Kings Tie NBA Record By Missing Playoffs for 15th Consecutive Season

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 14, 2021

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 11: Luke Walton # of the Sacramento Kings looks on in the first quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden 1 Center on May 11, 2021 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings have now missed the playoffs 15 straight times—an NBA record—after they were eliminated from postseason contention following a 116-110 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

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The Sacramento Kings will miss the playoffs for a 15th straight season. <br><br>It's tied for the longest streak in NBA history. pic.twitter.com/PSHlW6hUL5

The Los Angeles Clippers franchise previously owned the playoff-less record alone, missing the postseason from the 1976-77 through 1990-91 seasons, per John Schuhmann of NBA.com.

The Kings' only hope for a postseason berth was sneaking into the play-in tournament as the No. 10 seed over the San Antonio Spurs.

However, the 33-37 Spurs own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the 31-39 Sacramento Kings with each team having two games remaining, so Sacramento has no way of jumping the Spurs into the play-in field.

The Kings found much success in the eight seasons before the current drought, making the playoffs eight straight times. They even nearly went to the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals before losing a closely contested (and highly controversial) seven-game series to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Sacramento hasn't found itself in that round ever since.

The Kings haven't been particularly close to making the playoffs in any season prior to this one either, notably going through 2008-2018 without winning more than 33 games in a single campaign.

This year was challenging for the Kings, as injuries and illness forced many players to the sidelines for long stretches. Buddy Hield is notably the only King who has missed fewer than nine games this season. Still, the team fought hard down the stretch, going 6-1 despite missing De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Harrison Barnes.

The notoriously tough Western Conference is filled with superstars and formidable teams every year, and making the playoff field from there is a yearly gauntlet.

However, the Kings certainly have the talent to break through that streak next year, with Fox and Haliburton notably starring in 2020-21 and showcasing potential for further greatness.


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