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Kings dip ever so slightly in latest power rankings roundup

Sacramento Kings make NBA history, host esports at halftime

The Sacramento Kings home court turned into a digital battleground Wednesday as Nairo, top professional NRG ESports Super Smash Bros. player, went head-to-head with a local tournament competitor. (Video and editing by Jessica Hice.)
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The Sacramento Kings home court turned into a digital battleground Wednesday as Nairo, top professional NRG ESports Super Smash Bros. player, went head-to-head with a local tournament competitor. (Video and editing by Jessica Hice.)

As the season winds down, the Kings continue to struggle as they work to see what they have going forward.

They went 1-2 last week. If not for an epic rally Sunday against the Clippers in Los Angeles, it would have been 0-for.

Such is the life of a team entering the lottery for the 11th consecutive season. The focus now is looking at young talent and not necessarily on winning games.

Sacramento took a slight dip in the six power rankings sampled here (The Bee, NBA.com, NBC Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, SI.com), leaving the Kings with an average ranking of 26, down from 25.8 last week.

The Bee’s Jason Jones ranked the Kings 27th, down from 26th. The Golden State Warriors moved up one notch to reclaim the top spot while the Brooklyn Nets continue to bring up the rear.

The Kings have a busy week. The four opponents are teams they’ve beaten this season (Monday vs. Memphis, Wednesday vs. Utah, Friday at New Orleans, Saturday at Minnesota). That third game is the big one, as Sacramento visits its former All-Star big man. Ex-King DeMarcus Cousins welcomes the Kings to the Smoothie King Center as the teams meet for the first time since the trade.

TOAST OF THE WEEK

NBC Sports on the San Antonio Spurs, who rose one spot to No. 2: “Winners of four in a row, and this becomes the third straight season the Spurs have beat all other 29 teams in the NBA at least once in the regular season. No other team in NBA history has done that.”

ROAST OF THE WEEK

CBS Sports on the Detroit Pistons, who dropped 10 spots to No. 21: “Red flags, red flags everywhere. The team seems to have quit on the season. They benched Reggie Jackson for Ish Smith, for crying out loud. They are in broken pieces right now. There’s time to put themselves back together, but it’s going to take all of (Stan Van Gundy’s) horses and all of SVG’s men.”

On to the polls:

NBA.COM

Ranking: 26th, same as last week. From the site: “On Sunday, the Kings played spoiler for the first time since they beat Denver in the first game after the All-Star break, coming back from 18 points down with less than five minutes to go to stun the Clippers. Buddy Hield ... has made at least two 3s in 12 of his 13 games in March.”

Best: Golden State Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Los Angeles Lakers (LW 30)

NBC SPORTS

Ranking: 26th, same as last week. From the site: “Buddy Hield ... (is) showing promise, but needs to spend the summer working on his handles and willingness to drive the lane. He needs to be more than just a spot-up guy for the Kings.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Lakers (LW 30)

ESPN

Ranking: 26th, down from 25th. From the site: “Sacramento finds itself in a scrum of five teams – along with Minnesota, New York, Orlando and Philadelphia – that could finish with anywhere from the league’s fourth-worst record to the eighth-worst in a dose of jockeying that matters as much for the future of the franchises involved as anything we’ll see in the various East and West playoff races.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Lakers (LW 30)

CBS SPORTS

Ranking: 28th, same as last week. From the site: “They’re mostly here at the bottom because the other teams have shown some signs of life. They may lose out the rest of the way, which is fine, but they also need the Sixers to lose out, since they gave up a pick swap in the (Nik) Stauskas deal. Man, you start talking about Kings trades and it’s a spiral of sadness.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Phoenix Suns (LW 24)

SI.COM

Ranking: 23rd, up from 24th. From the site: “Our own Ben Golliver recently rated the ‘Utterly, Disorientingly Hopeless’ Kings as the second-most hopeless team in the NBA.”

Best: Warriors (LW 1)

Worst: Lakers (LW 29)

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