The NBA’s opening night is upon us, and one of the great things about that is all 30 teams have hope and high expectations for themselves. Every NBA fan base across the nation can say this might be their team’s year. All those hopes and dreams are still in play until a player like Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings goes off and says the casual fan is sleeping on his franchise.
“The casual fan is more focused on the top two or three teams in each conference,” Haliburton said to Bleacher Report. “There was a lot of shake-up towards the end of the year. We lost that game to San Antonio at home that would have really put us in good position to make the play-in game. [Before that game] I got hurt, H.B. [Harrison Barnes] got hurt, [De’Aaron] Fox got COVID. And the year before that, they were in a good spot, and then the season got shut down, and then you get to the bubble, and things go haywire from there.”
If there’s one thing Haliburton isn’t short on, it’s confidence. Now it may be blind, but some players need that chip on their shoulder. A bit of extra motivation like it’s them against the world. In this case, it’s the Kings against the rest of the NBA, including the casual fan.
But I think Tyrese is mistaken in his comment about casual NBA fans. Although it isn’t just the casual fans that are underestimating the Kings, it’s pretty much the entire world that’s slept on the Kings for the past 15 years. The whole organization has pretty much been asleep at the wheel for close to two decades. So, until you give “casuals” outside the Sacramento area a reason to pay attention, then most fans will continue to ignore the team’s existence.
The Kings have accumulated a nice amount of young talent via the draft in the past few years, but young teams don’t usually win much in the NBA. It takes a few years and going through some growing pains to make it even halfway up the mountain for most teams. The OKC Thunder of the early 2010s is the exception, having drafted three future MVP winners (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden) in consecutive years from 2007-09. I’m not so sure the Kings currently have any future MVPs on the roster.
The Kings have depth at the guard position, but that could eventually become an issue where playing time is concerned. Between Fox, Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and 2021 first-round pick Davion Mitchell, somebody may be upset about minutes before the new year rolls around. It’s a great problem to have with their depth in the backcourt, but they can’t all play together. This isn’t college, where you frequently see three-guard lineups. And most of these Kings guards are smaller, aside from Haliburton, who is listed as 6-foot-5.
You’ve got my attention, though, Mr. Haliburton; I’ll be watching and paying attention to see what you and your crew bring to the table this season. The Pacific division is going to be a freaking gauntlet, but we’ll see what Sacramento can do. I see another last-place finish for the Kings, but my name isn’t Miss Cleo, so let’s just wait and see what the future holds.