The Sacramento Kings were on the struggle bus in previous weeks, falling as low as 17th in NBA Power Rankings, but had a fantastic 7-game road trip to help turn it around. The Kings went 5-2 on the road trip and are sitting on a 29-20 record, good enough for 5th in the West and 2nd in the Pacific Division.
In the most recent NBA.com Power Rankings, the Kings jumped up to the 11th spot, an improvement from 13th last week. For reference, here is a list of the teams ranked above the Kings:
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Boston Celtics
- Denver Nuggets
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- New York Knicks
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Phoenix Suns
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Sacramento Kings
The Kings are 6-2 in their last 8 games, with their only losses coming from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat. The 136-110 Cavaliers loss was at the end of their road trip against a strong team, but a 26-point loss will never look good on paper.
Lots of the Kings’ recent success comes from C Domantas Sabonis, who has recorded 15 triple-doubles this season, including one against the Cavs Monday night in just 20 minutes. 14 of his triple-doubles have come since the start of December. He and Denver Nuggets C Nikola Jokic are the only two players with 15 triple-doubles this season. Sabonis has also recorded 32 consecutive double-doubles.
G De’Aaron Fox and G Malik Monk had big weeks as well. While both guards went through a slightly rough patch recently, they went off for big performances this past week. Fox went off for 41 points against the Chicago Bulls, while also having 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 5 steals. Monk also had back-to-back 20+ point games off the bench – with 23 against the Indiana Pacers and 22 against the Bulls. Monk also had 18 against the Cavs on Monday.
The Kings are returning to usual form, and with F Harrison Barnes and G Kevin Huerter trending up since being placed on the trade block, it’s anyone’s call on whether or not GM Monte McNair makes a trade before the February 8 trade deadline.
The Kings’ outlook for the next week sees games against the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Getting through that 3-game stretch with a positive record would likely bump Sacramento back into the top 10, where they belong.