The Sacramento Kings are an enigma to me. I don’t know who is really running the organization and I haven’t for the past few years now. It seems like the Maloofs are at odds with the staff that they hire at times. Coaching decisions are made sometimes because of what the owner wants, and that’s not very healthy.
I remember when the Kings had a lot of promise. A few years ago they were in the Western Conference Finals just a game away from an NBA finals berth. They are considered one of the greatest teams to not win a championship. During the 2001-2002 season they went 61 and 21. They pushed the duo of Shaq and Kobe to a game 7. The eventual NBA champs would go on to win, but it was still an amazin series. One that I remember to this day.
Their nucleus of Mike Bibby, Chris Webber, and Peja Stojakovic was epic to say the least. They worked very well together and they had the role players to back them up. They had Hedo Turkoglu coming off the bench, Vlade Divac and Scott Pollard also gave them good minutes too. It looked as if the Lakers would be challenged in the west.
They had about 2 or 3 good seasons after that, but in 2005 it just seemed like things fell apart. They dealt Chris Webber to the Philadelphia 76ers because the Maloofs wanted to make a big move. I don’t think it was wise of them to do so because it seemed to me like Webber still had something left in the tank. Now, looking back, they couldn’t develop the chemistry needed to win anymore with the pieces they had and the new ones they acquired like Ron Artest. They couldn’t get the ball rolling and it hasn’t changed since.
Skip ahead to today, I think the Kings are in their worst state in a long time. Their team is what I’d like to call a NBA 2k team. They have 2 possible studs in Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins, they have some extra pieces, most notably their plethora of guards and power forwards, all supposed to mold into a winning team. They’ve been in a “rebuilding state” since 05, but my question is what is rebuilding really? I think its just a term that management uses to keep the fans of an organization at ease. That’s just what the Kings are doing right now, trying to keep everyone at ease.
I’m going to be honest with you all right now, I really, really want the Kings to succeed. As a kid, I rooted for them a lot to take down the Lakers. They were a team that I liked to watch play. I’m a big C Webb guy, used to love Peja’s shot, as a teen looking for basketball love after Jordan they helped me stay into the game. It hurts me to say, but I don’t really think that they know which direction that they want to go in.
Right now, their best players are 2 tweeners and I don’t think thats a good thing. Its good to be versatile, but I think that you need to know what position you are playing. Cousins should be a center but at times he plays like a 4. He also gets disengaged in the game due to his attitude problems sometimes, that’s not what this young team needs. They need players who really want to win, and I think Cousins does, but he does it in the wrong way. He isn’t really the best teammate when it comes to sacraficing for th greater good. Paul Westphal would probably like to run the offense through Cousins and Evans, but Cousins has to realize that he isn’t going to get the ball on every possesion. He has to realize he isn’t Shaquielle O’neal or Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Right now he isn’t even Dwight Howard. When healthy, Tyreke is farther along than Demarcus so it makes more sense to run the offense through him.
I think that Westphal wants to run a system like he did back when he coached Kevin Johnson and Charles Barkley. This is a similar situation in that Barkley was somewhat of a hothead just like Demarcus is now. But another problem that the Kings have is they need Tyreke to play that Kevin Johnson role. I’ve heard that Tyreke is really hard to play with according to players on the Kings and around the NBA. He’s a ball handler that can do many things, but the mistakes that he makes at times are crucial. He doesn’t have the jumper that he needs to have to be a Dwyane Wade type of player yet, but we know that he can be that 20 5 and 5 player we saw his rookie year. I think that he is one of the King’s brightest spots on the roster and when he develops and stays healthy, could be a force in the league.
Now, you have those peices that could be potential greats in the league, they have their problems, but they can still be great players. You have to build around them. The Kings have drafted well in the past few seasons, but this year I question what they’ve done. They drafted Jimmer Freddette with the 10th pick in the draft. I think Jimmer his a point guard, and I don’t think thats a position of need for Sacto. They needed to draft a defensive minded small forward in my opinion. Someone like Chris Singleton or Kawhai Leonard. No its not reaching to pick those two up becuase they were both projected lotto picks.
Instead, they draft an offensive minded guard with amazing range but no defensive skills. They’ll have to hide him on the worst offensive backcorut player every game if he starts, and when he plays. When you play a team like Golden State or Washington with some good guard play, Jimmer faces the possibility of getting lit up. They could’ve went best player available at the time, and I don’t even think that it was Jimmer. I think if you go guard, you’d go Walker before Jimmer. But maybe they saw something that I didn’t. I’m not sure. It just seems to me that the Kings are too guard heavy right now, especially at the point position. They also picked up Washington combo guard Isaiah Thomas. Along with Pooh Jeter and possibly Tyreke Evans, thats 4 point guards.
Also, they have Marcus Thorton and John Salmons. They picked up Salmons in the trade during the draft, and I was like “Are the Kings serious?” I thought that everyone BUT Sacramento won in that trade. Milwaukee got a proven wing scorer, Charloette picked up a valuable draft pick, and what did Sacto get? A “scorer” who is over 30 years old, never made an all star appearance, and is clearly in the twilight of his career; they also lost a proven back up point in Beno Udrih. I think that the move was just something to grab Jimmer and put fans in the seats. After all, they are trying to prevent that move to Anaheim, why not attempt to boost ticket sales. You could do that by winning, but okay…
Now, moving on to the Cleveland trade, Sacramento gave up Omri Casspi, who is a valuable asset at that position for them with their lack of depth at the 3 position, AND a first round lotto protected pick, to the Cavaliers for JJ Hickson. Hickson is another power forward to go along with Donte Greene, Demarcus Cousins, and Jason Thompson. That’s exactly what they needed right, especially with Samuel Dalembert on his way out the door. I bet you could sense the sarcasm in that.
Hickson is an awful rebounder and defensive player. Little to provide on offense also, just another body to run the floor with Tryeke, which could be helpful. But I don’t think its ever a good thing to have too many players of the same type. I could see them trying to get Samardo Samuel off of the Cavs, but they wanted Hickson. I just didn’t understand at all.
Now, as you can see, I’m pretty upset with the Kings organization right now. I’m hoping for the best but prepared for the worst. I’m hoping the move to Anaheim doesn’t go down, it’d be a tragedy to move that franchise. It hurts me to see a franchise trying to get back on its feet but struggling with it. Its one of the worst things in all of sports, to see a powerhouse fall down. But it happens, and when they get through it, I’ll be more than supportive of their organization.