Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

February 28, 2009
Opening tip: Are the Kings the worst West team of the millenium?

Kings (13-47) at Jazz (35-23)

Scoring: Kings tied for 14th (99.3), Jazz seventh (103).
Shooting: Kings tied for 24th (44.6 percent), Jazz third (47.9).
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.4), Jazz 13th (99.4).
Shooting defense: Kings 30th (48 percent), Jazz 19th (46).
Rebound differential: Kings 29th (minus-5.4), Jazz 10th (plus-1.3).

The links: Jazz coverage in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News.
The almanac: On this date in 1967, Wilt Chamberlain missed his first field goal in four games, ending his record streak of 35 consecutive field goals. On this date in 1987, Chick Hearn broadcast his 2,000th consecutive Lakers game.

__________

We've already put 2008-09 in perspective as potentially the ugliest 17-car pileup in Kings history and even Rochester/Cincinnati/Kansas City/Omaha/Sacramento franchise history, and will again within the remaining quarter-season, except there is another gauge to the bottoming out: the potential of the worst record in the West since 2000.


That's serious new perspective. At 13-47, though, the Kings are tracking to 18-64, and 18-64 makes you bad for an entire generation of a conference. A conference with the Clippers, no less.

The one unknown is that the current roster is so much different than the one listed on the damage report for most of the previous four months. That makes projecting the .217 win percentage more fun with numbers than usual, and, plus, the last few weeks of any season is especially unpredictable as some teams dial down the intensity to rest for the playoffs and the less-fortunate others mail it in to finalize April vacation plans. No telling which way the Kings will go after the trade-deadline renovations -- the actual talent level is worse than before but the atmosphere and energy should be better.

But, based on the known of the moment, they're heading to 18-64 and a slight edge over the Thunder for worst record in the West. Comparing to the worst of any recent year:

  • 2007-08: SuperSonics, 20-62.
  • 2006-07: Grizzlies, 22-60.
  • 2005-06: Trail Blazers, 21-61.
  • 2004-05: Hornets, 18-64.
  • 2003-04: Clippers, 28-54.
  • 2002-03: Nuggets, 17-65.
  • 2001-02: Warriors, 21-61.
  • 2000-01: Warriors, 17-65.
Heady company. Among those that played any fraction of the 2000s, the Clippers were 15-67 in 1999-2000, and the Kings of 2008-09 surely have a 3-19 finish (.136) in them to get past that. But for full seasons in the millennium, the Kings need at least 5-17 (.227) to top Denver in 2002-03 and Golden State in 2000-01 to avoid another indignity.


It comes with a closing schedule of 22 games against 19 opponents with a combined .481 winning percentage. Twelve of the 22 are at home, 10 on the road. Discounting April 1 at Golden State and April 3 at Phoenix because the Oakland travel shouldn't be too taxing, only two remaining trips are longer than two outings, a four-game swing East in mid-March and a two-gamer to Denver and Minnesota to end the season. March is particularly restful, with one back-to-back and two four-day breaks.

The internal numbers remain in place. It will take 24-58 (an 11-11 finish) to avoid tying the worst record of the Sacramento era and 20-62 to surpass the fewest wins in franchise history, the 19-53 by the Cincinnati Royals in 1958-59 in a 72-game schedule and the 19-56 by the Royals in 1959-60 in a 75-game slate. This group playing .217 ball needs .318 -- 7-15 -- the rest of the way to get to 20.



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