Early Playoff predictions

Will the Kings make the Playoffs this year?

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As many thought, the West has managed to become even more of a gauntlet heading into next season than it was last season. It's absolutely crazy, but there are so few bad teams in the entire conference. Phoenix is putrid, obviously. Minnesota is going nowhere fast. And OKC is more than likely headed for a big fall down the standings.

But other than that, an argument could be made for every other Western Conference team as a playoff contender. I'd guess that New Orleans is too young and their chemistry is too fresh to make much noise next season, but they're just stacked with kids who are probably going to be really good. Dallas made their play at the trade deadline last season, and we'll see if it pays dividends. Memphis has effectively reloaded. Utah has thrown themselves headlong into the conversation for best in the West. The Clippers and Lakers are clearly gunning for the Finals, and though questions abound regarding the quality of the Lakers' roster beyond Lebron and Davis, they're still likely good enough to make the playoffs.

If De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley take "The Leap" next season and become legitimate All-Star level talents, then the Kings stand a good chance of competing for at least the 8th seed. But it will be difficult under the best of circumstances. The health of all the other contenders will be the key. Who gets injured? Which stars? Which key role players? Who misses just enough time to give a team that might otherwise be on the outside-looking-in a chance?

If this Kings team manages to make the playoffs, it will have been a baptism by fire. It will mean they have a winning record, and it will mean that they earned it, that they truly belong in the conversation.
Agree for the most part, but I don't think Memphis is in the conversation for the playoffs. Who do they have exactly?
I don't see why the Kings don't get an extra 8 or 10 wins. The Kings have 3 players in the starting lineup that can go off for 20 points and they complement each other well. That should make it easy for Barnes to put up near career levels of efficiency. Having a stretch 5 with Dedmon will make the offense flow more smoothly. bogi, beli, giles, holmes and the newcomers off the bench gives you a little bit of everything: shooting, stretch big, inside scoring, defense, playmaking. That's a really solid starting lineup with a really good bench.


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It's surely possible, but the defense must get better - in my example, 2ppg less against or greater will take some concerted effort alone. I think to maintain the same level of offense with a stepped up defense may not be as realistic - but it would be indicative of solid if not exceptional growth. I would be happy with stepped up defense even at the cost of some offense. For players and coaches the statistics dont matter as much compared to the standings, but only one team made the playoffs last year with a 0 pts differential (the Nets) equal pts scored vs against and it was in the East. I think 44/45 wins is an outer-layer threshold for playoffs a the Western team would not have to depend on other teams falling as much. People are not mentioning the Pelicans too much, who could make some noise and challenge right away despite being green.
There is a lot of reason to believe the defense will be considerably better. Not just the typical growth you would expect from Fox, Bagley, and Giles, but all the additions are good defensive players, and experienced defensive players, some with NBA championship experience. I am also very encouraged by the comments I heard from Christie about the Kings' defense coach. He said there is an attention to detail that he likes a lot and he is excited about the prospect of the Kings' defense improving considerably next season.
I've been under the impression that the Morris Twins have been slotted at power forward for most of their careers. I don't think of power forwards as being perimeter defenders the way that Ariza, a career-long small forward, has been. Sure they have to help out closing on shooters and switching pick and rolls, but sitting in a defensive stance across from Kawhi and PG? It seems to me that if you want a player to sacrifice against Kawhi and PG, it's Ariza and not a Morris.
The Celtics ran a very diverse matchup defense. If you were in their rotation you had to cover multiple matchups. We have to see what Ariza the Kings get. He's been able to defend size in the past so we'll see.
Marcus is also good guarding Lebron as he is strong enough.

How the Kings play will be interesting as now the Lakers are jumping in on the Philly style with LeBron playing PG. If it becomes an issue the Kings still don't have enough size on the wing to match that. That's where you have beat them on the other end and the Kings went fit over talent again so playing to their strengths is mandatory. That means Fox, Buddy, Barnes, and Bagley better reach that potential fast. There are some HUGE wing teams in the Pacific now. Man, holding onto Ignas Brazdeikis would have been an even better move now the way things have worked out.
The Morris brother is maybe backing out of his contract with the Spurs for the Knicks.

Helps our case. And the Spurs traded Bertrans because they thought they were getting Morris.
Haha, they pulled a Vlade on them? I don't think Morris necessarily helped the Spurs a ton anyway. Again, the Knicks needed to just hang onto that space. You already have the possibility of Westbrook hitting the trade market. There could be a fire sale at the deadline if there are 2 super teams in each conference and the other teams figure what's the point of being mediocre.
With Westbrook gone that pretty much means the Thunder are out of the playoffs.

So the Lakers are in, Thunder are out. That means the Kings will need to beat out one other team that was in the playoffs last year right?

