Bobby Jackson

How Kings' playoff chances are affected by NBA's Orlando scenarios

How Kings' playoff chances are affected by NBA's Orlando scenarios

You can almost hear the sound of basketballs bouncing off the gym floor.

The NBA is doing their due diligence in an attempt to restart the 2019-20 season after it was derailed in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic began shutting down the country.

The latest information is encouraging, but nothing is certain. We are in uncharted waters and commissioner Adam Silver is mulling over a mountain of options as he tries to do what’s best for the league.

“The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing,” league official Mike Bass said in a statement on Saturday.

“Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place.”

A handful of Kings players have been filtering into the team’s practice facility for almost two weeks. They’re working out under strict guidelines laid out by the league and so far, they’ve done so without incident.

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An NBA source told NBC Sports California that the Kings will defer to the NBA on the subject of potentially resuming the season and what that might entail.

According to assistant coach Bobby Jackson, the solo workouts have been spirited and from the conversations he’s had, the Kings’ players would love to come back and finish off the season.

“Honestly, I think the guys want to play basketball,” Jackson said on the latest edition of the Purple Talk podcast. “I think they want to play in a safe environment though and I know the NBA will do a great job of putting us in a great environment that will allow us to be safe.”

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, teams were given a questionnaire this week that will likely impact the way this season concludes.

The league appears to be focused on Orlando as their possible landing spot to finish the season, but they are open to shortening the season, using a play-in tournament or just skipping straight to the postseason.

Out of all of these options, a play-in tournament might be the most appealing to the Kings. If the league were to resume the regular season, it would be tough to imagine them fitting in all 18 remaining games on the Kings’ schedule.

When the league was put on pause on March 11, the Kings were tied for the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, just three and a half games behind the Memphis Grizzlies with 18 games remaining.

In a race that could come down to the final two or three games of the season, any reduction in games would likely hurt the Kings’ chances. As the standings currently sit, the Kings are in a three-way tie with the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans for ninth place.

Portland has played two more games than both the Kings and Pelicans, so they hold a slight win percentage advantage. The Blazers and Kings have split the season series 2-2. New Orleans won their season series against Portland 3-0 and they have a 1-0 advantage over the Kings, with two head-to-head games remaining.

Sacramento would not only need to come out ahead of the Blazers and Pelicans, but they also need to track down the Grizzlies. The Kings won the season series 3-1 over the Grizzlies, but making up three and a half games isn’t an easy feat.

Memphis had one of the most difficult remaining schedules out of any team, but that could change dramatically if they don’t have to complete their entire schedule.

Heading straight to the playoffs would be bad for Sacramento as well, unless the league expanded to 20, 22 or 24 teams for the tournament. As the standings sit now, the Kings would need the league to allow at least 20 teams and potentially 22 teams into the postseason.

[RELATED: Jackson insists players want to finish season]

A play-in tournament would at least give the Kings a fighting chance to end their 13-season postseason drought. We have no idea what that tournament might look like at this point, but the Kings would likely be involved.

There are still plenty of moving pieces for the league to nail down, but it appears they are forging ahead and taking input on the finer details.

The only thing we know for certain is that fans will have to watch games from the comfort of their homes if and when the league returns. It’s painful to imagine, but there is a possibility that the Kings could snap their postseason drought, but not get to host the first ever home playoff game at Golden 1 Center.

Karl Malone admits Kings' Chris Webber had 'more talent' than he did

Karl Malone admits Kings' Chris Webber had 'more talent' than he did

Between ESPN’s "The Last Dance" and the need for content during the coronavirus pandemic, NBA legends are coming out of the woodwork.

Media outlets are chasing some of the biggest stars from the 1990s to chat about Michael Jordan, the Bulls dynasty and the Dream Team. Those conversations are opening up even more areas of conversation.

On a recent episode of Barstool's Pardon My Take, legendary NBA power forward Karl Malone stopped in for a video podcast. To call the set up strange would be an understatement.

Malone, sitting shirtless with some sort of dead animal fashioned into a hat in a room filled with big game hunting exploits, gave his opinion on a myriad of subjects. The hosts of the show also chose to remove their shirts, for at least part of the interview.

Like he did during his playing days, Malone threw some elbows in a bizarre Old Spice commercial meets Joe Exotic interview.

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Of his many claims, many of which were spot on, Malone listed three fellow power forwards who had more God-given ability than he did, but didn’t quite reach the same level of play.

“I’m going to tell you three guys that had more talent than Karl Malone -- Chris Webber, Derrick Coleman and Charles Barkley,” Malone said. “More talent. More talent. But, they didn’t outwork me.”

Malone began lifting weights during his time at Louisiana Tech. He was an NBA strongman and the use of weight training helped him stay healthy and on the court during his 19-season Hall of Fame career.

“I would never use the term, ‘He was better than me,’” Malone explained. “More talented is different.”

Barkley is already in the Hall of Fame alongside Malone. Coleman was a really good player for about half of his 15 year career, but he never lived up to the billing that came with being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft.

Webber’s career was filled with twists and turns, but like Malone admitted, his talent was undeniable. Webber’s run with the Kings in the late 1990s and early 2000s elevated him to superstar status, although it was short lived due to a catastrophic knee injury during the 2003 NBA playoffs.

