The Kings haven't made the NBA playoffs in 14 seasons and the way they've played over the last week, that streak might extend to 15 seasons.
Following the Kings' 118-110 loss to the Miami Heat at Golden 1 Center on Thursday night, TNT's Inside the NBA crew -- Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O'Neal -- discussed the failings of Sacramento over the last decade. The conversation went in several different directions over a five-minute period.
"Kenny, what is it?" Barkley asked. "You've gotten rid of all your coaches, you got rid of all your front office (people) and they still not going forward they've had a lottery pick the last 10-15 years. "
"There's a lot of teams that, they try to build a championship team, but then don't know how to build a championship organization," Smith said. "Two different things. Championship team is getting players. Get the best players. Building the organization builds the structure where those guys can thrive in the environment and at no point, do you ever look at it and go 'That's a destination for a free agent, that's a great destination for this trade' because you never understand what they are doing. Two different things. There are teams who have won championships, but don't have a championship organization and then they just falter out because they've got talent. Sacramento is acquiring talent. They say 'Oh this coach is winning, let's grab him. Oh, this player is playing (well), let's grab him. This guy did great in college, let's grab him. Buddy Hield, [Marvin] Bagley. No. Talent doesn't do it. You have to build a championship organization all throughout the things which will allow people to flourish."
At that point, Johnson jokingly blamed Shaq, who is an investor in the Kings' franchise.
"The lottery picks have been in and out," Shaq said. "Play has been inconsistent. Listen, they're still young."
"Shaq, we've been saying that for 10 years," Barkley said.
"Denver's young, Philly's young, Utah's young," Smith said, eluding to teams that have winning records or are at the top of the NBA standings.
"De'Aaron Fox is the franchise player," Shaq said. "We have to build around him."
"But all them other guys been there before he got there," Barkley said.
"And listen. They wasn't producing," Shaq responded. "DeMarcus Cousins was there and we never made the playoffs, so like you said Kenny, I kind of agree with you, we need some young talent and some older talent that mess together."
Warriors star forward Draymond Green, who made appearances on "Inside The NBA" last summer as a guest analyst, heard what Shaq said about Cousins and fired off a tweet.
Green has made the argument time after time that when a player doesn't succeed on a certain team, maybe we should blame the franchise for not putting the player in a position to succeed rather than saying the player isn't good. Last season, Green used Marquese Chriss' Suns tenure as an example. And now, clearly Green didn't like Shaq's comments about Cousins, who was drafted by the Kings in 2010 and played for the Warriors during the 2018-19 season.
The lengthy conversation wrapped up with Shaq referring to a preseason prediction that the Kings would make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
Shaq: "Did I say they were making the playoffs?"
Barkley: "You say that every year."
Shaq: "Did I say that?"
Barkley: "Shaq, you said they're going to make it every year. You've been wrong every year."
Shaq: "They're going to make the playoffs. We're only two games out."
Ernie: "Kings will make the playoffs?"
Kenny: "Come on Shaq."
Shaq: "Bro, we're only two games out."
Kenny: "No, you're not making the playoffs."
Shaq: "We're two games out."
Kenny: "You're not better than Denver or Golden State."
Shaq: "We're only two games out."
Kenny: "You're not better than Memphis. You're not better than Dallas. You're not even better than New Orleans."
Barkley: "Hey, you're probably not even better than the Rockets."
In fact, the Kings only are one game behind the Mavericks for the No. 10 seed in the West. With the play-in round being adopted for both conferences this season, the top 10 teams in each league will advance to the postseason.
The Kings don't look like the playoff team Shaq thinks they are, but with the expanded playoffs, a solid run could get Sacramento into the postseason.