The 2021-22 Sacramento Kings in Review

June 10th, 2022

by Alan Lu

The 2021-22 Sacramento Kings missed the playoffs, and the Kings haven’t been to the playoffs in 16 years, as they last made a trip to the postseason in 2006.
(Photo:
Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports, via MSN via Larry Brown Sports)

They had another tumultuous season that led them to miss the playoffs once again.  The Kings were expected to miss the playoffs, and they indeed missed them, and they had fired their head coach early in the year before allowing Alvin Gentry to end the season as the interim head coach for them.

The Kings also made a relatively head-scratching trade by dealing promising guard, Tyrese Haliburton for former All-Star center, Domantas Sabonis.  In a nutshell, it appears good for Sacramento, except they dealt one of their most promising players that turned in a strong rookie season the year before, and they acquired a low post scorer whose skill set may not fit with a slashing point guard in De’Aaron Fox, whose outside shooting regressed this year.  The fit remains suspect, but it will be interesting to see if Sabonis and Fox can mesh together for next season.

Key Players:

Domantas Sabonis (on the right) and Harrison Barnes (on the left) will be two starters that the Sacramento Kings will likely depend on for the 2022-23 NBA season next year.
(Photo:
Rocky Widmer/NBAE via Getty Images, via SB Nation’s Sactown Royalty)

Domantas Sabonis
2021-22 (IND/SAC): 18.9 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 57 FG%, 31 3PT%, 74 FT%, 64 TS%, 21.9 PER, 7.1 WS

He is a skilled, mobile center that has made two All-Star teams, and he will be the centerpiece of the team for next season.  Sabonis is a very skilled passer and playmaker, and he is a good low post scorer and rebounder that has been very productive over the years.  He’ll need to improve his defense and doesn’t have a reliable three-point shot, but his ability to make plays in the paint will enable Sacramento to be competitive next year.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 3 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starting center on the Sacramento Kings

De’Aaron Fox struggled with his three-point shot this season, but Kings’ fans will be eager to see how well he and Sabonis will mesh next year.
(Photo:
Mark Blinch/Getty Images, via ProbasketballTalk – NBA – NBC Sports)

De’Aaron Fox
2021-22 (SAC): 23.2 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 47 FG%, 30 3PT%, 75 FT%, 55 TS%, 17.4 PER, 2.5 WS

He is a very athletic, slashing point guard that has been one of the best players on the Kings’ roster for the past several seasons.  He’s struggled with his three-point shot and defense, and he regressed as an offensive player this year, but his scoring and playmaking skills enables him to be one of the better point guards in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: D
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars (3 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Starting point guard on the Sacramento Kings

Harrison Barnes
2021-22 (SAC): 16.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG, 47 FG%, 39 3PT%, 83 FT%, 62 TS%, 15.7 PER, 6 WS

He is a solid, veteran forward that can do a little bit of everything on the floor, and he can play multiple positions on the court.  He’s been a steady role player over the years, and he projects to be a fairly solid starter for the Kings next season.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Sacramento Kings

Richaun Holmes
2021-22 (SAC): 10.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.1 APG, 64 FG%, 18 3PT%, 79 FT%, 69 TS%, 17.8 PER, 3.2 WS

He is a solid interior player that excels at scoring and rebounding the basketball in the paint.  He’s fairly limited on offense, and will need to improve his defense, but his ability to make plays in the paint enables him to be a solid role player in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: C
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Sacramento Kings

Other Notable Players:

Donte DiVincenzo

He is an athletic swingman that can shoot and pass the basketball, but he really struggled with his jump shot this past season.  DiVincenzo will need to get his jumper back on track, but he was a solid role player on the 2020-21 Milwaukee Bucks that helped get him his first NBA title.

2022 Season Grade: D
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Justin Holiday

He is a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.  He’s struggled to make shots as consistently as he did last year, and he didn’t quite defend as well this season, but Holiday has shown that he can be a solid rotation player in games.

2022 Season Grade: D
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Jeremy Lamb

He’s an athletic swingman that played well for the Pacers before getting hurt last year, and the Kings acquired him in a midseason trade.  Lamb didn’t shoot the ball very well at all this year, but he’s a 3 and D role player that can be a solid rotation player in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on an NBA team

Trey Lyles

He is an athletic, versatile combo forward that excelled as a scorer and rebounder off the bench.  He didn’t shoot the three-ball as well as he did last year, but Lyles has provided steady minutes in his role this year in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Chimezie Metu

Metu finally got his first real extended run as a regular rotation player in the NBA, and he finally played over a thousand minutes in an NBA season.  He showcased versatile scoring skills, and he also showed promise as a defender on the court.  He didn’t shoot quite as well as he did last year, but Metu showed that he could be a reliable rotation player in this league.

