Kings Predictions

ESPN analyst lists Kings as Nuggets' biggest challenge in West

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The Denver Nuggets are fresh off their franchise's first NBA Finals win, but already, pundits are talking about who Nikola Jokić and Co. will have to fend off next season if they want to defend their title.

And in the Western Conference, one analyst hopes people don't forget about the Kings.

ESPN's Brian Custer said Wednesday on "Get Up" that Sacramento is Denver's top threat in the West when it comes to repeating as champions. The Kings reached the NBA playoffs during the 2022-23 season for the first time in 17 years, putting up a fight against the defending-champion Golden State Warriors in the opening round before falling in seven games.

Custer expects an encore -- and then some -- from Sacramento in 2023-24.

"I’m going to go with the team you guys probably forgot about. How about the Sacramento Kings?" Custer told the "Get Up" panel. "They’ve got the Coach of the Year in Mike Brown. They’ve got the most clutch guy in the fourth quarter in De’Aaron Fox. Domantas Sabonis? Look, I want him to work on his mid-range game this summer. This is a team that took Golden State to seven."

The other panel members listed the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers as the Nuggets' biggest challengers, though Custer isn't the only TV analyst predicting the Kings will do big things next season. ESPN's Chris "Mad Dog" Russo listed Sacramento as his No. 4 top contender.

But not everyone agrees with such high expectations for the Kings.

"You are tripping, but it's fine," fellow "Get Up" panelist Monica McNutt told Custer.

The Kings certainly aren't bothered by any doubters, as they proved last season by grabbing the West's No. 3 seed. And while Denver might have finished No. 1 and in the conference standings and in the league this season, Sacramento certainly will be looking to surprise the NBA world again by knocking the Nuggets from their throne next year.

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