1985/86: Playing in the 10,333-seat Sacramento Sports Arena, which would be renamed ARCO Arena, the Kings played in front of sold-out crowds every night. In their first season in California’s Capital City, the Kings would post a 37-45 record while finishing in fifth place in the Midwestern Division. Despite their poor record, the Kings would sneak into the playoffs. However, it would be a quick exit as they are swept in three straight by the Houston Rockets.
1986/87: In their second season in Sacramento, the Kings would stumble out of the gate, losing 20 of their first 28 games. The Kings would continue to struggle into the New Year when Coach Phil Johnson is fired with Kings lingering in last place with a record of 14-32. Under Johnson’s replacement Jerry Reynolds the Kings would play slightly better escaping last place by one game but missing the playoffs with a record of 29-53.
1987/88: Hoping greatness would inspire the Kings, the team names NBA legend Bill Russell as their new coach with fellow Hall of Famer Willis Reed serving as one of his assistants. The experiment would not even last the entire season as Reed left to be the head coach of the New Jersey Nets on February 28th, a week later Russell would be fired with Kings holding a horrible record of 17-41. Jack Reynolds would coach the team the remainder of the season as the Kings finished in last place with a 24-58 record. Despite the struggles, the fans of Sacramento would sell out every single home game.
1988/89: The Kings would move into a larger castle, as a brand new arena, also named ARCO Arena would open with a capacity of 16,517. However, the Kings would still struggle to post a 27-55 record as they finished in sixth place in their first season in the Pacific Division. It would also be a year of transition for the Kings roster as several changes were made before and during the season. The Kings would trade Reggie Theus to the Atlanta Hawks for Randy Wittman, picked up guards Ricky Berry and Vinny Del Negro in the draft while trading Otis Thorpe to the Houston Rockets for Rodney McCray and Jim Petersen. In February, the Kings dealt Wittman and LaSalle Thompson to the Indiana Pacers for Wayman Tisdale and a draft choice, then sent Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney to the Boston Celtics for Danny Ainge and Brad Lohaus. Despite the struggles and the trades, the Kings would still sell out every single game. Following the season, the Kings would win draft lottery selecting 6’10” center Pervis Ellison of Louisville.
1989/90: Before the start of the season, the Kings would be hit with tragedy as guard Ricky Berry, who had just completed a solid rookie season with 11.0 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, committed suicide. The reeling Kings continued to tinker with their roster, as Antoine Carr, Ralph Sampson, and Greg Kite appeared on the scene. In addition, the Kings would change coaches firing Jerry Reynolds and bringing in Dick Motta. However, nothing seemed to work as the Kings finished in last place with a woeful 23-59 record.
1990/91: The Kings would become the first team in NBA history to wield four first-round draft choices, selecting forward Lionel Simmons, guard Travis Mays, center Duane Causwell, and forward Anthony Bonner. However, the struggles would continue as the Kings finished in last place with a 25-57 record, losing a record 37 straight games on the road. However, at home, the fans remained loyal, selling out every single game again.
1991/92: The Kings continued to tinker with their roster in every way trading top draft pick Bill Owens to the Golden State Warriors for Mitch Richmond, while acquiring Spud Webb, and trading away or releasing Travis Mays, Antoine Carr, and Ralph Sampson. However, the struggles would continue as the Kings losing streak climbed to 43 before beating the Magic in Orlando on November 23rd. The Kings would change coaches again, firing Dick Motta in the middle of the season. However, under his replacement Rex Hughes the Kings, would still finish in last place with a 29-53 record.
1992/93: Under new Coach Gary St. Jean, the Kings would continue to struggle, as they were plagued with injuries losing all five opening day starters for extended stretches during the season, as they finished in last place again with a horrible 25-57 record. It would be the seventh straight season in which the Kings failed to win at least 30 games.
1993/94: With top draft pick Bobby Hurley the all-time college assist leader at Duke, the Kings had a renewed optimism entering the season. However, 19 games into the season, the optimism would be wiped out, as Hurley was involved in a life-threatening automobile accident. His injuries included a fractured back, multiple rib fractures, a fractured shoulder, a torn trachea, and torn knee ligaments. The Kings would go on to finish in sixth place with a terrible 28-54 record. However, Mitch Richmond would provide Kings Fans with something to cheer about by becoming the first Kings in 19 years to start the All-Star Game while averaging 23.4 ppg.