2022 Season Grade: C+
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Damian Jones

He is an athletic, energetic big man that thrived in a bench role for the Kings, and he was very efficient on offense this year.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Davion Mitchell

He received an ample amount of playing time.  Mitchell showed that he can play feisty, tenacious defense, but the rookie point guard didn’t shoot or score well this past season.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Other Players on the Roster:

Terence Davis

Davis is an athletic combo guard that had a good rookie season with the Toronto Raptors during the 2019-20 NBA season before later getting traded to the Sacramento Kings during his NBA career. This season, he provided scoring, but he didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well this year, and he missed a lot of games due to injury.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Neemias Queta

Queta didn’t play very much in the NBA this year, and he didn’t make a huge impact when he was on the floor for the Kings in limited minutes, but he still could project to be a reliable backup center in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Maurice Harkless

He’s a defensive-minded forward that used to be a solid role player in the NBA, but he hasn’t shot the ball nearly as well in recent years.  He’s really struggled with his jump shot and is a low volume role player, and he’ll need to improve offensively in order to not be a liability on the offensive side of the ball.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Alex Len

He blended in with the other role players on this team, and he didn’t get as much playing time in the NBA this year.

2022 Season Grade: C
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Sacramento Kings

Josh Jackson

Jackson didn’t shoot the ball very well this year, and he is an impending free agent that will need to improve on offense in order to latch onto an NBA team and land a rotation spot next year.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team
Side note: Josh Jackson will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season.

New Head Coach:

Mike Brown had a solid season as the associate head coach with the Golden State Warriors, and he did a good job of stepping in for Steve Kerr when Kerr was out due to illness midway through their second round series to get the series win against the Memphis Grizzlies.
(Photo:
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Step Back)


Mike Brown
GSW (2021-22): Associate Head Coach

He had a solid season as the Warriors’ associate head coach.  He led them to wins in Game 4 and Game 6 over the Memphis Grizzlies, although his team got absolutely walloped in a crushing 39-point, Game 5 loss to the same team in the second round series.  Brown coached well enough while temporarily taking over for head coach Steve Kerr in his absence due to illness to lead the Warriors to the Western Conference Finals, and he showed the coaching chops to be a head coach again in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: B
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Head Coach of the Sacramento Kings

Previous Coaches:

Luke Walton
2021-22 (SAC): 6-11

He did a good job as an acting head coach in Steve Kerr’s absence in 2016 that helped the Warriors get to a 73-9 record, and that helped him land the Lakers’ job, but Walton has disappointed ever since as a full-time head coach.  He failed to get a LeBron James-led 2019 Lakers team to the playoffs, which seemed unthinkable at the time. 

Walton then took over for Dave Joerger for the Kings after the Lakers let him go, but his teams also never made the playoffs in his 2+ seasons there.  At this stage, Walton may be better off being an assistant coach that could help an NBA team’s offense, or he may need to drop down to the college level if he still has head coaching aspirations.

2022 Season Grade: D
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Assistant coach somewhere in the NBA, college coach, or TV analyst

Alvin Gentry
2021-22 (SAC): 24-41

He used to be the 2010 Phoenix Suns head coach that led them to the Western Conference Finals, and he took over as the interim for the Kings this year.  He didn’t fare much better, and the Kings missed the playoffs.  Gentry is a journeyman coach that has bounced around, and now he is an advisor for the Kings in a front office role.

2022 Season Grade: D+
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Vice President of Basketball Engagement for the Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings’ Projected 2022-23 Rotation:
C Domantas Sabonis
F Richaun Holmes
F Harrison Barnes
4th Overall Pick
G De’Aaron Fox
_______
G Donte DiVincenzo
G Justin Holiday
F Trey Lyles
C Chimezie Metu
G Davion Mitchell

The Sacramento Kings’ Picks in the 2022 NBA Draft:
#4, #37, #49

The Sacramento Kings’ Projected 2023 Win-Loss Record:
31-51, 12th in the Western Conference

Their Projected Offseason Plan:
The Sacramento Kings are projected to be all capped out, so they will likely have to rely on the draft and trades to help them out in this offseason.  They struggled on both sides of the ball, so they need talented players.  They also will need players that will fit in around Fox and Sabonis.  It will be interesting to see how they will get Fox and Sabonis to play together, and they will need to find a way to get them to coalesce and mesh well together, or they may have to trade one or both of them.  They will have a very interesting offseason this year.

The team analysis of the Sacramento Kings was done before the 2022 NBA Draft and the start of free agency.  I went to No Trade Clause and Basketball-Reference for research purposes.  Thanks for reading.

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