How Kings’ playoff experience stacks with the West


Act like you’ve been there before. The Sacramento Kings have applied this advice in regards to their playoff drought.

By adding Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli, Caron Butler, James Anderson and Kosta Koufos in free agency this offseason, the Kings reinforced their locker room with veterans who have seen first-hand what it takes to reach the postseason. Now Sacramento’s roster is its most accomplished since the team drafted DeMarcus Cousins in 2010.

Below is a chart listing the Kings players’ combined playoff appearances, playoff minutes and previous championship wins entering the season. Players acquired during the season were also noted. (Beno Udrih accounted for both Finals wins on the 2010-11 team as a member of the 2005 and 2007 San Antonio Spurs.)

 Sacramento Kings Total playoff appearances Total playoff minutes Players’ championships
2010-11 123 1,770 2
2011-12 76 1,434 0
2012-13 93 1,966 0
2013-14 187 3,798 0
2014-15 239 5,343 0
2015-16 290 7,848 2

Below is how the Kings’ cumulative playoff experience compares to their Western Conference competition as of August 21.

Total playoff appearances Total playoff minutes Players’ championships
San Antonio Spurs 1,117 33,995 18
Memphis Grizzlies 577 20,472 3
Los Angeles Clippers 600 19,316 1
Dallas Mavericks 478 14,890 2
Los Angeles Lakers 390 12,891 5
Golden State Warriors 480 12,760 11
Minnesota Timberwolves 363 12,673 2
Houston Rockets 350 10,431 2
Oklahoma City Thunder 364 10,222 0
Sacramento Kings 290 7,848 2
New Orleans Pelicans 286 6,558 3
Portland Trail Blazers 181 3,322 2
Denver Nuggets 144 3,304 0
Phoenix Suns 148 2,948 1
Utah Jazz 21 448 0

The Kings may no longer be strangers to playoff mileage, but a postseason berth in 2016 would be almost required to improve their ranking among the West’s seasoned contenders.

Young cores like the 2014-15 New Orleans Pelicans prove playoff experience isn’t essential to find success. But whether you under or overrate its impact, familiarity with the big stage can’t hurt a maturing club like the Kings.

The additions of proven NBA winners is a must for a young nucleus.  If the team hopes to improve, there must be multiple voices in the room preaching what it takes to get to the league’s second season.  The new influx of talent in Sacramento accounts for 244 of the team’s 290 games of playoff experience and all but 879 minutes of team’s career playoff minutes.  Vlade Divac didn’t just load the roster with more talent, he added a missing ingredient.

George Karl has coached 180 playoff games over his long career, coming away with an 80-105 record. When he looks around the locker room this season, he will have plenty of experienced eyes staring back at him.


Rui Thomas
Rui Thomas is a writer and reporter for Cowbell Kingdom. He previously covered the Sacramento Kings and the NBA for Sports Out West. He is published by Sports Illustrated’s Truth and Rumors and Yahoo Sports NFL among others.

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