Some say the NBA season doesn’t truly start until Christmas, but the Sacramento Kings need to make some improvements and changes before the holiday if they want to turn the season around.
While Santa is taking in Christmas lists during the holiday season, now would be a good time to figure what changes need to be made and wish for the best.
Here are the four things which should be at the very top of the Kings’ Christmas list:
1. Clarity on player roles.
Through the first 15 games of the NBA season, the Kings have shuffled the starting lineup a number of times, and the bench rotations have been inconsistent.
Joerger is still trying to figure out the best lineups for success. Over the last two games, Joerger has gone with a smaller starting lineup with Darren Collison, Aaron Afflalo, Matt Barnes, Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins.
The lineup change has helped the Kings win the last two games over the Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder. The bench has also been much improved with the change to the starting lineup.
All players on successful teams have defined roles, and typically minutes, for every game. The Kings will need to find consistent rotations if they want to flip this season around.
2. Squash the rumor mill.
It is just 15 games into the season and the trade rumors have been all over the place for the Kings.
Not only do trade rumors keep coming up about Cousins, which seems to be a yearly occurrence, but Willie Cauley-Stein and Omri Casspi have also been targeting in rumors as well.
Trade rumors only cause distraction. Whether it’s speculation, a leak of information within the organization or faulty reporting, it’s not helping the team.
Perhaps some of the rumors are true, but regardless, the players shouldn’t have to hear about where they may or may not be traded.
3. Wins on the road.
The Kings are going to be on the road during 13 of the next 19 games. Sacramento hasn’t had much success on the road so far.
Through the first seven road games, the Kings are just 2-5. If the team losses road games at that clip during the next 19 games, they may see the season slip away from them quickly.
Sacramento is scoring 100 points and giving up almost 106 points per game to the opposing team on the road. If the Kings want to improve on the road, the defense will need to step up.
They are just a .500 team at home (4-4), which makes winning on the road even more important.
4. Development of first-round picks.
The three first round picks for the Kings in 2016, Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson, have been shipped between the big club and the D-League’s Reno Big Horns a number of times over the last month.
It’s clear the draft picks were not intended to help the team this season, however, the team needs to decide which level the players will have the most success for development.
Some players can develop well with limited playing time in the NBA, but some need ample amount of playing time, which they can get in the D-League.
The three first round picks from this year’s draft will be a part of the Kings’ future along with Bogdan Bogdanovic who is currently playing in Europe.