2. Chicago must directly address team needs
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of the many fans to mock the Kings after their shocking decision to trade Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana for Domantas Sabonis. After a massively successful rookie season, it seemed like a terrible idea.
Well, I was wrong. Very wrong.
As it turns out, Sacramento actually understood their own team’s needs better than anyone else. Who would have thought? Prior to the trade, the Kings had virtually no inside game because they lacked a dominant big man. As much as I like Richaun Holmes, his offensive game is far from elite, he’s an average defender at best, and his size makes him a massive liability on the boards.
Adding Sabonis immediately cured the Kings’ ailments by addressing Holmes’ two biggest weaknesses and allowed point guard De’Aaron Fox to run a deadly pick-and-roll in the halfcourt. With the ball in his hands more often, Fox also got a better feel for his own game by not playing hot potato with Haliburton on every other possession. Both Fox and Haliburton have improved massively since the trade, and Sabonis is playing the best basketball of his career, so I think both sides feel more than happy with how they made out here.
On top of all that, Sacramento did an impeccable job over the offseason by drafting Keegan Murray (ahead of the highly-touted Jaden Ivey, no less) and signing free agents Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk. The Kings knew they now had the talent to win games, and that surrounding them with shooters would be a recipe for success. Huerter and Monk have each taken big steps forward in their games this season, while Murray just shattered the three-point record for rookies while hitting over 40% from deep.
If the Bulls had made the same proactive decisions, instead of sitting on their hands and preaching about “continuity”, it’s very likely they would be joining the Kings in the playoffs instead of sitting as a fringe play-in tournament team.