After 17 years of missing out on the playoffs, the Kings have accumulated so much energy and desire for this moment, that they’re proving everybody in the league that their strong season was no coincidence. Right now, they are leading the first-round series in the West 2-0 against the reigning champions Golden State and it doesn’t seem they’ll stop there.
According to former basketball player and current ESPN analyst JJ Redick, Sacramento is simply taking advantage of the Warriors’ weaknesses as they’ve struggled all season long on the road.
Take a look at what he discussed this Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take”:
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 18, 2023
“Yes, to answer the question, they are exposing the Warriors because we’re seeing a lot of the issues that have happened with the Warriors all season long,” he said to his co-host experts. “This team … not the team that has won four championships. This team, this season, they are exposing a lot of their weaknesses.”
The former NBA player added that Kings guard De’Aaron Fox has been “fantastic” in clutch situations and is simply toying with Golden State’s defense. This is no understatement, as the All-Star player just beat Jimmy Butler and DeMar DeRozan to the 2022/23 NBA Clutch Player of the Year award.
“The Warriors are a high-turnover team. That came back to bite them in Game 2,” Redick said. “The Warriors are not a good defensive team — they weren’t all season. They were middle of the pack in offense and defense all season long.
“And the Kings are exposing that. They are exposing that,” he repeated.
According to the history books, the Warriors only have an 8% chance of winning this series
The Bay Area squad had only the league’s 16th best defensive rating (114.4) during this past regular season, just a bit better than the Clippers (114.5). However, their offensive rating was tied in eighth place with the Cleveland Cavaliers at 116.1.
Not all Redick said was poor about Golden State’s defense, as he explained that they’ve been “good” at sticking to coach Steve Kerr’s game plan of picking on Domantas Sabonis and Kevin Huerter’s famous dribble hand-offs, as well as limiting Fox’s shooting attempts inside of the paint. Their problem is that Sacramento’s point guard is simply untreatable lately.
“But the same issues, the foul trouble, the turnovers, all that stuff, that’s who the Warriors are this season, and the Kings are exposing that,” Redick said.
The ESPN analyst isn’t the only one worried for the reigning champions, as Stephen A. Smith has expressed he doesn’t believe they’ll come out of this series alive. Check out what he said on “NBA Countdown”:
The San Francisco club now face a 2-0 deficit entering Game 3 on Thursday at Chase Center, their stronghold. However, they’ll do without Draymond Green who received a one-match suspension after stomping on Sabonis last match, but will maintain their core around Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Kings trainer Mike Brown is expected to recieve the NBA Coach of the Year award today after an outstanding campaign so far, ending in Sacramento the longest-playoff drought in NBA history.