Sacramento Kings

Kings (22.8) continue to hover in NBA rankings roundup

Kings center Kosta Koufos (41) hangs from the rim after dunking during an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. The Kings won 96-92, but Koufos warned his team about overlooking their next opponent, the struggling Mavericks. The Kings lost 99-79.
Kings center Kosta Koufos (41) hangs from the rim after dunking during an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Dec. 16, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. The Kings won 96-92, but Koufos warned his team about overlooking their next opponent, the struggling Mavericks. The Kings lost 99-79. The Associated Press

A 2-2 week by the Kings would usually be occasion for satisfaction, but their solid win at Memphis was followed with a certified klunker two days later at Dallas against the Mavericks, who had six wins coming in.

What did that break-even week add up to according to the six power rankings sampled here (The Bee, NBA.com, NBC Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, SI.com)? An average ranking of 22.8, which was down slightly from last week’s 22.2. Three weeks ago, the Kings had an average of 22.5. What will it take for the Kings to escape that Catch-22? A successful week against Portland, Utah and Minnesota would help, but two of those games are on the road, where the Kings are 5-11.

The Bee’s Jason Jones ranked the Kings 21st, same as last week. The Warriors remained No. 1, and the Mavericks (remember them?) continued their stay at 30th.

Toast of the week

SI.com on the Wizards, who rose to 15th from 19th:

“Bradley Beal dropped 41 in a huge win over the Clippers, and the Wizards have won five of six out of nowhere. They’re going to have to start winning on the road, but consider them back in the extremely muddled East playoff picture.”

Roast of the week

NBA.com on the Lakers, who dropped from 21st to 26th:

“Remember when the Lakers were 7-5? They got a much-needed win in Philly on Friday behind a big game from Julius Randle, but are the only team with just one win in December and the only team that ranks in the bottom five in both offensive and defensive efficiency this month.”

And so to the polls:

NBA.com

Ranking: 23rd, down from 22nd. From the site: “They've played 12 of their last 14 games on the road, but are traveling again after Tuesday's game against the Blazers, with their first real homestand since Thanksgiving not coming until January.”

Best: Warriors (Last week first)

Worst: Nets (LW 29)

NBC Sports

Ranking: 22nd, same as last week. From the site: “If the Kings hold on to him past the trade deadline – as most close to the team expect – they can this summer offer Cousins the Designated Player extension, meaning a five-year, $207 million (give or take) deal beyond his current one. If he leaves as a free agent in 2018, he will make roughly $60 million less guaranteed.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Nets (LW 30)

ESPN

Ranking: 25th, up from 26th. From the site: “This team, mind you, needs a lot more than bonus points at this stage to generate some positivity. Unsavory off-court headlines are frankly stacking up a lot faster than the wins these days.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Nets (LW 28)

CBS Sports

Ranking: 24th, down from 22nd. From the site: “Had a nice win against the Grizzlies so of course they felt compelled to get crushed by the Mavericks.”

Best: Rockets (LW 1)

Worst: Nets (LW 28)

SI.com

Ranking: 22nd, down from 20th. From the site: “Cousins really makes himself tough to love, but 2) columnists with aggressive vendettas aren’t entitled to our sympathy.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Nets (LW 30)

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