Oh Lord, its time for Kings Basketball. Paper bags anyone? Seriously, I write this preview with a heavy heart, and an unsettled stomach. This could possibly be the last season of Kings Basketball in the “great” city of Sacramento. I don’t even want to think about it. It’s almost as depressing as the Kings season outlook. Well, I guess there is a season to be played, so let’s break down where our team is at.
Isaiah Thomas 11.5 PPG, 4.1 APG, 2.6 RPG, .448 FG%
-Everybody in our fan base says Isaiah Thomas is the future of the franchise at the point guard position. I just don’t see it. He’s a good point guard, don’t get me wrong. But I just don’t see him leading this team for years to come. He’ll have the ball in his hands come opening night, but rest assured, Aaron Brooks will be breathing down his neck all season.
Tyreke Evans 16.5 PPG, 4.5 APG, 4.6 RPG, .453 FG%
-This is a make or break year for Tyreke. It’s as simple as that. The fans are calling for his head and management has heard their cries. He needs to continue to develop his jump shot, or he’ll find himself traded by midseason.
James Johnson 9.1 PPG, 2.0 APG, 4.7 RPG, .450% (With Toronto Raptors)
-I expect James Johnson to get the starting nod in Chicago at SF. After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Keith Smart could rotate between Johnson, John Salmons, Tyreke Evans, and Travis Outlaw. This position is still by far the Kings biggest question mark, and I don’t expect it to be answered this season.
Jason Thompson 9.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.2 APG, .535FG%
-JT is a good sport, and will start at PF while Thomas Robinson takes time to develop. At the first sight of T-Rob balling out, he will be relegated back to his bench role. Personally, I think he’s more productive in that role. It’s just at this point, with a rookie PF, and Chuck Hayes, Thompson is a better option in the starting lineup.
Demarcus Cousins 18.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, .448FG%
-Boogie is pretty much the only untradeable player on this team. There’s no question he’ll be in the starting lineup all season, and may even be an all-star. This team is only going to go as far as he and Tyreke Evans take it, so the pressure is squarely on his shoulders to lead.
Marcus Thornton 18.7 PPG, 1.9 APG, 3.7 RPG, .438FG%
-I’m quite surprised Thornton agreed to this role. If you’ve ever watched a Kings game, and saw his demeanor on the court, you’d understand why. This guy has a mean mug that would scare even the toughest criminals. The organization expects him to continue to score in his bench role and hopes he will become more of a James Harden-type player. Since he’s coming off the pine now, all he really has to focus on is scoring. It won’t be his responsibility to check Kobe, or Dwyane Wade every night anymore.
Key Role Player:
Jimmer Fredete- He’s still making his transition into the NBA, and I think it’s still a work in progress.
Aaron Brooks- Brooks will be a contributor in a crowded backcourt, for now. He should be a starter by February if he’s still got any of his 2009 flair.
Thomas Robinson- Another key player for the time being. If he develops quickly, he will be in the starting lineup sooner than later. He’s NBA-ready on defense and the boards; however, his offense needs a touch up. It’s not as bad as Andre Drummond, but shooting 33% in Summer League should tell you something.
John Salmons- Salmons brings consistency to this very young Kings squad. If you look at him on the court, he has a very stoic look on his face. He’s never too up, or too down. His energy on the defensive end, coupled with T-Rob’s tenacity, should help this defense -depleted team.
Not So Key Role Players:
Chuck Hayes-Dude needs to earn his contract .Geoff Peitrie had the opportunity to let this guy go without paying him after team doctors discovered a heart murmur last year. Somehow, this encourages Peitrie to give him MORE money on the second contract.
Francisco Garcia-How this guy is still on the team is mind boggling. “Cisco kid” should’ve been traded years ago.
Travis Outlaw-We’re still waiting on the Portland Trailblazers version of Outlaw.
Tyler Honeycutt-He’ll be in the D-League by Thanksgiving. Kind of reminds me of a kid buried on our bench named Hassan Whiteside.
Best Case Scenario: 35-47
Worst Case Scenario: 20-62
No playoffs in Sacramento for a 6th straight year. Brace yourselves Kings Fans; it’s going to be another long season.