Of the players mentioned, Coleman has no chance of making the Hall of Fame due to some personality quirks and the way his game fell off so dramatically at the midway point.

Webber has been passed over during the last few years, but there is no question that he has Hall of Fame credentials.

On the latest edition of the Purple Talk podcast, two of Webber’s former teammates in Bobby Jackson and Doug Christie spoke of him as a teammate. Both believe the five-time All-Star is more than deserving of enshrinement into the Hall.

“He set the tone of being unselfish and I think that speaks to who he was even more,” Christie said. “Undoubtedly, in opinion, he’s a Hall of Famer, no doubt.”

With an unselfishness on the court, the Kings were the greatest show on court. They moved the ball with a freedom and creativity that has rarely been matched, and Webber’s skill set fit perfectly into the system.

“For me, I think Chris was way more talented than [Malone],” Jackson said. “I think Karl had a more polished Hall of Fame career.”

“Chris, I think, is one of the most talented big men I’ve ever seen with his ball handling, his shooting, his passing and he was also a great teammate,” Jackson added.

According to Jackson, the team knew that Webber was their leader. During his time in Sacramento, the Kings were a perennial playoff team, making it as far as the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

“I think he is a Hall of Famer, if you look at his numbers, if you look at his career,” Jackson said. “He didn’t win an NBA championship here in Sacramento, but he allowed us the glory and he gave us a gust of wind that we needed to be relevant.”

There was a stretch where the Kings were considered the best team in basketball, but that all came to an abrupt end when Webber took a bad step on May 8, 2003 and needed microfracture surgery on his left knee.

Webber would go on to play parts of five seasons in the league after the injury, but he was never the same player and was forced to retire during the 2007-08 season at the age of 35.

“He couldn’t practice because his knee was inflamed, but man, he would come out and get you 20 and 10 like it was nothing,” Jackson said. “He wasn’t really moving, he didn’t have the explosiveness, but just imagine if he was healthy and he had the lift ... the damage he would have done.”

[RELATED: Mullin recalls Webber dominating Dream Team]

Webber’s career stats clearly state his case for enshrinement. When he retired, he was one of five players in NBA history to average more than 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists per game. The other four players are Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird and Billy Cunningham.

It should be noted that during the Kings’ 35 seasons in Sacramento, they have made the postseason 10 times. Seven of those times, Webber started the season on the roster.

How golden-era Kings have stayed close unlike Michael Jordan's Bulls

How golden-era Kings have stayed close unlike Michael Jordan's Bulls

ESPN’s "The Last Dance" is over, but the 10-part documentary series seems to have stirred up some unresolved feelings amongst Michael Jordan’s former Chicago Bulls teammates.

On nearly a daily basis, there is a new report about someone who is upset. Horace Grant called Jordan a "snitch." Scottie Pippen reportedly is “livid” with his ex-running mate, and poor Scott Burrell might want to read up on "Stockholm syndrome" after the mugging he took during the documentary.

While the Bulls sliced through the NBA like a well-oiled machine, they clearly had issues behind the scenes and the documentary has opened up some old wounds.

Current Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson played against Jordan during his career, and he said this week that other players' perceptions of Jordan ultimately matched the portrayal of him in "The Last Dance."

“Mike didn’t care who he pissed off and who he rubbed the wrong way to win games and come in with a competitive environment every single day,” Jackson said on the latest episode of the "Purple Talk" podcast. “I’ve heard he was a really good teammate, but I’ve heard he could be a really bad teammate also.”

[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Basketball teams usually form an interesting family bond. They travel together, spending hours working out and practicing. That often leads to close friendships. To see the Bulls take shots at each other almost 25 years later is uncomfortable to watch, but it has a lot to do with the way their life has now been put on display for so many to see.

Jackson's Kings didn’t have the same success as Jordan's Bulls, but they were a really good basketball team that made eight straight playoff appearances. The core of those squads remains close to this day and many are still associated with the franchise.

Vlade Divac is the general manager. Peja Stojakovic is his assistant GM, and Jackson is part of the coaching staff. Doug Christie works as a color commentator on the team’s broadcast and many of the other Kings from the turn of the century regularly come back to visit.

Was everything perfect during their time together? Absolutely not, but the bonds forged during their time as teammates are still strong to this day. They would push each other in practice to achieve more, but it was with the intention of making one another better.

“I always felt that for me to go at you, to go at Mike [Bibby] -- that’s the way to show your teammate love,” Christie said during the podcast. “Also, I want to know that I ain’t going into no fox hole with no punk. When we get out there, you are going to have my back.”

Chris Webber was the team’s superstar, but the rest of the squad was filled with talented players who seamlessly into coach Rick Adelman’s system. The basketball was beautiful to watch, and the players genuinely liked one other.

“We allowed each other to police each other and hold each other accountable,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t just one guy. I think we had a collected group of guys that held everyone accountable, and we didn’t feel like we were bigger than the team.”

[RELATED: Resume the NBA season? Jackson says Kings players in]

Players from the Kings' golden era often sit together on the sidelines before games. They have inside jokes and poke fun at one another, but they also are incredibly loyal to each other and have built lifelong friendships.

Would Jackson or Christie trade their experience for Jordan’s? Maybe, but they certainly wouldn’t want to give up the friendships they still rely on to this day.