Kings’ season has arrive down to how many games they can lose

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 8:35 AM

With thirty-three wins, this is the best Kings team in a decade. But this season was supposed to be about more than marginal progress and a spoiler’s role, which is what awaits the Kings in their season finale against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night at Toyota Center.

Kings’ season has arrive down to how many games they can lose

Not all improvement is celebrated.

With thirty-three wins, this is the best Kings team in a decade. But this season was supposed to be about more than marginal progress and a spoiler’s role, which is what awaits the Kings in their season finale against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night at Toyota Center.

Months ago, the Kings believed this game could imply something to them. A playoff berth or seeding might be at stake. Instead, winning Wednesday’s game will damage more than help.

While the Rockets will clinch a playoff berth with a win, the Kings will make better their odds of a better draft choose with a loss. The Kings are in a three-way tie for the league’s eighth-worst record, endangering their first-round choice.

Because the NY Knicks secured the league’s seventh-worst record Tuesday, the Kings could lose their first-round choose depending upon their luck in the draft lottery. Move up a spot or two in the lottery, and Sacramento will be OK. Fall two or three spots – the most a team can drop – and the Kings won’t have a choose in this year’s draft.

So if the Rockets win, the Kings’ front office won't be upset. That’s why DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison didn't create the season-ending two-game trip, ordered to stay residence and “rest.”

Entering the season, the Kings believed they could be a playoff team if they maximized their ability. So how did they finish up with their bosses preferring to look them lose?

A veteran-laden team that was supposed to win never meshed with coach George Karl. Once they were eliminated from the postseason picture, the Kings finally appeared to enjoy playing.

The issues between Karl and the players nearly led to the coach’s firing in February, and this time, financial reasons or a chat with common manager Vlade Divac won’t rescue his work after Wednesday’s game. Multiple league sources have indicated Karl will be fired Thursday. The sources wouldn't go on the record because they're unauthorized to speak on the matter.

In some ways, a dismissal might be a relief to Karl, as communication between the coach and the front office hasn't been ideal. Divac fired one of Karl’s assistants, Vance Walberg, in February, and Divac stopped Karl from suspending Cousins in Nov after a locker room tirade.

Players were frustrated with Karl most of the season, and it showed on the court. They distrusted the coach’s defensive schemes and needed more direction on offense. Players also privately complained that Karl didn’t keep his stars accountable.

The front office wasn’t able to tinker with a roster in desperate necessity of assistance with perimeter defense, a dazzling issue many could've predicted before the season.

The latest communication breakdown came this week when the front office didn't tell Karl his top players weren’t going on the final trip.

Presently the Kings hope they can prevent their top-10 protected draft choose from going to the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls obtained the choose from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who received it from the Kings in the trade that sent forward J. J. Hickson to Sacramento in 2011.

The Kings’ two thousand seventeen first-round choose is also top-10 protected. If the Kings hold this year’s first-round choose and following year’s as well, the Bulls obtain Sacramento’s second-round choice in two thousand-seventeenth. The Kings don't have a second-round choose this year.

In the offseason, the team will attempt to remodel the roster with Cousins, their two-time All-Star, as the centerpiece while finding a coach who can be a bridge between the players and front office.

Cousins is a scarce talent and likely will be named to an All-NBA team again, so the Kings should figure out how to obtain the most out of him. Otherwise, they risk wasting his prime years stuck in the lottery or watching him flourish on another team.

But one game remains, and the players on this ride aren’t interested in tanking.

“We’ve got to play for something, you know what I’m saying?” forward Rudy Homosexual said. “It’s something that even though we’re playing for pride, that’s something else we can play for.”

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