The fans of the Sacramento Kings are finally free of the tyranny of the Maloof brothers. They have fled back to Vegas, while the Kings remain home in the capital of California. Sacramento now has a new owner, GM and coach in place, ridding themselves of a triad of incompetence. Long term we still have to see if these were the right moves, but early on they've all said and done the right things.
The Kings had a good base and they added to it in the offseason; picking up the most underrated point guard in the whole league, a versatile wing player and an undersized power forward who loves to bang and out hustle everyone.
This definitely has the makings of one of those teams that you are going to check out on League Pass from time to time.
Head Coach: After being an assistant coach for twenty years through the college and NBA ranks, Mike Malone is finally getting a chance to be a head coach in the league. Malone has been one of the most highly regarded assistants for nearly a decade, bringing a tough to crack defensive scheme with him at each of his stops.
He honestly should have gotten his first head coaching gig after the amazing job he did with the Hornets during the 2010-11 season. The Hornets gave up 8.7 fewer points a game that season with him as their defensive assistant.
Malone has a very young and impressionable team that he can mold. He's brought former Raptors head coach, Brendan Malone to go with Micah Nori and former players Chris Jent, Dee Brown, Ryan Bowen and Corliss Williamson, with him to the bench.
Last Season's Record: 28-54
Player Losses: Former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Player Additions: Carl Landry and Trent Lockett were the lone free agent signings. "The General" Greivis Vasquez and Luc Mbah a Moute came to Sacramento via trades and Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum were the draft picks from June.
Best Player: When he's absolutely focused and into basketball, DeMarcus Cousins is an unstoppable monster. When he is plugged in he's capable of delivering 30-20 games. If he's not plugged in... well he might have more technical fouls than points and rebounds combined by the end of the first quarter. Mike Malone is going to have a huge project on his hands to get Cousins to play hard and consistently every night out on the court.
Worst Player: If Travis Outlaw retired today would there be more apathy or would there be a big party?
Player due to breakthrough: Greivis Vasquez. He's going to win Most Improved Player this year. He should have won it last year... well if it wasn't for that Paul George guy.
The Starters: PG Greivis Vasquez, SG Ben McLemore, SF Luc Mbah a Moute, PF Jason Thompson and C DeMarcus Cousins.
The Bench: Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton will be the main backup guards, John Salmons and Carl Landry at forward and Chuck Hayes will be the backup center.
Random Seattle Connection: Isaiah Thomas is from Tacoma, went to school at UW and he's a Pizza Guy!
Best Case Scenario for the Season: Malone gets Cousins playing at full potential this season, Ben McLemore discovers his fifth and sixth gears, Vasquez leads the league in assists and wins Most Improved Player and the Kings land one more top ten pick to pick up that blue chip wing player they sorely need.
Worst Case Scenario for the Season: Malone and Cousins clash all year putting the franchise in a real dire situation early and figuring out who they have to back; the coach or franchise player. McLemore stays timid and eventually loses his starting spot to Thornton. Isaiah Thomas never figures out how to play defense.
Most Likely Scenario for the Season: There is going to be improvement in Sacramento, but how much? A lot of the players on the roster have been covered in a losing culture for the last few years. It's going to take a bit for the Kings to come out of that. I expect to see a much more improved Cousins, especially with a point guard who can get him the ball in the positions he wants.
I cannot state how much adding Vasquez as the starting point guard is going to improve the overall culture of the team on and off the court. I could honestly write 15,000 words on great and underrated Vasquez is.
I'm also incredibly biased toward him.
The Kings are going to better, play in much tighter games throughout the year and with a few breaks could come really close to 40 wins. The talent and leadership is now in place.
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Sacramento Kings:†Sactown Royalty |†Baller Mind Frame
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