The Kings have been the NBA’s most fun team this season.
They’ve drastically exceeded expectations. They play fast, energetic and joyous basketball. They’re young and improving in front of our eyes.
They’ll also miss the playoffs.
Because Sacramento has failed so long, this latest shortcoming fits into a larger framework. With their loss to the Rockets on Saturday clinching it, the Kings will miss the playoffs for the 13th straight year.
That trails only the 15-year drought by the Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers (1977-91) as the longest streak of missing the postseason in NBA history. The Timberwolves (2005-17) also missed the playoffs 13 straight years.
Here are the longest playoff droughts of all-time:
These Kings just weren’t ready, not in the Western Conference. In the East, they’d still be in the thick of the race.
Sacramento’s season should be seen as nothing other than a success. De'Aaron Fox has improved at a historically quick rate. Buddy Hield broke out. Other young players like Marvin Bagley III, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Willie Cauley-Stein provide even more hope for the future. A team with an over/under of 25.5 wins has won 37 games.
But this is what happens with years of dysfunction. Strong gains aren’t enough to escape historic skids.
These young and promising Kings must keep going.
I think they will.