Sacramento Kings Clinch First Playoff Berth Since 2006

The Sacramento Kings ended the longest playoff drought in American sports when they clinched a berth to the 2023 NBA playoffs. The Kings failed to qualify for the playoffs in 16 consecutive seasons, but are returning to the postseason for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Sacramento Kings clinch playoff berth end postseason drought NBA odds
Shooting guard Kevin Huerter (9), center Domantas Sabonis (10), and point guard De’Aaron Fox (5) celebrate a victory against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center in Portland. (Image: USA Today Sports)

The Kings locked up a playoff berth Wednesday night with a 40-point drubbing of the Portland Trail Blazers.

We want to do bigger things,” said Kings guard De’Aaron Fox. “But 16 years, it’s a long time. It feels great to get it off of us.”

With a 46-30 record, the Kings are currently in third place in the Western Conference standings. They’re only two games behind the second-place Grizzlies and still have a chance to snag the #2 seed in the playoffs.

At the least, the Kings will have the #3 seed, which is a remarkable feat considering where they were one year ago. The Kings finished in 12th place in the conference last season with a 30-52 record, which marked 16 consecutive losing seasons.


Light the Beam

The Kings celebrated their first home win with a purple laser beam that originated from the top of the Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento.

Little did anyone know the purple laser and “light the beam” could become a catchphrase for the season. Fans began to chant “Light the beam!” in the fourth quarter of home games when the Kings were on the cusp of a victory.

We want to give fans a lot more than we’ve given them so far already because they’re more than deserving of it,” head coach Mike Brown told reporters after clinching a playoff berth Wednesday night. “When you have a fan base that’s as intelligent, rather passionate about not only their team, but their city too, you could feel it’s a prideful thing. You want the world for them, and you’re excited about it. We want them to celebrate, and we expect to hopefully give them more.”

Brown has the inside track to win the NBA Coach of the Year after many insiders thought he was foolish to fill the head coaching vacancy in Sacramento. Few coaches wanted to coach the Kings, who churned through 11 different coaches since their last postseason appearance.

Brown won the 2022 NBA championship as the top assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, but was eager to get another shot as a head coach after previous stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers.

Under Brown’s guidance, the Kings became the most potent offense in the NBA. The high-octane Kings generate 121 points per game, which makes them must-see TV.


Betting the Kings at +6000 Odds

The Kings are +6000 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA championship and are 12th on the board at DraftKings. While oddsmakers don’t have much faith in the Kings, there’s one bettor who thinks they can go all the way. One diehard fan has a chance to cash in multiple prop bets totaling $10.3 million if the Kings win the NBA championship.

The Kings are +2000 odds to win the Western Conference and advance to the NBA Finals. They’re seventh on the futures board even though they’re in third place in the conference.

With a projected #3 seed, the Kings will have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. If the season ended today, they’d square off against the #6 Golden State Warriors in the first round. Both oddsmakers and bettors are under the assumption the defending champions will knock out the inexperienced Kings in their first postseason series in 16 years.

FiveThirtyEight projects the Kings have a 2% chance to advance to the NBA Finals, and less than a 0.4% chance to win the championship.

When the regular season began, the Kings were a long shot to win the Pacific Division at +40000 odds. The Pacific didn’t have a clear-cut favorite during the preseason with the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Phoenix Suns expected to battle for the division crown.

The Kings hold a five-game lead over the Kings in the Pacific Division, and they’re close to clinching their first division title in 20 years. They finished in last place in the Pacific Division seven times since the 2001-02 season. They went from worst to first this season after finishing in last place in back-to-back seasons as the proverbial doormat in the Pacific Division.

Kings End 16-Year Drought

The Kings last qualified for the postseason in the 2005-06 season, which marked the end of a sensational run under head coach Rick Adelman. Between 1999 and 2006, the Kings were a mainstay in the postseason with eight-straight playoff appearances.

The Kings hit their highwater mark under Adelman in the 2001-02 season. They won 61 games that season, securing the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They battled the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. The controversial series went a full seven games before the Lakers rallied back to defeat the Kings and advance to the 2002 NBA Finals.

The Kings last won a postseason series in 2004 when they defeated the Dallas Mavericks in the first round before losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the conference semifinals.

Although the Kings qualified for the playoffs in 2005 and 2006, they were knocked out in the first round in back-to-back postseasons. Their exit in 2006 marked the end of the franchise’s most successful run since they moved from Kansas City to Sacramento in 1985.

The Kings were the 1951 NBA champions when they were located in upstate New York and known as the Rochester Royals. The current version of the NBA was formed in the 1949-50 season, and the Royals were the second-ever NBA champion.

The Royals relocated to Cincinnati in 1957 before the team was rebranded as the Kings when they moved again in 1972. The Kings split home games between Kansas City and Omaha for three seasons, before they found a full-time home in Kansas City in 1975.

Since relocating to Sacramento in 1985, the Kings have never appeared in the NBA Finals.

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