I think it's going to come down to the Spurs or the Blazers. The Blazers should be weaker due to losing Harkless, Aminu and Turner + the injury to Nurkic but they were 14 games better than us last year so that would be a big fall. They also added Kent Bazemore, who is pretty solid. I don't know what kind of impact Whiteside has these days. The Spurs were 9 games better than us themselves. The sharp shooting Bertans is gone but Dejounte Murray will be back. Rudy Gay is back and was back to being a solid contributor last year. They're going to be tough to pass. It's not going to be easy.
Outside chance we make the 8th spot but all the other teams in the West, with the exception of OKC have all made big jumps. Will our improvements be enough? Perhaps, but there is a lot of playoff experience in the West. Even if we make it, we don’t get far. Wish I could paint a rosier outlook. Still, I will enjoy these youngsters grow up. Solid base built for the future. Let’s hope one of these kids turns into the superstar that we need to get over the hump. While I never jumped off the train....I had a reserved seat in the The last car.
If the Wolves can get Paul for Wiggins than imo they are a serious threat to make it, if they have to give up Convington than probably not. Dallas also has the contracts to move for Paul as well and make a ZingCPic trio
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Now that all major moves are practically done, I’ll my tiers in terms of Playoff probability. [This is assuming good health, if any of these teams suffer major injuries you simply move them down a tier or two depending on which player(s) injured and the duration of the injury.]

Locks for Playoffs (5)

LA Clippers
LA Lakers

Likely Playoff team (2)

Golden State

Fight for 8th seed (4)

San Antonio
New Orleans

Unlikely Playoff team (2)

Oklahoma City

Need a miracle (2)



The only realistic transaction I could see altering any of this would be a CP3 trade to Minny, in which case I would move the Timberwolves into the “Fight for 8th seed” tier.
With Westbrook gone that pretty much means the Thunder are out of the playoffs.

So the Lakers are in, Thunder are out. That means the Kings will need to beat out one other team that was in the playoffs last year right?
Not if we're confident in our drafting in the last 2 years. We will possibly be #1 in 3pt shooting and #1 in pace in '19-'20; if not #1, then very likely near the top. An extra year of experience and relatively good health and I dont see why Kings fans should approach next year with a scarcity mindset.

The 7akers are putting a ton of defensive pressure on their team if they think they can have 250 lb, 36 year old LeBron guard today's NBA point guards. He's expected to be the first to chase on their turnovers and missed shots? Cue Chris Broussard and Shannon Sharpe making excuses on ESPN all season about why the 7akers are underperforming, again.

OKC is gone. Portland, and Golden State are considerably worse. We have a highly talented core of players who fit really well together, and have pretty steep upward trajectory record wise. I don't see a great reason to concede defeat to a western conference in which the balance of power is in flux.
I was really optimistic on the Kings last year and for most of the season they exceeded my expectations, not really sure what happened that last 3 or 4 weeks, may have just ran out of gas or maybe there was a whole lot of behind the scenes drama that sapped their spirit.

I think they have had a decent free agency for a small market team and have improved. However, most of the other teams in the west have also improved with probably only OKC falling off enough to be out of the play-off picture. Yes, Golden State is down, but I doubt they are out, especially if Klay can return by the all-star break. Barring injuries, the Lakers are in.

So, OKC out Lakers in. That leaves possibly the Spurs as the team the Kings might be able to pass for that last playoff spot. I just wouldn’t bet against Pop. The Kings won 39 games last year and the argument could be made they left several wins on the table, but it could also be argued that maybe they won some they shouldn’t have. I think a minimum win total for that last spot is 45, but probably closer to the 48 that qualified for it last year. One has to wonder where those extra 6 to 9 wins for the Kings are going to come from as the west is so tough. Pels and Mavs are both improved and also may battle for that last spot with the Kings and the Spurs. Even the Suns are slightly better and might not be considered a sure win. I would not be surprised to even see the Kings win total for the coming year decline slightly, even though the team has improved overall. The Kings are not going to sneak up on anybody this year.

Much will depend on circumstances outside of the Kings control. Injuries to key players can change the out-look for any of the teams. Chemistry problems for teams integrating new players could impact their seasons. Those things could also happen to the Kings, hopefully not.

I don’t see Fox making another big leap this year, but hopefully continue to incrementally improve. Same for Buddy, hopefully he can maintain his torrid shooting. If Bagley were to make the same kind of leap this year that Fox made last year, then that might be the difference maker. But honestly, I don’t see that happening. He is a good player and will get better, but I am not sure that he is the super-star perennial all-star that some on here project him to be. All in all, the Kings have a nice core, but getting over that play-off hump in the loaded west is a tall task.
I think our starters are going to be fine and they should push the pace like last year.

A lot of new faces coming off the bench and will be watching how they perform together. Are they going to run like the first unit or be more old fashion in bringing the ball up. Who will provide the main scoring punch or will they spread it around.
The one thing I wish to see is a team effort on defense and a coach who is willing to change something up if it’s not working during a game.

What I want to see overall is gritty defensive effort and the killer instinct to put teams away and keep them down.
This team if they are going to succeed needs to come to camp in shape.


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It would surprise me if he's NOT a 20/10 guy.

THIS PAST SEASON, he was averaging 18.5 pts and 9.2 rebounds post all star game.
His rookie season, in less than 28 minutes per game, coming from the bench.
I really hope new coach gives him (and Giles) the love and PT they deserve. No more petty Joerger stubborn crap please.
I really hope new coach gives him (and Giles) the love and PT they deserve. No more petty Joerger stubborn crap please.
I don’t think we are going to have that problem at all this year. Young guys are gonna play no doubt. I’m sure Joerger was let go partly due to being incredibly stubborn to playing the better player, young or not.