1994/95: Bobby Hurley would return to play, but it was clear he would never be the same player they drafted as he struggled all season. However, with the arrival of rookies Brian Grant and Michael Smith, the Kings had an improved defense, which held opponents at 99.2 ppg (8th best in the NBA). On the offensive side, the Kings were led by Mitch Richmond, who scored 22.8 ppg while winning the All-Star Game MVP, as the Kings battled all season for the eighth and final playoff spot. Ending their string of eight straight seasons with less than 30 wins, the Kings faced the Denver Nuggets on the last day of the season for the final playoff spot. However, the Nuggets would win, and the Kings would go home with a 39-43 record.
1995/96: The Kings would finally end their nine-year playoff drought by winning 14 of their last 24 games to rally and capture the eighth and final playoff spot with a record of 39-43. In the playoffs, the Kings split the first two games with Supersonics in Seattle, earning their first postseason win in 15 years. However, when the series shifted to ARCO Arena, the Kings would leave their loyal fans disappointed, dropping both games at home to exit the playoffs in 4 games.
1996/97: Coming off their first playoff appearance in ten years, the expectation in Sacramento were high. However, injuries, and a tough early-season schedule, would clobber the Kings as they won just eight of their first 25 games. The Kings would rebound to get back in playoff contention with a 28-32 record. However, the wheels would fall off as Kings went on a seven-game losing streak costing Coach Gary St. Jean his job. Under his replacement Eddie Jordan the Kings would finish with a 34-48 record missing the playoffs by just two games.
1997/98: The Kings decided a renewed devotion to youth with the quartet of talented rookies. Michael Stewart, Anthony Johnson, Tariq Abdul-Wahad, and Lawrence Funderburke, as Mitch Richmond continued to play at an All-Star level averaging 23.2 ppg. However, the Kings would still struggle to post a record of 27-55.
1998/99: The NBA seasons would be cut in half by a 4-month lockout. When the season did start in February, the Kings had undergone a dramatic change as Mitch Richmond was traded to the Washington Wizards for Chris Webber. In addition, the Kings signed Vlade Divac and drafted Jason Williams, to have one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. Williams, who earned the nickname “White Chocolate,” would be a regular on Sportscenter with his superior playmaking skill as Chris Webber brought the loyal fans of Sacramento to their feet with his monster jams. The Kings would go on to post their first winning record in 16 years with a record of 27-23, under new Coach Rick Adelman. In the playoffs, the Kings would throw a scare into the Utah Jazz sending the decisive fifth game to overtime where they final fell 99-92.
1999/00: Coming off a winning record in a strike-shortened season much was expected of the Kings, who would not disappoint continuing to play an exciting brand of basketball while posting a 44-38 record which was good enough for the 8th playoff spot. In the playoffs, the Kings would give fans at ARCO Arena something to cheer about as they rallied from a 0-2 defect to force a fifth and deciding game with the Los Angels Lakers by winning both home playoff games. However, the Lakers would easily win Game 5 at home and go on to win the NBA Championship.
2000/01: After two straight playoff seasons, the Kings would make it into the NBA’s elite status by challenging for the Pacific Division all season, falling just one game short with a solid 55-27 record, along the way the Kings set an NBA record with 89 wins in overtime. In the playoffs, the Kings would get their first taste of success as they won their first playoff series in 20 years by beating the Phoenix Suns in four games. However, the Kings were not ready for primetime as they were swept in four straight games by the Los Angeles Lakers.
