The Sacramento Kings tied the record for the longest playoff drought in NBA history this season. Fifteen years have passed since 2006 when Mike Bibby, Kevin Martin, and Ron Artest led the team to their last postseason appearance, and there is no clear end to the unfortunate streak in sight.
But as the 2021 version of the NBA Playoffs tipped off this weekend, there were plenty of names on the court that rang familiar to the ears of Sacramento fans. With so much roster turnover during the Vlade Divac era, there are former Kings scattered all across the league, and some of them are making worthy contributions to their current team’s success.
There were a lot of familiar names on the court over the weekend, none of whom are playing for the Sacramento Kings any longer.
Perhaps the most entertaining game of the weekend was the Knicks against the Hawks. In front of a loud crowd in Madison Square Garden, two former Kings were on center stage with their late-game heroics.
In the first playoff game of his NBA career, Bogdan Bogdanovic brought out the clutch gene that Kings fans knew that he possessed. He had big shots and game-winners during his three years in Sacramento, all of which were shown on local TV and out of the view of the general NBA public. But in looking at his resume from his Euro Ball days, it should come as no surprise that he was a big reason for Atlanta’s success in Game 1.
Bogdanovic scored 18 total points, but it was his three timely three-pointers during the 4th quarter that really made a difference. The first with 8:45 left cut a Knicks lead from six to three, and the second at 3:40 gave the Hawks a one-point lead. With 55 seconds remaining, Bogi erased a three-point Knicks lead, one that they would never get back. Trae Young had the big numbers on the night, but Bogdanovic may have been the true key to the Hawks victory.
Alec Burks’ stay in Sacramento was short. Many Kings fans remember him as the guy who was traded for Iman Shumpert, the leader of the locker room and bringer of the culture during the best season the Kings have had in over a decade. The reasons for the trade are somewhat unknown to this day, as Burks’ impact in Sacramento was minimal at best. He played just 10 minutes per game in 13 appearances, by far the lowest total of his career. He averaged 1.7 points.
Burks enjoyed the best playoff game of his career in Game 1. He scored 18 of his 27 points in the 4th quarter by hitting 5 of his 8 shots from the field, while the rest of the team put up a combined 14.