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Would missing the playoffs benefit the Kings?

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

By Jay Blackwell.

The NBA season is the ultimate grind. It’s a season of 82 contests, long cross-country road trips, and the grind of the season leads to one reward: the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Every team starts out with three simple goals entering the season: win the division, make the playoffs, and win the championship. Of course all three aren’t always attainable but in the NBA where teams can make the playoffs with a losing record it’s a goal that can be reached.

On last Wednesday’s edition of 'The Sportspage,' on 91.7 FM in Morgantown, WV, myself and fellow colleagues Joel Norman, Ryan Decker, and Isaac Ferebee talked about the Sacremento Kings and their immediate future.

The Kings currently sit in the 11th spot in the Western Conference and are one game out of the eighth and final seed for the playoffs. My colleagues argued that the Kings should tank the rest of the way and get a high draft pick and continue to build that way in hopes of developing a contender.

The Kings should go for the playoffs now.

I know what you’re thinking, Rudy Gay just went down for the year with a torn Achilles.

Who plays for this team other than DeMarcus Cousins? And why are we talking about the 8th seed in the West like it’s some reward.

It is, especially if you’re the Kings. The Kings haven’t made the playoffs since 2005. This team has been stockpiling draft picks for years and the only notable star to come out of it is DeMarcus Cousins.

So what Rudy Gay tore his Achilles he announced as the year started he had no intentions of re-signing anyway? This team has some pieces to build around as ‘Boogie’ Cousins is now a perennial All-Star and Willie Cauley-Stein is just the towering presence that meshes well with Cousins. Veterans Matt Barnes and Aaron Afflao are scrappy, experienced guys who can produce come playoff time.

Yes, it’s no secret that whoever gets rewarded the eighth seed has a date with the Golden State Warriors and will probably be defeated. In the NBA stranger things have happened though as in 2006 when the eighth-seeded Warriors defeated the top seeded Mavericks, or in 1998 when Jeff Van Gundy’s Knicks rode all the way from the eighth seed to the NBA Finals.

In no way am I picking or suggesting the Kings will upset the Warriors in the NBA playoffs, but with opening a new arena this year, having a new head coach, and not making the playoffs the last 12 years, you owe your fans at least two home playoff games to believe the team is headed in the right direction.

Shame on Sam Hinke for ingratiating this art of “tanking” in the NBA even if the process does work it’s a very flawed method of team building. Tanking can put a team lightyears behind it’s competition and can alienate a fan base.

The Kings have done that to their fans enough, it’s time to make the playoffs. Go for it, Boogie.

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