2001/02: Entering the season, the Kings would have a changing of the guard as they traded Jason Williams to the Memphis Grizzlies for Mike Bibby. Though less flashy Bibby was a much better pure point guard, as he helped the Kings finish in the league’s top five in several categories, including defensive rebounding (first), scoring (second), rebounding (second), steals (third), field goal percentage (second), and assists (fourth), as the Kings finished with the best record in the NBA while posting a franchise-best 61-21 record. In the playoffs, the Kings would shake off early struggles to beat the Utah Jazz in four games. Moving on to the second round, the Kings would start to get hot as they easily defeated the Dallas Mavericks in five games to set up a much-anticipated matchup with Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference Finals. In what was widely considered the real NBA Finals the Kings and Lakers met in one of the best playoff series in NBA history. After splitting the first two games at ARCO Arena, the Kings seized control of the series with a 103-90 win in Game 3. With a chance to go up three games to one, the Kings led the Lakers by two points in the final seconds of Game 4 as Kobe Bryant missed a shot with time winding down. However, the rebound would bounce to Robert Horry, who nailed a three-point shot as the time expired to even the series at 2 for the Lakers. In Game 5, the Kings would give the Lakers a taste of their own medicine as Mike Bibby gave the Kings a 92-91 win, with 8.2 seconds left. Looking to close out the Lakers in Game 6, the Kings would be pushed to a seventh game in a controversial foul-filled game in which the Lakers had 40 free throws, winning 106-102. Years later, disgraced referee Tim Donaghy alleged the NBA instructed officials to extend the series to seven games, thus leading them to call more fouls in favor of the Lakers. In Game 7, back in Sacramento, the game would go back and forth much like the series itself with 16 ties and 19 lead changes, going into overtime tied at 100. However, the Kings would run out of gas in overtime as the Lakers scored the final nine points to pull out a 112-106 win.
2002/03: Coming off their loss in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, most expected the Kings to be one of the top contenders in the NBA again. Early in the season, the Kings Roster depth was put to the test early as several players were on the injured list, including Mike Bibby. However, in Bibby’s absence, Bobby Jackson more than filled the void establishing himself as one of the best backups early in the season on the way to winning the NBA 6th Man Award, as the Kings jumped out to a solid 18-5 season. Throughout the entire season, the Kings’ depth was put to the test as nearly every player missed several games during the season. However, the Kings would overcome adversity and would easily win the Pacific Division with a terrific 59-23 record. In the playoffs, the Kings would cruise in the first round eliminating the Utah Jazz in five games, as the first round became the best of seven series for the first time. In the second round, the Kings got off to a strong start beating the Dallas Mavericks on the road 124-113 in Game 1. However, in a 132-110 loss in Game 2, the Kings’ depth would be put to the test again as Chris Webber suffered a season-ending knee injury. Despite the loss of Webber, the Kings were able to fight their way to a seventh game. However, in the end, the loss of Webber would be too much to overcome as the Kings lost to the Mavs on the road in Game 7 by a score of 112-99.
2003/04: Despite Chris Webber being sidelined after knee surgery most of the season, the Kings jumped out thanks to the MVP type numbers put up by Peja Stojakovic. In December, as the Los Angeles Lakers struggled, the Kings took advantage, taking control of the Pacific Division-leading by as many as seven games. After the All-Star Break, the Kings began to struggling losing Bobby Jackson to an injury an abdominal injury. Webber would return in March, but instead of helping the Kings, it seemed to hurt the Kings as it messed up the team’s chemistry, as the Kings played mediocre 12-12 basketball over the final six weeks losing the division title to the Lakers on the last day of the season while posting a record of 55-27. In the playoffs the struggling Kings faced the Dallas Mavericks who knocked them out of the playoffs a year earlier, with the first two games at home the Kings jumped out to a 2-0 series, lead after dropping Game 3 the Kings rebounded with a thrilling 94-92 win in Game 4 to take a stranglehold on the series on the way to taking the series in five games. In the second round, the Kings were matched up against the Minnesota Timberwolves, where they would draw first blood winning Game 1 on the road 104-98 led by 33 points from Mike Bibby. After dropping Game 2, the series shifted back to Sacramento, where they would lose a heartbreaker in overtime 114-113. The teams would alternate wins over the next three games as the series went the full seven games where the Kings season ended in heartbreak again with an 83-80 loss as the Kings could not contain Kevin Garnett, who had an MVP performance with 32 points and 21 rebounds.
2004/05: The Kings would begin the season by going through Texas and losing their first three games as they started the season against three top teams on the road. The Kings would rebound right away, winning 13 of their next 15. However, they would never get to see first place as they were unable to catch up to the Phoenix Suns, who came flying out of the gate. In February, the Kings began to struggle as they were in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference Playoff Chase, forcing the team into a tough decision as they decided to trade Chris Webber to the Philadelphia 76ers with the hopes of getting a better defense for the playoffs. In return, the Kings would receive Corliss Williams, Kenny Thomas, and Brian Skinner. The deal would not work out as plan as the Kings would not improve down the stretch posting a 14-11 record over the final two months, as they ended up with the sixth seed in the NBA Playoffs while finishing in second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 50-32. In the playoffs where it matters most the Kings would not be a strong as they hoped as they were knocked off by the Seattle Supersonics easily in five games.
