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Kings break NBA record, missing playoffs for 16th straight season

Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors

Apr 3, 2022; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) gestures after a basket against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

When firing coach Rick Adelman – who guided Sacramento to the playoffs all eight of his seasons there – in 2006, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof actually described themselves as “impulsive.”

Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs since.

Ownership, management, coaches and players have all changed. But “basketball hell” keeps its identity.

With their loss to the Warriors last night, the Kings were eliminated from playoff contention for the 16th straight year – breaking the NBA record for longest playoff drought. Sacramento was previously tied with the Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers, who missed the postseason all 15 years from 1977-91.

Here are the longest playoff droughts in NBA history:

pbt kings playoff drought 2022

Just a couple years ago, it seemed the Kings would soon end this horrid streak. Led by De’Aaron Fox, they were young, fast and exciting. They finished 39-43, their best record during this extended gloomy era. But the super team never came to be.

Now, Sacramento seems nearly as far as ever from the playoffs.

The Kings traded productive and promising Tyrese Haliburton in February for Domantas Sabonis, an established All-Star. But Sacramento has gone just 9-15 since. Though the window isn’t closed with Sabonis, the Kings definitely didn’t get their desired immediate boost. They won’t make even the play-in tournament.

Now, they’ll have to go forward without Haliburton. They’ll have to hope Fox bounces back from a disappointing season. They’ll again wish for lottery luck then, if it comes, try not to squander it again.

Attempts at quick fixes that don’t pan out. Backslides. More young prospects.

Sacramento’s seemingly never-ending cycle of losing continues.