Prior to the season, it seemed unfathomable that the 2010-11 Kings would conjure up memories of the franchise-worst, 17-win 2008-09 squad. But following an eight-game losing streak and 14 losses in the last 15 contests, Sacramento not only has the worst record in the NBA at 4-15, but is on a worse pace than two years ago, when the team was off to a marginally better 5-14 start.
The rosters of the respective teams have few similarities, as the '08 Kings were led by a gimpy Kevin Martin, who missed 31 games with injuries and shot a then-career-low 42% from the field, a rapidly-declining Brad Miller for half a season, and the likes of Mikki Moore, Shelden Williams, and Ike Diogu in the front court rotation. Unquestionably, the current young core led by reigning Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, prized first-year big man DeMarcus Cousins, and developing forwards Omri Casspi and Donté Greene presents a brighter future.
Yet, as bad as the 2008-09 Kings were on the court, the team was on the verge of finally beginning a long-delayed rebuilding process after trading veterans Mike Bibby, Ron Artest, John Salmons, and Miller in a span of a calendar year. Even as the losses piled up, there was a glimmer of hope in securing a franchise savior with the top lottery pick in the NBA Draft or utilizing the newly available cap space to sign a top-tier free agent.
This year's much improved and hyped Kings were supposed to be the culmination and end result of hitting rock bottom and winning only 42 games over the past two seasons. It's why being the league's doormat and not simply losing winnable games, but suffering humiliating beat downs to the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers at this stage is completely baffling and unacceptable.
While last season, losing close games to championship contenders constituted as moral victories, Sacramento was expected to take a step forward and rise to relevance with a more talented and mature squad. Sacramento was widely considered to be fun and exciting, with certain overly optimistic analysts even expecting the team to challenge for a playoff berth. Instead, the Kings are barely watchable as they yet again battle (and so far, lead) the Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves for the best odds to land the top lottery pick.