2005/06: The Kings stumbled out of the gate as they won just one of their first five games, starting from an embarrassing 93-67 loss to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on opening night. In December, the Kings’ struggles continued as they dropped to 10-17 following a five-game losing streak. Struggling at 17-24 and out of the playoff picture on January 24th, the Kings looked to shake things up by trading Peja Stojakovic to the Indiana Pacers for the controversial Ron Artest. Though a player that would improve the Kings’ porous defense, Artest came to Sacramento with plenty of baggage following a riot in 2004 that led to nearly a year-long suspension and a public feud with the Pacers that ended with him being sent home while they worked out a deal. The Kings continued to play mediocre basketball as they adjusted to their new addition entering the All-Star Break with a record of 24-29. When the break was over the Kings suddenly turned things around as they won 9 of 12 to get back into playoff contention and back to .500, setting up a strong finish that saw them post a 7-1 record in April that enabled the Kings to slip into the playoffs with a record of 44-38. In the playoffs, the Kings would face the defending champion San Antonio Spurs. Not surprisingly, the Kings fell behind early, losing the first two games in San Antonio. However, as the series shifted to ARCO Arena, the Kings got renewed energy from the sixth man as they edged the Spurs 94-93 in Game 3 then blew out the Spurs 102-84 in Game 4. After losing in Game 5 on the road, the Kings were not able to find the same home-court magic in Game 6 as they were eliminated with a 105-83 loss. Following the season, an era came to an end as Rick Adelman, who led the Kings to a playoff appearance in all eight seasons at the helm, was replaced by Eric Musselman.
2006/07: Trouble started for the Kings early as Coach Eric Musselman was arrested for a DUI, while Ron Artest was cited for neglecting his dogs. Despite the problems, the Kings got off to a solid start posting an 8-5 record at the end of November. However, with the arrival of December, the Kings began to struggle, losing five straight as they slipped under .500. In January, the Kings fell further landing in last place as they lost seven in a row. After a mediocre February, the Kings’ problems got worse in March as Ron Artest was arrested for domestic assault. While the Kings investigated the charge, Artest was suspended for nearly a week as the Kings continued to struggle, finishing with a terrible record of 33-49, ending an eight-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances. The only bring sport was the play of Kevin Martin, who had a breakout season with 20.2 ppg while averaging 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists, as he finished second in Most Improved Player voting. Following the season, the Kings would fire Coach Eric Musselman after just one season at the helm, replacing him with former Kings star Reggie Theus.
2007/08: When Reggie Theus played for the Kings, they barely mattered in the NBA as they were just starting in their new home in Sacramento. Unfortunately, when he returned to coach the Kings, they were again in the early stages of rebuilding and still did not matter in the NBA. Beginning with a 5-10 start, the Kings were never in the playoff picture, as they ended up finishing in fourth place with a record of 38-44. Along the way, the Kings continued to remake their roster trading Point Guard Mike Bibby Bibby to the Atlanta Hawks for Tyronn Lue, Anthony Johnson, Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright, and a second-round draft pick. Providing a bright spot for Kings fans was Kevin Martin, who led the team with 23.7 ppg. Following the season, the Kings continued to make changes trading Ron Artest and the draft rights to Patrick Ewing Jr. and Sean Singletary to the Houston Rockets for one time Kings star Bobby Jackson, Donté Greene, a future first-round draft pick, and cash considerations.
2008/09: The Kings experienced more change just before the season began as Sharif Abdur-Rahim due to a persistent knee injury. When the season started, the Kings’ struggles continued as they got off to a 6-18 start, which led to the firing of Coach Reggie Theus. The Kings would win their first game under new coach Kenny Natt, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves at home 118-103 on December 15th. However, they would drop their next six games, before beating the Los Angeles Clippers on New Year’s Eve, as they started 2009 with a miserable 8-24 record. Things would not get better as they won just three of their next 28 games and found themselves hopelessly in last place, as attendance at the ARCO Arena continue a rapid decline as whispers of the Kings moving to Las Vegas continued, as the Maloof Brother began pressing Sacramento for a new arena. Wins would continue to be rare the remainder of the season, as the Kings posted the worst record in the NBA at 17-65, which also was their worst record in franchise history, including their years in Rochester, Cincinnati and Kansas City. Despite their awful season, the Kings’ bad luck continued in the draft lottery as they ended up getting the fourth overall pick, which is the lowest a team with the worst record could get under the NBA Draft Lottery rules. With that fourth pick, the Kings would select Memphis point guard Tyreke Evans.
