Huerter admits having early doubts about Kings to start season


The Kings are one of the NBA's hottest teams this year after going 16 seasons without a playoff appearance.

But despite their success during the 2022-23 NBA season, Kings guard Kevin Huerter's initial confidence in his new squad wavered at the campaign's start.

"I think everybody's so hesitant [in Sacramento], in some ways, to get super excited about the playoffs because it's just like, now they don't want to jinx themselves," Huerter said Thursday on "The Ryen Russillo Podcast."

The 24-year-old explained that when he was traded from the Atlanta Hawks to the Kings last summer, players who previously had suited up for Sacramento told him there was hope for change -- and wins -- under general manager Monte McNair and new coach Mike Brown.

The Kings' hot preseason start had Huerter thinking the ex-Kings he spoke with might be right.

They went 4-0 in preseason, and three of those wins were 30-plus-point victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers. But then, Sacramento started the regular season 0-4.

"I remember sitting in my backyard, kind of scratching my head thinking, 'Damn, maybe we aren't that good,' " Huerter recalled. "I thought we felt really good in preseason and we were going to come into the season with such a high, but [I thought], 'Is this what it is for Sacramento? For some reason, it's just tough to win?'

"Completely turned everything around after that."

After starting out winless, the Kings went on to win two of their next three then had a seven-game winning streak. In the midst of that hot stretch, Huerter coined the team's catchy nickname in honor of Sacramento's victory beam: The Beam Team.

The Kings haven't looked back since. As of Saturday morning, Sacramento sits in the Western Conference's No. 2 seed at 42-27 and leads the NBA in both points per game (120.9) and true shooting percentage (61.3 percent).

Sacramento's NBA playoff drought is near its end just under a year after the Kings finished with the league's seventh-worst record.

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And while it might have taken some a while to believe it, Huerter and Co. have established themselves as a genuine threat in the West.

"You have to have confidence as a team, you have to see the results in order, in some ways, to believe in the results," Huerter said. "... Luckily we were able to find it and pick it up."

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