Why Brown knew Kings turnaround could come quicker than expected

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  • Programming note: "Kings Central" with coach Mike Brown debuts on NBC Sports California on Monday night before "Kings Pregame Live."

The Kings' breakout 2022-23 NBA season has Sacramento approaching its first playoff appearance since 2006, and new coach Mike Brown is a huge reason why.

But the former Golden State Warriors assistant knew a turnaround was in the Kings' future long before he signed on to lead them, he recently told NBC Sports California's Kyle Draper.

"To try and turn this thing around, it was a big, big goal of ours," Brown told Draper on the latest episode of "Kings Central," noting he brought now-Kings assistants Jordi Fernández and Luke Loucks with him as he interviewed for different head-coaching jobs last year.

"... We talked about this [Kings] job before actually getting it, and one of the things that we always said was the potential is just off the charts, and that you look at what [owner Vivek Ranadivé] has done with our arena and the surrounding area to the arena, and knowing that the money that they already put into it wasn't an issue.

"We felt that with the right talent, starting with [De'Aaron Fox] and [Domantas Sabonis], and knowing you had a guy like [Harrison Barnes] here and then the rest of the guys, we felt that this thing can blow up quicker than anybody expected."

And blow up it did. The Kings, following their 128-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday at Footprint Center, are the Western Conference's No. 2 seed and boast a 40-26 record with 16 regular-season games remaining. At this time last season, Sacramento was No. 13 in the West.

But Brown brought a culture shift to the organization and built upon the team general manager Monte McNair had pieced together, bringing Sabonis on board at the 2022 NBA trade deadline and then adding contributors like Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter in free agency last summer. McNair and Brown then worked together on selecting Keegan Murray No. 4 overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

While it was clear the 2022-23 Kings had the talent to compete this season, it isn't far-fetched to say fans and pundits across the NBA didn't see a turnaround taking place this soon for Sacramento. Brown and his staff knew better.

"This was talk amongst myself and my staff beforehand, and so to actually be a part of it, especially in Year One like this, and seeing the joy on the face of the fans, it's just so satisfying," Brown told Draper. "It's hard to put into words."

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Now, the Kings have their sights set on their first postseason appearance in 16 seasons. And, who knows -- maybe an NBA title will come to Sacramento much sooner than expected, too.

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