SACRAMENTO -- 25.5 wins. That’s the Las Vegas line for the Kings. It’s also a slight drop from the 27 wins the team earned a year ago. 

The bookies are usually pretty accurate with these things. 25.5 wins isn’t good, but that is where Sacramento is in its rebuild.

There is always a possibility that the Kings catch lightning in a bottle. They could jump the predicted win total and surprise a few people. They could also fall upon hard times and struggle to reach the mark. 

This is the reality of starting over. You are banking on the production of young players. Sometimes, converting potential to production takes that other p-word that no one wants to hear.

Patience.

“Development, it’s going to take two or three years,” Kings head coach Dave Joerger said last week. “It just takes time. They’re learning something every game they go out. Most of the time, I’m going to be pretty positive with them individually and coach them, trying to keep them up.”

It’s a roller-coaster ride. There are no guarantees that it won’t all come off the rails at any moment. And there is nothing written in stone that any of the young talent on the roster will reach their potential. 

“We’re on a long journey, not one that’s only two or three weeks long, it’s a couple-of-year journey,” Joerger said. “You’ve just got to keep putting in your work everyday and keep encouraging each other and hold each other accountable to get your work in and come to the gym everyday or come to the locker room everyday and try to be a guy who elevates the room and not someone who saps energy out of it. Just pick it up and bring some juice.”

 

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Joerger is trying to be as honest as he can about the task in front of him and his band of unproven players. He has a couple of veterans hiding on the bench that might positively affect the win total, but it’s a franchise mandate that the youth plays the majority of the minutes.

Through the preseason, Joerger stuck to the plan. Veterans Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos failed to make an appearance. Randolph was a healthy scratch throughout the exhibition season, while Koufos missed a couple of games with a hamstring strain.

30-year-old Nemanja Bjelica is part of the rotational plan for the early part of the season, and there is a possibility that Iman Shumpert will find minutes at the wing if he can stay healthy.

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Removing most of the veterans from the equation takes away the safety net for an inexperienced group. It also limits Joerger’s options if the group of 25-and-unders stumble out of the gate. 

The plan is to push the tempo and give the young players a chance to develop with NBA minutes. Judging by the performance during preseason and the oddsmakers' predictions, the team is still a ways away from competing. 

Sacramento is once again asking for patience. More specifically, Joerger is telling everyone that patience is the only option. Hopefully the front office, ownership and the coaching staff are on the same page with regards to what patience means.