It hasn't been the start coach Luke Walton and the Kings were looking for to the 2020-21 season, as the team stands 5-8 after a blowout 138-100 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at Golden 1 Center on Friday night.
Through 13 games, the Kings now have the dubious distinction of being on pace for the NBA's worst single-season defensive rating, having allowed over 120 points in seven straight games.
Walton tried to identify what has been going wrong on that end of the floor following Friday night's loss, believing that defensive presence was a significant issue for the Kings.
"We gotta be able to guard people, guard people and rebound when we get stops," Walton told reporters after the game. "Right now, that's something we gotta figure out. We will figure it out. But yeah, it was evident tonight, they got where they wanted. When we came and doubled, they kicked to their shooters, when we didn't double they scored 1-on-1, and the occasional time we made them miss, it felt like they were going in and getting offensive rebounds.
"So really, not a good night for us. We gotta find a way to fix this."
The Kings are allowing an average of 123.2 points per night over 13 games, including 132 per game over the past seven.
Players were equally frustrated after Friday's loss, with Glenn Robinson III delivering a powerful message challenging his teammates.
"If you're depending on Luke to get you hyped, if you're depending on Rico Hines to come in and yell at you and get you ready for the game and hyped, you shouldn't be here," Robinson said. "You shouldn't be a professional basketball player.
“No matter if you get one minute or 15 minutes, take some pride, take some pride for Sacramento, the City, even though we don’t have fans. Take pride in your home court. Take pride of what’s on your jersey, your last name, whatever it that you’ve got to put in your mindset.”
Things do get a little easier in the Kings' next game, as they'll take on the New Orleans Pelicans, which currently rank 27th in points per game (105.9).
We're still very early in the season, but if the Kings want to avoid making history, they'll need to step up their efforts Sunday.