The marathon NBA season is over. Let’s review as we prepare for the playoffs!
This season was about the perfect scenario for Keegan. He set the league record for most 3s made in a season by a rookie, making 206 for the year. He shot over 41 percent from that distance on 6.3 attempts a game as the Kings turned into a damn flame thrower offensively. He played in 80 of 82 games, starting 78. For the year, he finished with 12.2 points per game, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. He also combined for 1.3 steals plus blocks this year with a 45/41/77 shooting split. Really impressive. Yeah, he won’t win Rookie of the Year – Paolo Banchero ran away with that from basically Game 1 – but he’ll be on the all-Rookie team and he was a perfect fit for the resurgent Kings, who finished as the West’s 3-seed at 48-34 and will make their first playoff appearance since the 2005-2006 season.
Keegan Murray’s rookie season with the Sacramento Kings:— Cameron Salerno (@cameronsalerno1) April 10, 2023
Set the record for most three-pointers made in a season by a rookie pic.twitter.com/f4sl6zRUn5
Kings fans are rightly puffing their chests out a little. Yeah, division winners are irrelevant – Miami won the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference and they’re in the play-in tournament – but they are the Kings of California for at least a season and they’ve pinned this at the top of the Kings Muse, from all the way back in November.
Their prize in the first round is the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors, who finished as the 6-seed at 44-38. That’s a tough draw for Sacramento, but there’s no easy matchup and I need to see it from Golden State before I’m writing them in for round 2. Yes, they have the playoff basketball know-how. Yes, they have the veterans and they’ll have the whole roster back (Andrew Wiggins will be back for the playoffs). It’s a tricky matchup and the Kings defense is suspect at times (it’s better on the road, oddly), but I also watched the Warriors go 11-30 on the road (only the Pistons, Spurs, and Rockets were worse and they’re all in the lottery next year). Now they’re paired with a team that has perhaps the best home court advantage in the league. The drive from San Francisco to Sacramento is a short one so you’ll see road fans in each venue. Game 3 in San Francisco currently has a lot of tickets open that aren’t hellacious in terms of price, so there will be a lot of Kings fan in the arena.
That said, Vegas knows. They’re putting the Warriors as the favorite in this series.
The No. 6 seeded Warriors are -300 FAVORITES against the No. 3 seed Kings to win the series.— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 11, 2023
Oh my pic.twitter.com/hJqsPLJRnR
Luka’s playoff situation looked good, until…
Rudy Gobert punched Kyle Anderson in Game 82, was sent home at halftime, and is now suspended for their play-in game tonight versus the Lakers, and
//check notes again
Jaden McDaniels punched a wall at halftime of the same game and broke the third and fourth metacarpals in his right hand, and he’s out indefinitely.
Throw in Naz Reid getting hurt earlier in the regular season and Luka might be the back-up center tonight against Los Angeles, who stumbled into a potentially good mix of players at the trade deadline (WHY DO TEAMS ALWAYS HELP THEM??? MAKE THAT MAKE SENSE).
Moral of the story is, stop punching things (and making bad trades) and things could work out for the T-Wolves.
Post-break, Luka didn’t get much playing time – he appeared in just 6 games after the All-Star break. His bright spot was an 18-minute appearance on March 13, scoring 14 points in a 136-115 win in Atlanta (he also committed 5 fouls – Luka got his money’s worth in those 18 minutes). Otherwise, it was a lot of DNP’s down the stretch as Minnesota made it to the 8-seed after a disastrous start to the year. For the year, Garza made 28 appearances for the T-Wolves, averaging 6.5 points a night to go with 2.7 rebounds. His shooting was good for the year, going with a 54/36/79 split. Pretty good for Minnesota’s fourth center (Karl-Anthony Towns, Gobert, Reid, Garza – FOUR centers in today’s NBA is pretty wild).
Not to be forgotten is Joe Wieskamp. Wieskamp made 9 appearances for the Toronto Raptors this year, making 7 appearances after the All-Start break. He didn’t score in any of those games (his 9 points scored on the season were all in a 128-126 loss to Minnesota on January 19). He averaged 1 point per game as his shooting was a struggle all year, shooting just 21 percent from the floor and 25 percent from 3. The Raptors finished the season 41-41, also recovering from a bad start, and they’ll host Chicago Wednesday night in the 9-10 game in the Eastern Conference.