Sunday Musings: Can Kings defy Las Vegas oddsmakers?
Over/under set at 32.5 games for 2022-23 Kings team
That is the current projected win total for the 2022-23 Sacramento Kings by Las Vegas oddsmakers. 32.5.
For Kings fans, that’s disrespectful. This is a team that won 30 games last season and has put together one of their better off seasons in recent memory. A three game improvement or less, would almost be a step backwards for this franchise.
For some outside of Sacramento, that win total is too high, including Nick Ashooh, a radio personality for You Better, You Bet, who went on a rant this week.
We weren't expecting an EPIC RANT crushing the Sacramento Kings today, but @NickAshooh came through with one while explaining his bet on Under 32.5 Wins.
NBA Western Conference Win Totals, LIVE:
— You Better You Bet (@YouBetterYouBet)
Jul 22, 2022
If you haven’t heard of Ashooh before, that is okay. I haven’t either. In all fairness, it’s unlikely he’s heard of James Ham or The Kings Beat either. What I found interesting is that he had actually looked at the Kings’ offseason and this was still his “hot take” of the day.
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General manager Monte McNair added Mike Brown, a coach with a career .616 win percentage. You probably shouldn’t overlook Brown’s success at the NBA level or the fact that he’s spent the last six seasons on Steve Kerr’s Warriors bench winning three championship rings.
In addition to Brown, McNair added high end shooters in Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk to space the floor. His first round pick Keegan Murray also just won the MVP award at Las Vegas Summer League. Even if you don’t believe in Summer League success, Murray was the best player in the tournament and he was rewarded as such.
Add this to a veteran group that includes De’Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis, Harrison Barnes and Richaun Holmes, as well as an up and coming second-year player in Davion Mitchell and the Kings have a solid rotation.
How good is this group? We won’t know until the season begins in October and maybe not for a few months after that.
What we can predict is that this team is better than the one that fired Luke Walton 17 games into the 2021-22 season, underwent major trades at the deadline, dealt with injuries to its two best players in the final ten games of the year and finished 30-52.
There is a chance that the Kings can be a better team and still finish the 2022-23 season with less than 33 wins. The Western Conference could be stronger than expected. Injuries to key players could wipe out major portions of the season. Chaos and dysfunction could rule the day once again.
All of these things could happen at once. There are always variables that impact the bottom line and the Kings seem to allow these situations to happen more often than your typical franchise.
It should also be noted that in the last 14 seasons, the Kings have eclipsed the 32.5 win mark just twice. A 33 win season under George Karl in 2015-16 and the 39 win season Dave Joerger posted in 2018-19.
We won’t tell you to mortgage your home and hand a large stack of cash over to a cashier at a Vegas casino, but at the same time, there are plenty of reasons to think the Kings can beat the odds makers.
What might be the biggest boost for the Kings’ chances is that there are teams around the league that are focused on Victor Wembanyama and the 2023 NBA Draft, not the 2022-23 playoff chase.
While Western Conference teams like the Spurs, Rockets, Thunder and possibly the Jazz are focused on lottery position, Sacramento is singularly focused on snapping their 16-year streak of futility.
If everything goes wrong, there is a slight chance that the Kings fall into the same category as some of the teams listed above, but leading up to this season, everyone associated with the franchise has made the postseason a priority.
Trading Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield for Sabonis was about pushing the timeline forward. Drafting Murray, one of the most NBA ready prospects in the draft, was intentional. Trading a future first for Huerter and signing Fox’s former college teammate in Monk had a purpose.
The Kings might not be done reshaping their roster, but any move is likely to push forward the agenda and not take a step back.
Everyone in Sacramento has a lot riding on this season. From the coaches to the players to the front office to ownership, there is a motivation that feels new. It may not work and there is a ton of history to overcome, but even the 33 win plateau would be a disappointment for this group.
There are no safe bets when it comes to the Kings, but don’t let the talking heads fool you. 32.5 wins is a low starting point for this team. If they don’t surpass that number, it would be a disastrous season in Sacramento and more changes would be on the horizon.
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