Believe it or not, the NBA's regular season is six weeks away. To get you ready, Crossover Chronicles will be profiling a team each day for the next six weeks. This week is the Pacific Division. Today is the Sacramento Kings.
2011-12 Record: 22-44
Key Losses: J.J. Hickson (signed with Portland), Terrence Williams (free agent), Donte Greene (free agent)
Key Acquisitions: Thomas Robinson (draft), Aaron Brooks (signed from Phoenix), James Johnson (traded from Toronto)
|Isaiah Thomas||Marcus Thornton||Tyreke Evans||Thomas Robinson||DeMarcus Cousins|
|Aaron Brooks||John Salmons||Francisco Garcia||Travis Outlaw||Jason Thompson|
|Jimmer Fredette||Tyler Honeycutt||James Johnson||Chuck Hayes|
The Kings have a lot of young talent that could project out to be pretty good. You know in a perfect world where everyone fulfills their potential.
Tyreke Evans is a former rookie of the year and could become that player again even after the worst season of his three-year career. DeMarcus Cousins averaged 18.1 points per game and grabbed 11.0 rebounds per game, showing some maturity after a disheartening start to the season. The hope is that the two will continue to mature and be able to grow and play together.
Isaiah Thomas was a real bright spot and, as part of the maturity from Evans last year, took over the point guard spot and flourished in that role. Thomas averaged 11.5 points per game and 4.1 assists per game. The trick will be doing it over teh course of an 82-game season.
Then there is still the untapped hopes from Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons and Francisco Garcia. Each player could be much better than their production, but just have not reached that potential yet. Bring in rookie Thomas Robinson, and there is a reason to think a foundation is there.
So Sacramento is growing from a base. …
The problem is, of course, Sacramento has been building off a base of some sort and going nowhere for the last six years at least, if not a bit longer as the Chris Webber era ended. The Kings thought they had something when they tried to pair Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans with a young big man like DeMarcus Cousins, who fell to them at the fifth pick.
That has not come to fruition. Both have had issues behind closed doors and neither has developed on schedule. Evans has regressed and Sacramento is not even sure if it will re-sign him this offseason. Cousins has shown some solid developments both on the court and off, but he will not be confused for a star player any time soon.
There just is no wow factor for this team if Evans continues his decline. Cousins is good, but hardly a superstar player to really build a franchise around. At least, he does not seem to be at this point in his career. This team should certainly be better than it currently is, but it just feels like its ceiling is low.
Whatever rebuilding project Sacramento had planned probably has been scrapped a few times already. It seems with Evans preparing to enter free agency that another reset of some sort is in the works. That is not what fans in Sacramento want to hear.
The thing Kings fans really do not want to hear is anything from the Maloof Brothers aside from "We have agreed to stay in Sacramento."
The arena issue in Northern California might be the biggest cloud and story line on this season for the Kings. The Maloof brothers have alienated fans to George Shinn levels in Charlotte. Except the Kings fans actually care about their team in a much deeper way than the Hornets fans did (not to over-generalize… I remember seeing upset Hornets fans show up in Orlando for the 2002 Playoffs to support their team and plead with Shinn to keep the team in the Queen City … Twitter also did not exist yet).
The Maloof Brothers are enemy No. 1 in the city after apparently reaching a deal to build a new arena with the city and then finding a way to prevent the deal from closing. There are still a lot of fights left in this battle. The fans ultimately are the ones that face the casualty and so they are the ones most upset at this point.
And Sacramento fans have to be leery of their neighbors to the north in Seattle securing the financing for a new arena.
This is the distraction for the season and the big one that will keep the Kings from taking that next step forward. it will not be pretty.
Have thoughts or predictions on the Kings? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line @CrossoverNBA on Twitter or join the discussion by hashtagging #KingsDay. We will be back with a closer look at the Kings throughout the day.