Sacramento Kings make no moves at deadline amid defensive inconsistencies

Feb 9, 2024, 12:32 PM

Marcus Sasser #25 of the Detroit Pistons shoots a three-point shot over Malik Monk #0 of the Sacram...

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 07: Marcus Sasser #25 of the Detroit Pistons shoots a three-point shot over Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on February 07, 2024 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Detroit Pistons came into Golden 1 Center Wednesday night, one day before the NBA trade deadline, with a league-worst 6-43 and tallied 133 on 56 percent from the field.

Detroit managed their highest field-goal percentage of the season without two of their best players, Cade Cunningham and Bojan Bogdanovic, who were inactive.

“I hope that this stings,” Mike Brown said postgame. “Because, the way that we played, there wasn’t anything that I can say was good about it. I am disappointed in the way that we played, and it’s unacceptable.”

Every once in a while, games like this happen. Despite the Pistons’ historically bad season, NBA-caliber players are always capable of big nights — with former number five overall pick Jaden Ivey scoring 19 in the fourth quarter en route to a career-best 37-point performance.

The Sacramento Kings have seven combined losses to the ten teams currently outside of the playoff/play-in picture: Detroit, Charlotte, Washington, Portland, Houston twice, and Golden State twice.

Yet, they’ve also defeated the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves and came out on top over the Oklahoma City Thunder twice.

Those inconsistencies are what make the 2023-24 Kings such a confusing evaluation. Seventh in a tight-knit middle of the Western Conference, their 29-21 record has them on pace for one or two fewer wins than last season’s total of 49.

Given that reality, many were curious to see how Monte McNair, Wes Wilcox, and the rest of their front office would approach the trade deadline. Thursday came and went, and the Sacramento Kings made no moves that will impact their roster for the remainder of the season.

Acquiring, then waiving Robin Lopez from the Milwaukee Bucks, along with cash considerations, was their lone transaction.

After Pascal Siakam, who the Sacramento Kings were rumored to be interested in, was moved to the Indiana Pacers, adding a high-caliber starter seemed unlikely. Most completed deadline trades involved matching salaries and a second-round pick(s).

Simone Fontecchio went from Utah to Detroit for Kevin Knox and a future second-round pick.

The Phoenix Suns managed to add Royce O’Neale and David Roddy for a trio of second-round picks.

Minnesota filled their backup point guard void by trading Shake Milton, Troy Brown Jr, and a second-round pick for Monte Morris.

Nothing from the Sacramento Kings, who could have benefited from bolstering their bench depth.

“I like this group, and I believe in this group,” Brown said at Thursday’s practice, hours after the deadline had concluded. “I really think this group can be special, but it’s going to take all of us, starting with me, more than what we’ve brought to the table so far in order for that to happen.”

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While none of the aforementioned deals were likely to catapult Sacramento into the next tier of the Western Conference, they are in danger of having to make the postseason via the play-in.

Ranking 14th in offensive rating (116.7), after being first last season, is unideal. And the defensive improvement they’ve been seeking only shows its head occasionally, leaving them 18th in defensive rating (116.4).

Now, this is the roster the Sacramento Kings are locked into. That could provide relief and clarity to the coaching staff and players with rumors concluding.

Kevin Huerter denied that feeling. “At least not for me. I don’t know if other guys are feeling it,” he said. “To be honest, I think it’s an exciting time for the NBA. You wake up this morning, and we’re on the West Coast, and there’s already a handful of moves made. It becomes a little bit like a 2k game.”

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While a handful of their direct Western Conference competition made moves in an attempt to improve, there’s no guarantee any transactions work out for the better as those groups intended.

The Sacramento Kings are betting on their continuity and aiming to find consistency this season as they maintain their war chest of assets and future flexibility.

Sacramento Kings stand pat at trade deadline, bank on 2022-23 core

When is the next Sacramento Kings game?

Sacramento will begin a brutal portion of its regular season schedule on Friday night when they face the defending champion Denver Nuggets at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings will face Denver (three times), Oklahoma City, Phoenix, the Los Angeles Clippers, and Minnesota Timberwolves over their next ten games.

Be sure to tune in right here on Sactown Sports 1140 for all of your Kings vs. Nuggets coverage, beginning at 5:30 PM PST on Game Night before a 7:00 PM PST tip-off from downtown Sacramento.

Upcoming Schedule

  • Friday, February 9th – Sacramento Kings vs. Denver Nuggets – 7:00 PM PST
  • Sunday, February 11th – Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder – 12:00 PM PST
  • Tuesday, February 13th – Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns – 7:00 PM PST
  • Wednesday, February 14th – Sacramento Kings @ Denver Nuggets – 6:00 PM PST
  • NBA All-Star break – February 15-21
  • Thursday, February 22nd – Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs – 7:00 PM PST

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