One question continues to loom in SacTown … will this FINALLY be the season the Sacramento Kings snap their 15 season-long PLAYOFF-LESS streak?
The opening stretch of the 2021-22 NBA regular season schedule will be a tough test for the young Kings. The Sacramento Kings 2021-22 NBA regular season schedule begins on October 20th, in Portland, against Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers. (That game ended in a win for the Kings! … Yea, I realize I’m late on the season prediction article, but my old laptop crashed and I finally have a new one!)
The Kings will play their first home game of the season, Friday 10/22, against the 2020-21 NBA Western Conference regular-season champs, Utah Jazz. After their first two games, the schedule does not exactly get any ‘easier’. Sacramento will face playoff-contending teams for at least the first 11 games of the season. The first game where they may actually be FAVORED to win could be on 11/10 on the road, against a re-tooling San Antonio Spurs squad.
15 Years …
The Sacramento Kings finished the 2020-21 NBA season 31-41, 12th in the western conference. That was two games back of the 10th seed San Antonio Spurs for the final NBA Playoff Play-In spot. That marked their 15th straight season missing the playoffs. That ties the LA Clippers for the longest playoff-less streak in NBA history. That Clippers playoff drought spanned from 1977-1991.
Looking back at last season for the Kings, if you take out a couple of LONG losing streaks, a myriad of injuries, some frustrating ‘last two minute reports’ … the Kings may have had a better chance of making the 10 seed, through the newly created NBA Playoff Play-In.
Personally, as a Kings fan since 1997 or so, I DO NOT count a Play-In berth as breaking the playoff-less streak. I have not heard many, or really any, Kings fans who disagree with that streak-busting ‘requirement’. What about you?
This is NOT Gambling Advice … But …
Essentially, there will be no easy games for the Kings to start off the season. That could be good for the gamblers who can catch the Kings as they are hopefully improving and hopefully beating a few teams they are favored to lose against … before the Vegas odds setters catch on.
The latest NBA Playoff odds have the Kings at +380 to make the playoffs … which means if you bet 100$ on the Kings to MAKE the playoffs … and they make the playoffs (not play-in) … you WIN 380$, plus your 100$ original bet.
Did I mention I MAY have placed a wager on the Kings to MAKE the playoffs … when their odds were +450 … it pays to have friends who have brothers who live in Las Vegas.
Elevated Expectations in SacTown
Pretty much every game this season will be important for the Kings. I see there being three ‘levels’ of opponents and hopeful outcomes, for the Kings.
To me, that means … being competitive and not getting blown out by, and maybe even beating a few ‘top’ teams. Next, a chance to win games in the late 4th quarter against teams that are on the Kings level/right above them – think ‘6-10 seed level’ teams in the NBA. Finally, showing they can beat/put away/outplay/not let down against teams ‘below’ them.
One question I like to ask people: Will the Kings be competitive enough to force LeBron to not sit out a regular season game when the Lakers visit the Golden1 Center this season? Maybe … LeBron is secretly hoping the Kings draft Bronny James in a couple of years, which will prompt LeBron ‘King James’ to want to play with his son and bring a championship to Sacramento. In my opinion, that move would CEMENT LeBron as the G.O.A.T.! I digress … and dream.
“Back to Back Like I’m Sacramento 2026-’27 WOAH …”
The Kings schedule features 12 total sets of back-to-back games. 8 of those sets will require the Kings to TRAVEL between games. Hey, NBA … WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? This is not good for viewers, quality of play, and oh yeah … the HEALTH of the players.
The NBA needs to do away with back-to-back games, especially back-to-back games where a team has to travel between games.
A possible solution: a more ‘playoff’ or MLB style back-to-back schedule where you play the same team, in the same arena. Many positives could come from this upgrade. Teams would be able to game plan and adjust back-to-back nights, creating an atmosphere similar to the playoffs. What do you think?
Way Too Early … But Also a Little Late … Win/Loss Predictions
I know, I know … this article is a little bit late. As a FREE-lance journalist, sometimes my paying job takes first priority over releasing articles. And well … needing to buy a new laptop because mine crashed delayed my ability to release timely articles recently! I am now equipped with a new laptop, and ready to give y’all the content you … deserve?
As I write this article, the Kings are fresh off of beating the Portland Trail Blazers on the road to start the season! If I am being honest, my original prediction had the Kings LOSING to the ‘Blazers. Glad I was wrong!
The Kings have a TOUGH schedule to start the season. They are most likely the ‘underdog’ in all of their first 12 games! The first game that the Las Vegas oddsmakers might favor the Kings is 11/10 on the road against the Spurs.
I’ll break this down MONTH by MONTH. Part one will go up until the end of January.
Even though the Kings WON their season opener on 10/20 in Portland against Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers, I originally thought the Kings were going to lose, if I am being honest!
Games against Utah and Golden State at home are the highlight of the Kings October schedule. To end the month the Kings travel to Dallas, which will inevitably stir some talk about the Luka Doncic/Marvin Bagley III draft saga!
Prediction: 8-8 (10-12 overall)
Sacramento plays 16 games during the month of November, including three back-to-back games. The Kings have a big opportunity during the month! A mid-month road trip gives SacTown a chance to win four games in a row against ‘lower’ level opponents. That crucial trip starts 11/10, with the Kings facing San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Detroit, and Minnesota to end the road trip on 11/17.
The Kings will have a tough test to end the month, facing LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers twice in five days, one on the road and one at home.
Prediction: 8-7 (18-19 overall)
Sacramento plays 10 of their 15 games during the month of December at home. Traveling during December, to the east coast, during the holiday season inevitably puts a negative burden on even NBA players. The Kings need to take advantage of this winter scheduling fortune!
The Kings end the month of November and start the month of December with back-to-back ‘Interstate 5’ battles. The first game of the back-to-back at home against the Lakers on 11/30, just to turn around and hit the road to face Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers the very next night!
Prediction: 6-9 (24-28 overall)
The Kings continue the theme of having three back-to-back games, for the third month in a row. I will have to do some digging to see if this is the ‘norm’ across the NBA or just a coincidence …
Sacramento will have a big test in their first back-to-back of the month, on the road against the Lakers and then at home the next night against Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and the Atlanta Hawks. To my knowledge, this will be the first game that Bogi will be back to a potential full capacity crowd at Golden 1 Center in SacTown! Sacramento will face the Lakers for the fourth and final time of the season on 1/12 … interesting scheduling.
Looking Ahead to Part Two:
The NBA All-Star break spans 2/17-2/23, with the All-Star game falling on Saturday 2/20, in Cleveland. Will the Kings have any All-Star weekend participants? I think Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell will make whatever version of the rookie/sophomore game they have nowadays. Maybe Buddy Hield will compete in the three-point competition again, after winning in 2020!
The biggest question about the All-Star break … will the Kings have an actual All-Star? I think that with a lot of help from the MEDIA and Kings voters … De’Aaron Fox could make his first-ever NBA All-Star team! Kings fans … stuff that ballot box, call national sports talk radio, and cross your fingers!
March, April, and Dare I Say May?
I am hopeful the Kings will have MANY meaningful games in the last three months of the season. Will the Kings play in game 83 and beyond for the first time in 15 years? The NBA regular season ends for the Sacramento Kings on April 10th, in Phoenix, on the second night of a back-to-back.
Will the Kings get to the play-in, playoffs, or continue their playoff-less streak? Keep an eye out for PART TWO of my Sacramento Kings win/loss predictions!
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