2009/10: After posting the worst record in the NBA, the Kings named Paul Westphal as their new coach. Hoping to improve, the Kings got off to a rough start, losing their first three games on the road. However, when they played their first game at home, the result was much better as they beat the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime 127-116, with Kevin Martin scoring 48 points. It would be the start of string where the Kings won five of six games. The Kings would trade a four-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak as they held a 9-8 record on December 2nd. However, they again lost four in a row as they dropped below .500, where they would stay the rest of the season. After entering the New Year with a 14-17 record, the bottom fell out for the Kings season, as they posted a horrible 2-13 record during January. The struggles continued in February as the Kings dropped four straight to begin the month. Wins would be scarce throughout the second half of the season as the Kings again finished last in the Pacific Division with a record of 25-57. Despite the struggles of the team, Tyreke Evans had a tremendous rookie season, becoming just the fourth rookie in NBA history behind legends Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James to average 20-5-5. Evans would win become the first Kings player to win Rookie of the Year with 20.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 5.8 apg.
2010/11: After Tyreke Evans’s terrific rookie year, the Kings hoped to continue to make strides, as DeMarcus Cousins was chosen with the number five overall pick in the NBA Draft. After winning two of their first three games on the road, the Kings had a successful home opener, beating the Toronto Raptors 111-108 as Tyreke Evans scored 23 points, while Samuel Dalembert had 14 rebounds. However, they would win just one of their next 15 games, as they went into the New Year with a terrible record of 6-23. The Kings’ struggles would continue in January, though they did have a few bright spots as they won road games against the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, as DeMarcus Cousins began to play better after early-season struggles. In February, things would get real bleak in Sacramento as rumors surfaced that the Kings were in talks with Anaheim to relocate to Southern California. The Maloofs even trademarked the name Anaheim Royals, as the Kings ended February assured of a losing record at 15-43. The Kings would go on to finish the season with an awful record of 24-58, finishing last in the Pacific Division. As the season wrapped up with a 116-108 loss to the Lakers at Power Balance Pavilion, most thought the Kings were on their way out of town, as longtime announces Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds tearfully signed off and said goodbye. Just before the owner’s meeting where it was expected the move would be formally announced, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns, in a surprise announcement, during a presentation to the league that Ron Burkle, a billionaire associate of former President Bill Clinton wanted to buy the Kings and keep them in Sacramento. Johnson also pledged some $10 million from local businesses as a show of support from Sacramento. With this deal, the Kings remained in Sacramento for the 2011/12 season, knowing if a deal could not be worked out for a new arena, they would be leaving following the season.
2011/12: After a lockout delayed the start of the season until Christmas, the future of the Kings in Sacramento became the focus, as Joe and Gavin Maloof were actively seeking new cities to bring the franchise to, as California’s Capital city continued to work on a deal for a new arena. When the season finally started on December 26th, the Kings started with a win, as they upset the Los Angeles Lakers 100-91. However, the Kings won just five of their next six games, as Coach Paul Westphal was fired on January 5th. Westphal would be replaced by Keith Smart, who guided the Kings to a 103-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in his first game as coach. However, wins in January were scarce, as the Kings ended January in last place with a record of 6-15. The Kings showed signs of improvement in February, as they won three of four games, but again took another step backward with a six-game losing streak. Off the court, the news was a bit better for Sacramento; as Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All-Star announced a tentative deal on the construction of a $387 million facility in the rail yards in downtown Sacramento. The city would pay up-front more than $250 million, raised by leasing city-owned parking lots to a private company. The Maloofs would contribute $75 million up-front as well as the money from the sale of the current Sleep Train Arena. In addition, they would pay a 5% surcharge on ticket sales to generate another $75 million through the span of the deal. Arena operator AEG was to contribute another $60 million up-front for the right to operate the arena. With this agreement, it was expected that the Kings would play in the new arena as early as 2015. The deal would even get the approval of the city council, but as the Kings went on to finish in the cellar with a record of 22-44, the Maloof brothers suddenly backed out of the deal. The Kings were to stay in Sacramento for the 2012/13 season, but it an all likelihood it is set to be their final season in Sacramento as the once-loyal fan base had soured on the team and went from one of the top teams in attendance to one of the worst. In the otherwise bleak season, the play of Marcuse Thornton and DeMarcus Cousins was the only bright spot.
