The 2020-21 NBA season is set to tip-off on Dec. 22. To get you ready for the year to come, we're dedicating one day between now and the start of the season to each team in the league.
Today, the Sacramento Kings take the spotlight.
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2019-20 season record
31-41, 12th in the Western Conference
Tyrese Haliburton, No. 12 overall pick in 2020 NBA Draft
Robert Woodard III, No. 40 pick in 2020 NBA Draft
Jahmi'us Ramsey, No. 43 pick in 2020 NBA Draft
Frank Kaminsky, Free agency (Phoenix Suns)
Chimezie Metu, Free agency (San Antonio Spurs)
Glenn Robinson III, Free agency (Philadelphia 76ers)
Hassan Whiteside, Free agency (Portland Trail Blazers)
Kent Bazemore, Free agency (Golden State Warriors)
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Free agency (Atlanta Hawks)
Harry Giles III, Free agency (Portland Trail Blazers)
Justin James, Free agency (Milwaukee Bucks)
Alex Len, Free agency (Toronto Raptors)
Corey Brewer, Free agency
Yogi Ferrell, Free agency (Utah Jazz)
|PG||De'Aaron Fox||Cory Joseph|
|SG||Buddy Hield||Tyrese Haliburton||Jah'mius Ramsey||Kyle Guy|
|SF||Harrison Barnes||Jabari Parker||Glenn Robinson III|
|PF||Marvin Bagley||Nemanja Bjelica||Chimezie Metu|
|C||Hassan Whiteside||Richaun Holmes||Frank Kaminsky|
* Also on roster Justin James, Robert Woodard III, DaQuan Jeffries
3 key storylines
De'Aaron Fox time
De'Aaron Fox is coming off a season that saw him average career highs across the board, but in a league that's rich with backcourt talent, Fox is flowing under the radar once again nationally.
Locally, however, the pressure is getting set to rise as Fox inked a five-year extension reportedly worth $163 million, which will kick in for the 2021-22 season. The pressure of being the franchise player with the price tag attached will be square on Fox's shoulders. When he looks around at the pieces the team has in place around him, he'll notice he'll have to do a lot of heavy lifting on his own.
The Kings own the longest playoff drought in the league at 13 years and with the West once again loaded, it's tough to find a way for the Kings to join the postseason party that will include 10 teams this season (9th and 10th seeds get to play in the play-in tournament).
But if Fox can take another leap forward in his development, it will buy the franchise time as they continue to piece together a team around him. Another big year from Fox might move him from underrated to All-Star status.
Marvin's Room ... for improvement
When you watch Marvin Bagley play, you can see the potential that many scouts saw in him leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft.
There's no doubt Bagley can be an impact player in the league, but so far he's had two things go against him: 1) He's struggled to stay healthy through his first two seasons in the league and 2) Kings fan can flip on League Pass and watch Luka Doncic tear the league apart on a nightly basis and wonder what if.
Let's face it, Bagley probably won't ever become an all-time great like Doncic (and it's still early for that), but that doesn't mean he can't become a great player in his own right. When he's on the floor, Bagley has shown signs that he can be the perfect second option next to De'Aaron Fox. The problem is they've only been able to show it in a small sample because of Bagley's injury issues last season.
A healthy Bagley would be huge for the Kings' development. They can find out how good the duo of Fox and Bagley has the potential to be and focus on adding pieces around them in the 2021 offseason.
Unfortunately for Bagley, the pressure is on him to show signs this year, because he will always be compared to Luka Doncic. And if you've been paying attention, Luka's pretty good.
NBA.com's Kyle Irving wrote that Tyrese Haliburton was the most overlooked draft prospect heading into the 2020 NBA Draft, so when the Kings had the Iowa State product sitting there at No. 12 in the draft, Irving called it a steal of a pick and gave the Kings a draft grade of A.
A combo guard who can shoot but can also help take some of the playmaking pressure off Fox, Haliburton feels like he fits with the Kings. His length and size should make him a plus defender and he's also probably going to be OK with coming off the bench, so that doesn't affect Buddy Hield's role or minutes (which was a problem with the departing Bogdanovic).
It's only preseason but Haliburton has shown poise beyond his years in the couple of games the Kings have played. If Haliburton is as good as he's looked so far, the Kings may have gotten a gift from the draft gods.
5 games to watch
Dec. 26 vs. Suns
If the Kings are going to make the playoffs (or the play-in tournament) they're going to have to beat teams like the Suns to do so. It's also the first of a back-to-back against the very same team. It's the first week of the season, but these are the games that are going to matter, people!
Phoenix went 8-0 in the bubble and is hungry to make the postseason this year. The Kings are in the same boat. Plus, you get CP3 vs. Fox.
Dec. 31 at Houston Rockets
Another two-game series with the same team. We all know the James Harden cloud is hanging over the Rockets right now. If the Kings are going to pull the upset, there's no better time than now.
Houston is also a team the Kings will have to leapfrog to get into the postseason this year. These two games could be helpful in that quest.
Jan. 20 at LA Clippers
There's nothing like an early measuring stick game to find out how good or how far you are from being good. The Clippers may have fumbled a bit in the playoffs last year but rest assured they're still one of the teams to beat in the NBA.
Fox will have his hands full with the potential defensive clamp the Clippers could put down on him and his friends.
Jan. 25 at Memphis Grizzlies
Fox vs. Morant in back-to-back games. Get your League Pass subscription for that.
TBA vs. Atlanta Hawks
We don't get the Bogan Bogdanovic revenge game in the first half of the season, but when we do get it in the second half of the year, that will be must-see TV.
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