Even before the season started, many experts projected more wins for the Hawks, Cavaliers, Suns and even the Knicks, than the young Kings side. Counted out from the word go, Sacramento surpassed all expectations throughout the year and consolidated higher benchmarks than what most predicted.
Once in a comfortable spot to make a legit playoffs push after the All-Star break, the Kings fell short of what could have been a major milestone to cap off a resilient regular season. Buddy Hield and his Kings finished with a 39-43 (0.476) win-loss record, just one spot out of the playoff picture.
Sacramento was one of the slowest (if not the slowest) teams in the league just a couple of years ago, but Dave Joerger changed that. Nevertheless, the organisation decided to fire Coach Joerger after the season, whose fast-paced style of basketball got the team to where they are now.
The young core led by Buddy Hield, De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley conjured an impressive team performance on a nightly basis. However, there were some players who failed to show up when this team was making a wild dash for the finish line.
Let's talk about the three individual performances which, unlike their team, could not match up to their expectations.
#1 Iman Shumpert
With 71 playoff games and a championship on his resume, Sacramento needed Shumpert's veteran presence to make a difference down the stretch. In the 42 games he played for this team (40 of which he started), Iman shot an ordinary 38% from the field and a mere 36% from beyond the arc (for someone considered to be an outside shooting threat).
In an average of over 26 minutes of playtime per game, the 28-year-old averaged 8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Popular opinion suggested that he would take advantage of the relatively larger role in Sacramento - than what he got with the LeBron-led Cavs - but the 6-foot-5 shooting guard failed to do so on a consistent basis.
Before the midseason trade deadline, Shumpert was traded to the Rockets as part of a three-team trade involving the Kings, Rockets and Cavaliers.