The Sacramento Kings are playing great basketball at the moment and are dreaming of putting an end to their 16-year NBA playoff drought.
After a disappointing 0-4 start to the season, the Kings have turned things around and have won seven of their last nine. They are eighth in the West with a 7-6 record.
Their last victory came against the Brooklyn Nets, with Sacramento scoring 153 points and won the game by 32.
Kevin Huerter posted 19 points and Domantas Sabonis added 17 for the winners. This was the highest scoring win for the Kings in nearly 30 years.
''It's a great feeling. It's why we are a team. We have had guys contribute on multiple nights off the bench. Sky is the limit when you start to have that happen,'' coach Mike Brown said afterwards.
In the midst of the current longest postseason drought in major North American sports leagues, the Sacramento Kings look capable of making their long-awaited return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Will they do so, though?
The Sacramento Kings are confident they can beat anyone this season
The Kings' current winning streak has helped them enter the playoff zone and has shown the team's potential this season. The team is playing with a lot of confidence, and there is a feeling in the locker room that they can go toe-to-toe with anyone.
"We feel like every game is winnable regardless of who we’re playing. We want to continue to try to play at a high level, continue to try to do the things that we can control," De'Aaron Fox said.
Fox is playing the best basketball of his career and is averaging 24.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game this season.
“If you’re not making shots, you’re not making shots. It’s a hit or miss league. As far as defense and continue to try to pressure people, continue to try to win the rebound battle, we control those. And the outcome, it lays where it may,” Fox added.
Fox's All-Star displays is the reason for the Kings' form. With a quality supporting cast led by Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter, Malik Monk and rookie Keegan Murray, Sacramento has a bright future.
Huerter and Monk have adapted to their roles, adding another dimension to the team's playing style with their ability to score in different ways — catch-and-shoot, driving layups and mid-range jumpers.
Domantas Sabonis is the Kings' co-leader on the floor. Despite his great numbers this season (17.8 ppg, 11 rpg, 6.3 apg), he can play even better if he stays away from foul trouble.
''It's fun. You keep winning and people want to see you play. We got good momentum here right now,'' Huerter said.
With a talented and deep roster this season, the Sacramento Kings have improved their numbers and have been playing great basketball, especially offensively.
They are second in the offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) at 116.5 points and ninth in net rating, at 2.5. Their respective spots last season were 24th and 25th.
They are eighth on pace with 101.8, which means their game hasn't slowed down at all. Last season, they were 9th. They are also second in true shooting with 61.1%.
Sacramento is tied in second with the Denver Nuggets in assist ratio with 19.9. They are fourth in the assist/turnover ratio with 1.92, while they rank 13th in turnover ratio at 14.3, compared to 19th last season.
The aforementioned numbers are proof that the team has improved this season. The Sacramento Kings have a good chance of extending their winning streak to six games as they host the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons next.
After that, they have a three-game road trip, where they face the Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and the Boston Celtics.
This will be a good test for the Kings, who will seek to improve their defense, which lacks consistency right now.
Sacramento has the fourth-worst defense in the league, conceding 117.0 points per game, while the team's defensive rating is the fifth-worst in the NBA (114.0 points).
Overall, the Sacramento Kings are back on track after a poor start and their current form shows they are fully capable of ending their 16-year playoff drought this season.