For The First Time In 16 Years, The Sacramento Kings Have Made The NBA Playoffs
(Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)
— 30 March 2023

For The First Time In 16 Years, The Sacramento Kings Have Made The NBA Playoffs

— 30 March 2023

The longest post-season drought in NBA history – and the longest active playoff dry spell in major American sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) – officially ended today. After 16 years of zero success, the Sacramento Kings have clinched a spot among the eight best teams in the Western Conference.

Both the NBA athletes and NBA culture were completely different when the Sacramento Kings last made the playoffs with a starting-five of Mike Bibby, Bonzi Wells, Ron Artest, Kenny Thomas, and Brad Miller..

The first iPhone hadn’t even been released. Pluto was still classified a planet. And Keegan Murray, the Sacramento Kings player that just set the record for most 3-pointers made by a rookie, was only five years old.

Daniel Powter’s ‘Bad Day’ was the #1 song in the world, but the real bad days had only just begun for the Kings. For many young Sacramento fans, they’ve never known a world in which their team wasn’t a complete and utter failure.

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From 2006 to 2022, Sactown held a 467-809 record (.366) in their games and somehow managed to cycle through 11 different head coaches across the 6,172 days since their last NBA playoffs appearance.

After their win against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Kings boast a record of 46-30 as the third seed in the Western Conference. Short of an absolute collapse in the coming weeks, the Kings will be hosting a first-round playoff series.

This new era is all thanks to the All-Star duo of De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis. The former is statistically the most clutch player in the NBA (as of this moment). The latter is a two-time All-Star centre who was acquired with a controversial trade that sent Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, and Tristan Thompson to the Indiana Pacers. Together, they led the Kings’ #1 ranked offense in the entire NBA.

For The First Time In 16 Years, The Sacramento Kings Have Made The NBA Playoffs
ATLANTA, GA – NOVEMBER 23: Malik Monk #0 of the Sacramento Kings goes up for a dunk during the first half against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on November 23, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

This season, the Kings have built an exciting culture and created traditions that will continue for years to come. The best defensive player gets to wear an iced-out DPOG (Defensive Player of the Game) chain. More importantly… The Beam. They’ve started projecting a purple beam of light into the sky from their Golden 1 Center arena every time the team wins.

The fans love it. They yell “Light the Beam!” from their seats in the final moments of each game. The Kings have even been nicknamed the “Beam Team” due to its insane popularity. If the team was struggling, these antics would be severely cringe. Given their awesome form of late, it’s the polar opposite.

Head coach Mike Brown will likely earn Coach of the Year in his first season with the franchise. And Brown has his own redemption arc in all of this. His coaching career kicked off with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2005, leading them all the way to the NBA Finals in 2007. Then, in 2009, they campaigned to a team record and league-best 66 wins before Brown was named Coach of the Year.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 24: Head coach Mike Brown of the Sacramento Kings celebrates a 176-175 double overtime win over the LA Clippers with Malik Monk #0 and De’Aaron Fox #5 at Arena on February 24, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Brown was eventually fired from the Cavaliers after losing to the Boston Celtics in the 2010 Eastern Conference Semi-finals. The following season, he accepted the seemingly impossible task of succeeding Phil Jackson as head coach to Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers. He was dismissed by the team only five games into his second season.

In 2016, he’d join the Golden State Warriors as an associate head coach, helping them win three NBA Championships in 2017, 2018, and 2022. That’s when he was called up for another shot in the boss’ chair. Like the team he now coaches for, it’s been an interesting 16 years for Mike Brown.

Granted, the team is not without its weaknesses. The 2022-23 Sacramento Kings are a young team and one of the worst in the NBA from a defensive standpoint. Considering how the Western Conference is currently shaping up, there’s a good chance they’ll be dealt a mighty tough matchup straight out of the gates that may very well end their season. Fair warning: this article is not your sign to bet the house on a Sacramento Kings NBA Championship.

But the ongoing season is by no means a failure. Their star players are young and the team has a lot of flexibility to make some serious moves toward another championship piece this coming off-season. This is, however, a conversation for another day.

All that matter at this stage is lighting that damn beam.

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