Lowe: Kings' ‘nightmare' offense crucial to playoff success


As the Kings’ storybook season continues, their explosive offense has reached historic numbers the NBA never has seen before. 

Sacramento has the highest offensive rating of all-time at 119.0, which has helped make up for its defensive flaws and remain a top No. 3 seed in the Western Conference since January. 

Because of their disastrous defense, though, ESPN’s Zach Lowe believes the Kings must use their unique offensive schemes to their advantage in order to succeed in Sacramento's first playoff appearance since 2006. 

Lowe points out how Sacramento’s “turbo-charged offense” was said to be a concern because of fatigue and the Kings’ inability to sustain it. But 78 games into this season, they’ve managed it just fine. 

"Sacramento's urgency and speed never waned," Lowe wrote. "Its offense got better with time, surging to No. 1 and then opening distance over the field. It added layers to every subset of actions -- and then piled layers atop those layers.

"The Kings are a nightmare to defend. Bodies zoom around you, and you have no real idea where they will go and when." 

The shift in their offensive explosion points primarily to the engine of their offense, three-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis. His screen setting mixed with his unselfish play has helped create opportunities for, well, literally everybody on the floor. 

And the De’Aaron Fox-Sabonis pick-and-roll work is that of a masterpiece. It’s what youth basketball coaches teach and preach starting at a young age, and the duo embodies it perfectly. 

The pick-and-roll has become so lethal and hard to guard for opposing teams that as defenders close in on Fox or Sabonis, the other three Kings players on the court never stop moving without the ball, creating a variety of options for Sacramento and a "nightmare" situation for defenders. 

Plus, Fox’s quickness and ability to get to the basket within a flash often draws in a double-team, allowing the Kings point guard to find sharpshooters like Kevin Huerter or Keegan Murray behind the arc to nail the wide-open three, or find a fast-cutting Harrison Barnes for the easy layup. 

RELATED: Kings' loss to Spurs exposes concerning playoff traits

The Kings run 37 handoffs per 100 possessions, per Second Spectrum, good for a far-ahead No. 1 in the league, and have scored 1.09 points per possession when one of those handoffs leads directly to a shot. 

While Sacramento's defensive deficiency and lack of playoff experience make the team an easy target in the postseason, Lowe believes their offensive eruptions can help elevate them to a position of winning multiple rounds in the playoffs. 

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