Huerter labels three reasons for Kings’ breakout season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Kevin Huerter arrived in Sacramento last summer unfamiliar with the history of the Kings franchise, aside from the infamous 16-year playoff drought, of course.
Eight months later, Huerter is a main piece of Sacramento’s winning formula, one that will earn the team a trip to the postseason in the coming days.
Huerter pinpointed three reasons for the Kings’ breakout season and the dominance of their starting five in a recent interview with The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo.
“Knock on wood we’ve been able to stay healthy,” Huerter said. “And that’s a huge, underrated part of being a really good team in the NBA is health.
“We’ve had guys that have been available. A culture that guys aren’t resting. [Kings coach] Mike Brown is on us. We practice, we drill things. Our practices are really productive. He’s just done a great job with our front office of putting the right pieces together.”
Health, culture and fit: Three intangible qualities that have been missing in Sacramento for most of the last two decades.
“You can talk about Sacramento teams since I’ve been in the league, and maybe the last eight or nine years. They’ve had talent,” Huerter said. “They just haven’t really been able to put it together and bring out the best version of each player.
“I can truly say there’s six or seven guys on our team that arguably are playing the best basketball of their career. And I think that’s the way our roster is put together and the way we play, just having the right pieces to fit that style of play.”
Huerter makes up Sacramento’s starting five along with guard De’Aaron Fox, rookie Keegan Murray, forward Harrison Barnes and center Domantas Sabonis. That five-man unit has played the most minutes together (788) in the NBA by a long shot — 143 minutes more than the Atlanta Hawks’ starting five in second place.
They are the main contributors to the Kings’ historic offense on pace to set a new single-season record for offensive rating.
Fox, who was named an All-Star for the first time last month, is in the All-NBA conversation. Sabonis leads the league in rebounding and already set a new career high in triple-doubles (11) with 12 games to play.
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Huerter, who has almost perfected the two-man game with Sabonis, is averaging a career-high 15.0 points per game while shooting 40.8 percent from downtown. He sustained a hamstring injury in the Kings’ five-point win over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday but is expected to return to the court soon.
“They’ve pressed all the right buttons,” Huerter said of Sacramento’s front office. “Mike has been great. The front office since I’ve got here has been great. We’ve got a team where, obviously we’re confident.
“I’m really excited to move forward with them.”