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Thursday, 19 October 2017 01:30

Sacramento Kings vs. Boston Celtics: 2017-18 NBA Season Preview

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2016-17 Roundup: Boogie Cousins was the face of the Sacramento Kings for years. Ownership was unwilling to give up on a player so talented, despite the fact it never translated into wins or playoff appearances.

The new supermax deals introduced by the league were intended to incentivize players like Cousins to stay in their small markets. Cousins definitely wanted that money and was it explicit in stating he wanted to stay a King.

Then suddenly, Sacramento moved him DURING the all star game last season for an underwhelming deal headlined by Buddy Hield. The Kings are finally headed in a different direction. They finished the 2016-17 season 32-50, good for 12th in the West.

Offseason Grades: A- The Kings are minus several players, including Rudy Gay. None of the players lost are of significance to the team. On the positive side, Sacramento added a great combination of young talented players along with good veterans on short and reasonable contracts. The headliner is De’Aaron Fox, a 6 foot 4, swingman out of Kentucky. Also drafted was high risk, high reward big man Harry Giles from Duke and North Carolina’s Justin Jackson.

The Kings signed point guard George Hill away from the Utah Jazz on a 3 year 57 million dollar deal. Zach Randolph left Memphis to sign a two year 24 million dollar deal. Finally Vince Carter was added on a one year deal for 8 million.

Questions for the upcoming season: The Kings have no shortage of young players with talent like Willie Cauley Stein and Skal Labissiere, but will any of them emerge? Will they at least progress and give the Kings a better idea of who they can build around? Will 2nd year coach Dave Joerger trust the young players and let them develop or will he lose faith and try to win now by leaning on his vets?

How they beat the Celtics: If Zach Randolph still has it, he can punish Boston in the paint with his beautiful post game. Willie Cauley Stein makes a leap this season and his athleticism in the paint is a problem for Boston. Mostly, however, it would take a hot night out of either Hield or Fox to have a chance to beat Boston.

While it’s difficult to know exactly what each of these teams will be given all their new parts, Boston is too talented and versatile for Sacramento, and has its vets in their primes.

Trending: Although the DeMarcus Cousins deal was widely panned, most seem to feel Vlade Divac might actually have the Kings on the right track. They need to hit on some of these young players, but chances are good, given that a few were drafted in the lottery. The Kings signed veterans that can steer their players in the right direction and show them how to be professionals and this bodes well moving forward.

Final Record/Standings Prediction: The West is stacked and that may be an understatement. A team with so many young players in need of playing time will not win many games. This team needs to find a rotation and identity and will struggle to do so this season. The playoff drought extends to 12 years as the Kings fall back a few games and end up with a 29-53 record, but watch the trio of Fox, Stein and Hield make nice progress and excite the fan base on their future.

Samuel Lias

Samuel Lias is a contributor to Boston Celtics coverage on CLNS Radio