2018 Sacramento Kings Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
Think of all the bad teams in the NBA - the ones that can't seem to get anything working and haven't been able to for years. Every one of those teams has been in the playoffs more recently than the Kings. Sacramento has a league-worst, 12-year streak of playoff futility, and it is all but a lock that it will extend another year. Heck, it's a decent bet it will stretch another five or 10 years given how things are being run. There is not a worse-run franchise in the league, and that's really saying something.
Having a lot of young talent doesn't add up to wins. Phoenix and others have shown that for a long time. And that is the position the Kings find themselves in. They had a productive draft last year and had the second overall pick this year. There are all sorts of young guys around, but now they have to find a way to get them the time they need to develop while providing the leadership to avoid developing bad habits. And they need to hope that chemistry develops at the same time. It's a tall task.
De'Aaron Fox was the team's top pick last year, fifth overall. And he looked like was he is - an immensely-talented young point guard. This league is typically brutal on young point guards, and Fox had his share of struggles. But there was a lot to like, and he should be poised to take a step forward this year. If he struggles or stagnates, though, it will be a real problem for this team now and going forward. Justin Jackson was picked 15th in that draft. He played solidly last year, but he had a strong summer and is another guy who could take a big step forward. He's a 3&D type guy in a league that lusts over such players now, so he's one to watch. And Frank Mason III, the second-round point guard, was strong off the bench last year. The interesting piece in the draft, though, is Harry Giles, the big man from Duke. He was the No. 1 high school player in his class, but a knee injury in his senior year impacted his freshman year significantly. He fell to 20th in the draft as a result and then was held out of his entire rookie year. He's healthy now, but it remains to be seen how productive he can be having only started six games in college and not having played any games in more than a year. His upside is as a Rookie of the Year contender, but nothing is certain.
2018 Sacramento Kings Additions and Departures
The team took Marvin Bagley III with the second overall pick in the draft. It's a pick that will be watched closely not because of this player, but because the Kings left Luka Doncic on the board while making this pick. Doncic could be the best player in the draft, while Bagley has obvious upside but also could develop into a one-dimensional scorer. Bagley was massively hyped out of high school but was often disappointing in college - not that that means too much when it comes to the pros. I wouldn't have made the same pick if forced to, but it isn't an indefensible choice. And it remains to be seen how it turns out.
The Kings made the most Kings of trades this summer, sending Garrett Temple to Memphis for an underwhelming package headlined by Ben McLemore. McLemore was a seventh overall pick by the Kings who didn't really workout before leaving as a free agent for Memphis last season. Temple was about as productive as McLemore, and it's not like shooting guard is a pressing need with Buddy Hield being the team's top scorer and Bogdan Bogdanovic developing nicely as a rookie last year. Why you would assume McLemore will work out now when he didn't before is a mystery, but then so is much of what the Kings do.
In a free agency period that lacked eye-opening moves, the most interesting move was signing Nemanja Bjelica, previously with Minnesota. The versatile guy who can play four positions was the EuroLeague MVP in 2015 but struggled to find his game in three years with the Timberwolves. Bjelica initially struck a deal with Philadelphia but backed out if before signing and said he was going back to Europe. That Sacramento was able to lure him into a three-year deal after that makes it interesting.
2018 Sacramento Kings Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +50000
Western Conference title odds : +30000
Marvin Bagley ROY Odds: +1000
Harry Giles ROY Odds: +2500
Season win total: 26
The Kings were 39-40-3 ATS on the season, so they were as unpleasant to bet on as they were to watch. They went "under" the total 43 times and "over" 38, so there was a small profit to be had in betting the under - though not really enough to get excited about.
2018 Sacramento Kings Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
There is lots of young talent here and plenty of guys with real upside. But can it all come together? I'm skeptical - at least in the short term. They have created developmental logjams at key spots and are putting a lot of responsibility on young guys. There is a good chance that Phoenix will pass them in the divisional standings this year - and that's not something to be proud of. I would lean to the under on the win total, but there is no value here.
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