Eighty-two games is a long season when Kings’ wins come at a rate of about six a month (The Warriors won about 14 games a month.) Doesn’t it seem like a long time ago when the Kings, because of their spirit-lifting, season-high five-game winning streak, were 20-23? That was Jan. 25, and the playoffs could be talked about as a goal without a hint of irony or sarcasm.
But two days later, despite an eye-popping 56 points from DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings lost in double-overtime to Charlotte, beginning a stretch of eight losses in nine games. The Kings would go 12-25 since they were 20-23 in late January, and well, so much for the playoffs.
This week’s national power rankings seemed to reflect the Kings’ fortunes, or misfortunes. A rise here, a fall there. A lot of water being treaded. You get the sense, with the playoffs starting soon, that non-playoff teams are just cluttering the power rankings landscape.
Almost makes you wonder if the Kings’ fortunes would have unfolded differently if that loss in Charlotte had not happened.
The Bee's Jason Jones ranked the Kings 24th, same as last week.
NBA.com: 21st, up from 22nd. From the site: “(The Kings are) still a long way from being relevant and might not get there until DeMarcus Cousins is their second best player.”
NBC Sports: 22nd, up from 23rd. From the site: “… the Kings said after their win at home Saturday against Oklahoma City … they are finally finding a groove as a team now that the season is almost over. Part of that is this team is just better with Darren Collison running the show not Rajon Rondo.”
ESPN: 23rd, down from 22nd. From the site: “ … fond memories of the Kings' 2002 epic playoff battles with the Lakers in the glory days of what we'll always refer to as ARCO Arena will linger in the memory for a long, long time.”
CBS Sports: 23rd, same as last week. From the site: “They thought this team was good enough (for the playoffs); it was not. George Karl may have coached his last game there, but there are more changes that need to be made.”
SI.com: 25th, same as last week. From the site: “ … Cousins averaged 26 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block, and is one of just seven players to ever do that. He also had 17 technical fouls.”
Yahoo: Unranked, same as last week. Yahoo’s ‘Most Interesting Rankings’ generally recognizes 20 teems a week. There is a top 15, and teams can find their way for a variety of reasons, not all of them good. There is a bottom five and that is self-explanatory. The Kings flew below Yahoo’s MIR for another week, and that’s probably a good thing. From the site: “It was just so damn rough, so needlessly rough, but that’s what you get when you employ the sort of basketball front office that the Lakers have, while retaining Byron Scott to mind Kobe Bryant’s last season.”
Compiled Jeff Caraska