2012/13: The future of the Kings remained in peril as Owners Joe and Gavin Maloof had a deal worked out to move the team to Seattle. However, the NBA was actively trying to keep the team in Sacramento as the plans for a new arena were all set. While a tug of war over control and the future of the Kings was waged off the court, the ability for them to win on the court was severely impacted. The Kings would use their first pick, fifth overall, to select Thomas Robinson of Kansas. However, Robinson struggled and was traded with Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas, and Cole Aldrich. Such indecisiveness was a hallmark of the Kings’ troubles as they right from the start, dropping 12 of their first 16 games. The Kings would play better in December, posting seven wins, but it another season in which the Kings were well out of playoff contention all season. The Kings would finish the season with a record of 28-54. However, off the court, fans in Sacramento would get good news, as the NBA Board of Governors refused to back any sale that would allow the Kings to move to Seattle. Instead, the league arranged for the Maloof Brothers to sell the Kings to a group led by Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadive for a record f $535 million. In Ranadive’s first move, plans began for the construction of a new arena in Sacramento while the team had a complete front-office shakeup with General Manager Geoff Petrie and Coach Keith Smart, both being fired.
2013/14: With their future in Sacramento secure, the Kings began the season with a new owner in Vivek Ranadive and a new coach in Mike Malone. However, the team was far from being able to compete as it became clear early that would be a year of transition with the roster undergoing many changes before and during the season. The Kings would open the season with a 90-88 win over the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena, as DeMarcus Cousins scored 30 points with 14 rebounds. However, the losses would mount quickly for Sacramento as they won just three games in November. Things would not get much better in December, as going into the New Year with a record of 10-20. Highlights would be few and far between in 2014 as the Kings could not post a winning record in any one month, finishing the season with a record of 28-54, which had them as one of the worst three teams in the Western Conference. DeMarcus Cousins continued to develop, leading the Kings with 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds. The Kings would also get 20 points per game from Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay, who was picked up in a December deal with the Toronto Raptors.
2014/15: As the Sacramento Kings entered their second season under new ownership, they hoped to begin clawing their way to respectability with eyes on the opening of their new arena for the 2016/17 season. The Kings got off to a solid start, winning five straight games, after losing to the Golden State Warriors 95-77 in the season opener. Leading the way for the Kings in the early part of the season, were Rudy Gay, who scored 40 points in a 103-94 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Halloween, while DeMarcus Cousins continued to improve his game. After playing well in November, the Kings slumped in December, losing 10 of 12 games, which would cost Coach Mike Malone his job. After Malone was dismissed after 24 games with the Kings holding an 11-13 record, Tyrone Corbin took over on an interim basis. The Kings would not play much better under Corbin, posting a record of 7-21 before the All-Star Break. One bright spot during this time was the continued strong play of DeMarcus Cousins, who made the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Cousins would end a ten-year drought for Sacramento becoming the first King on the Western Conference All-Star team since Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic in 2004. DeMarcus Cousins would finish the season leading the Kings in scoring and rebounding with 24.1 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. Rudy Gay also had a terrific season, averaging a career-best 21.1 points per game. At the All-Star Break, the Kings would make another coaching move, hiring George Karl. The move was not well received by DeMarcus Cousins, who often clashed with the more disciplined orientated coach. The Kings meanwhile did not play any better under Karl, posting a record of 11-19 in their final 30 games. As the season came to an end, the Kings would name former Center Vlade Divac as the new vice president of basketball operations. The Kings would finish the year with a record of 29-53.
