Sacramento Kings

The Kings’ breakout player will be…

The Kings’s breakout player will be Marvin Bagley. Among rookies last year Bagley finished 5th in points per game, 4th in rebounds per game, and 6th in blocks per game, but only 10th in minutes per game. Dave Joerger was reluctant to unleash his rookie, a common theme of any Joerger-coached team. With Joerger gone, the expectation is that Bagley will enter the starting lineup and see a significant uptick in minutes. On a per-36 basis last season Bagley averaged 21.2 points and 10.8 rebounds. The Kings will give Marvin minutes, and Bagley is going to break out in a big way.

It all goes wrong if…

It all goes wrong if De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield regress. Last season was a huge leap forward for Fox and Hield. The Kings are counting on Fox, Hield and Bagley to be the stars of the team, so everything hinges on last year not being a fluke, but rather a stepping stone to something more. The Kings didn’t chase stars in free agency, instead they spent big on depth and supporting players. If the Kings young stars aren’t actually stars, things get ugly quickly.

What we’ll be saying about the Kings at the end of the season…

What we’ll be saying about Kings at the end of the season is that they’ll be dangerous next year. I’d love to say we’ll be talking about how they finally ended Sacramento’s playoff drought, but the West is so loaded that the Kings could end up falling short again. Whether the Kings sneak into the playoffs this year or fall just short, the Kings will be a popular pick to make a major leap the following year.

Final prediction

Vegas put the Kings over/under at 38.5 wins this season. While there’s some uncertainty with a new coach and several new additions to the roster, it seems crazy to think the Kings will win fewer than last season’s 39 wins. The Kings dramatically improved their depth, and have a reasonable expectation of improvement from their young stars. They could miss the playoffs, but that will be due to the strength of the West, not because the team won less than last season.

Final prediction: 43-39

Greg Wissinger (@gwiss)