There's no denying the Kings' road back to the playoffs is harder this coming season.
Never mind the improvements made by contenders such as the Lakers and Clippers.
Teams that didn't make the playoffs last season - Minnesota, New Orleans, Golden State and Phoenix - also made moves this offseason to become playoff teams.
The Kings added Aaron Brooks, James Johnson and drafted Thomas Robinson.
None are superstars so the Kings will be relying on their young stars to grow up to move up in the standings.
"All these teams made drastic changes so the quicker we can bond and put away some of the issues young teams deal with the quicker we can move forward," said Kings coach Keith Smart.
Smart said he shouldn't have to repeat some of the same instructions repeatedly in 2012-13.
If Smart is still reminding players to play defense and pass the ball, the Kings will continue to be a lottery team.
"All our guys have got to understand if we continue to do thing the same way we will continue to get the same results," Smart said.
Smart is mostly associated with Don Nelson when it comes to his coaching career. But Smart would love to bring the ways of another coach - Gregg Popovich - to the Kings.
Throughout the season and even today, Smart mentions the way the Spurs play as a model for the what the Kings have to become to win.
Of course, the Spurs have three players with All-Star credentials and veterans willing to sacrifice to chase a championship.
The Kings have players trying to establish who they are and are who are willing to do that at the expense of the team too often.
How do the Kings fix this? Smart would love to rid the Kings of the "my" way of thinking.
"'My' has gotten us 25, 24, 23 wins (a season)," Smart said.
Soon we'll see if the Kings are more "we" than "my."