How Kevin Huerter compares Giannis' 'failure' response to Kings' season
How Huerter compares Giannis' 'failure' reply to Kings' season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
After the Eastern Conference top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks were upset by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked if he viewed the team's 2022-23 NBA season as a failure.
His lengthy and emotionally-driven response, which was summed up basically as “absolutely not”, quickly went viral.
The Kings, who entered their first playoffs since 2006 as the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, also were eliminated in the first round by the Golden State Warriors in a Northern California showdown that went all the way to Game 7.
Kings sharpshooter Kevin Huerter reflected on Antetokounmpo’s comments and shared whether he believes the same “failure” label for Milwaukee's season applied to Sacramento’s season.
“I think the situations are different,” Huerter said on a recent episode of “The Old Man and the Three,” which was released Thursday. “I respect Giannis ‘cause I haven’t been in his shoes, that guy’s got a ring behind him. I think it’s a different situation for them as a team that’s won a championship, that core has been together for years, and being the No. 1 seed and what I thought was the best team in the NBA all year, losing like that in the first round I think is a different situation to us.
“Obviously, [it was] our first year together as a team, everything’s so brand new as a team and an organization. Just being in the playoffs felt brand new. So there’s a lot of new things for us that I think everybody on the outside, especially our fans, were just happy with us being in the playoffs. So the expectation was getting there and everything else was going to be gravy. But interior, on the team side, the player side, we had higher goals. We thought we were the better team in that series, we thought we had the makings to put together a run and win a couple rounds and try to do something special this year -- and we didn’t.
“But I think for us, it’s easier to flip the page and look forward to next year, just thinking like ‘Alright, if we did this in Year 1, let’s see what we can do in Year 2 and Year 3 and Year 4 as our chemistry continues to build and we get older and we get better as players. It’s a different situation than Milwaukee. I don’t want to relate to Giannis, I’m sure he has a different perspective on a lot of things in the NBA, but I think they definitely had more expectations than we would have given the situations.”
Since entering the league back in 2013, Antetokounmpo and the Bucks have made the playoffs eight times -- four times past the first round. They've made it to the Eastern Conference Finals twice and won it all in the 2020-21 season.
Antetokounmpo is a seven-time All-Star, two-time NBA MVP and Finals MVP.
“It's not a failure; it's steps to success,” Antetokounmpo said after the Bucks' first-round boot. “There's always steps to it. Michael Jordan played 15 years, won six championships. The other nine years was a failure? That's what you're telling me?
“It's a wrong question; there's no failure in sports. There's good days, bad days. Some days you're able to be successful, some days you're not. Some days it's your turn, some days it's not your turn. And that's what sports is about. You don't always win. Sometimes other people win. And this year somebody else is going to win, simple as that.”
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On the flip side, the Kings entered the 2022-23 season with little to no expectations. So when they came up short after taking the defending champs to a Game 7, although not the result they wanted, the Kings' season was anything but a failure.
And as Huerter said, the season only opened the doors to Sacramento's blindingly bright future.