. Richaun Holmes may run into the same issue with Sabonis that Myles Turner did where they can't function together, but if that happens, then Richaun Holmes is a movable piece and could likely get the Kings something pretty decent in return. They also traded for Donte DiVincenzo, who could take a step up in his career with more touches. Besides that, the Kings are full of cheap or expiring contracts and are in control of all of their foreseeable future 1st round draft picks. The flexibility allows the team to either build through the draft or free agency.
Lastly, the Western Conference is officially the inferior conference now. The Eastern Conference from top to bottom is more competitive. The West still has some great teams that are not going anywhere, like the Phoenix Suns, the Golden State Warriors, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. To be a top 4 seed, the Kings have to beat out three of those teams. But that isn't too hard. Every season in the NBA, some teams win more than teams better than them. That is just part of having such a long and strenuous regular season. As for the rest of the conference, I'm not sold on their futures. Utah Jazz are one more bad playoff run away from probably losing Donovan Mitchell, Luka Doncic is showing serious comparisons to James Harden in causing drama down in Dallas, the Lakers are a dumpster fire, the Portland Trail Blazers have no direction, the Spurs are practically rebuilding, the Pelicans could be kind of fun to be fair, and then you have the Thunder and Rockets, who are both a few seasons away.
I don't think it is too wild to think the Kings could put together a very competitive team in the Western Conference over the next two seasons. Do I trust the King's front office to make the right decisions to build that team? Not really, but everything has played into their hands to build something exciting.
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