2015/16: As work was completed on their new arena, the Sacramento Kings entered the final season at Sleep Train Arena, looking to gain some momentum and return to playoff contention. It was set to be George Karl’s first full season, and the Kings and expectations were high, as they made some significant moves in the off-season acquiring Rajon Rondo, Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli, and Caron Butler. However, right from the start, things were not going as planned in Sacramento as the Kings dropped seven of their first eight games, as Coach Karl and the Kings best player Marcus Cousins openly expressed disdain for each other. DeMarcus Cousins was once again an All-Star as he led the Kings in points with 26.9 points per game and 11.5 with boards per game. However, it did not translate into winning basketball as the Kings went into the New Year with a record of 12-20. The Kings began January, winning seven of ten games, but ending the month with a four-game losing streak and suffering another four straight losses at the start of February, all but ended Sacramento’s playoff hopes. As the All-Star Break, the Kings were struggling at 22-31 with rumors they could trade DeMarcus Cousins or fire George Karl. Neither would happen as both remained engaged in a battle of wills for the remainder of the season. This would not benefit anybody as the Kings continued to struggle, posting a record of 6-11 in March. The Kings’ final game at Sleep Train Arena would come on April 9th with them edging the Oklahoma City Thunder 114-112 as Darren Collison led the way with 27 points. The Kings would go on to finish the year with a record of 33-49, following the season George Karl would be fired.
2016/17: Despite a new coach in Dave Joerger, DeMarcus Cousins remained unhappy with his situation with the Sacramento Kings. Cousins was the Kings only positive early in the season as they again settled near the bottom of the Pacific Division as they went into the New Year with a record of 14-19. The Kings would not play any better in 2017, as they went 5-11 in January, losing six of seven games at the Golden 1 Center. Cousins had a strong February, helping to win four straight near the All-Star Break, as he was Sacramento’s lone representative in the All-Star Game in New Orleans. When the break was over, Cousins remained in New Orleans as he was traded to the Pelicans with Omri Casspi were for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, and a pair of 2017 draft picks. After the Cousins deal, wins became scarce in Sacramento as the Kings missed the playoffs for an 11th straight season at 32-50.
2017/18: The Sacramento Kings entered the season looking to end their long playoff drought, dating back to 2006. During the offseason, the Kings added a trio of veterans in George Hill, Vince Carter, and Zach Randolph to lead their young core. In the 2017 NBA Draft, the team drafted De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the fifth overall pick. The Kings also selected Zach Collins with the tenth overall pick but traded his rights to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the 15th overall pick Justin Jackson. In the second round, the Kings selected Harry Giles out of Duke and Frank Mason III from Kansas. Despite the new additions, the Kings struggled out of the gate, losing eight of their first ten games, which would be a hole they’d never climb out of. The Kings had a record of 13-27 at the end of December, and by February were trade deadline sellers. Sacramento traded Artūras Gudaitis and George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team trade that also included the Utah Jazz. In exchange, the Kings landed Dimitrios Agravanis, Iman Shumpert, $2.1M cash, and a 2020 second-round draft pick. The Kings went on to finish the season 27-55 and in 12th place in the Western Conference. In his final NBA season, Zach Randolph led the Kings in scoring with 14.5 points per game. Will Cauley-Stein would also have a strong season with 12.8 points and team-best seven rebounds per game.
Written by Aaron Gershon
2018/19: After another disappointing season, the Sacramento Kings looked to take the next step towards getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2006. The Kings began the new league year with good news as they landed the second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft and selected Marin Bagley III out of Duke. Sacramento stayed mostly quiet in free agency as they added guard Yogi Ferrel and big-man Nemanja Bjelica. The Kings did make one trade as they shipped Garrett Temple to the Memphis Grizzlies for Deyonta Davis, Ben McLemore, cash, and a 2021 second-round draft pick. The Kings started the season Farley hot as after a November 9th victory over Minnesota Timberwolves; they moved to 7-5 on the season. They remained on that pace until the start of the New Year, as they entered January with a record of 19-17. The Kings stayed above .500 until the All-Star Break, where the season began to fall apart as they were unable to make a high-impact deal at the trade deadline. The Kings hovered around .500 the rest of the season and finished on the year on a three-game losing skid, posting a record of 39-43 and finishing nine games out of the Western Conference’s final postseason spot. Buddy Hield finished the season as Sacramento’s leading scorer with 20.7 points per game, while De’Andre Fox averaged 17.3.
Written by Aaron Gershon
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Page created on February 22, 2003. Last updated on April 19, 2020, at 11:30 pm ET.