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What the Kings should do when the lockout ends…

Sep 9, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Paul Westphal, Tyreke Evans AP

This is the next installment of PBT’s series of “What your team should do when the lockout ends.” Today it’s the Sacramento Kings. You can also read up on the Lakers, Timberwolves and Mavericks as we start to work our way through all 30 NBA teams.

Last Season: So much for all that dazzling promise. The Kings were like that horse who showed such great potential as a colt, came from good stock, and looked ready to take the race by storm, then just stood there for twenty seconds in the chute, defecated, then fell forward onto its face. DeMarcus Cousins was great… when he wasn’t getting ejected or refusing to work on defense. Tyreke Evans got hurt with the worst possible ailments for a player of his ilk. Nothing came together, the coaching staff was pretty much teetering on pink slips the entire year, and oh, yeah, ownership tried to yank the team out from under the fans. Last year was about as much fun as root canal surgery for everyone in Sacramento, only instead of a dentist, a drunken toddler was the one with the drill. In short: things did not go well.

Changes since we last saw the Kings: Things are different, we’re just not sure if they’re better. The Kings have Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton (assuming they keep Thornton in restricted free agency). Surely they went after a small forward or a point guard to move Evans to SF, right? No no! This is GONZO DRAFT. The Kings traded for… wait for it… John Salmons… and then drafted… Jimmer Fredette. So a team with an abundance of shots and no distributor added two scorers… who don’t distribute! It’s like that song. SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS. Then they whipped popular wing Omri Casspi to the Cavaliers for J.J. Hickson, because what you really need when you have DeMarcus Cousins is a volatile undersized big man. It was a…. weird early summer, let’s put it that way.

When the lockout ends, the Kings need to… Go see a shrink. Collectively. Because this team needs to find itself. Maybe instead of counseling it should take a roadtrip. Get out and see the country, do some pondering on the highways and byways of this great land. (Just don’t head to Anaheim. That could go badly.) The Kings need to figure out who they are and what direction they’re headed. Do they want to win now? Because if so, they should recalibrate to get some defense in the house. Are they a young team? In that case, John Salmons as got to go. Are they a Warriors-like offensive team? Someone’s going to have to handle the ball and run the offense, even if it is a Gonzo exploration of shot selection. (In this scenario, the part of Dr. Thompson will be played by Donte Green.

They’ll need to re-sign Thornton, of course, and the amount that takes may clear up some of the direction in terms of the shooting guard, unless they want Thornton to play the Jason Terry role. It’s probably time to figure out which of their 700 bigs they want to keep and it might be a good idea to find a center, since Samuel Dalembert may go ring chasing. In that case, they’ll need to resist the urge to play Jimmer at center, which is a joke but also kind of not since I have no earthly idea how he fits in with this team.

But again, mostly they need to find a direction. They’re drifting right now. In-between cities, not really in Sacramento, definitely not in Anaheim. In-between stages, not really on the rise, but not really rebuilding. Everything hinges on Tyreke Evans. Can he become a distributor, a playmaker, can he understand he doesn’t have to score? Can Jimmer Fredette stun everyone and take that role? Can DeMarcus Cousins get his head out of his backside long enough to consistently dominate through a season like he’s more than capable of? The Kings have a lot of questions. Next season isn’t about using the answers. They have to find them first.

  1. 00maltliquor - Sep 9, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    PG Tyreke Evans SG Marcus Thornton SF John Salmons (and his nasty beard) PF Jason Thompson C DeMarcus Cousins bench: PG Jimmer Fredette SG Francisco Garcia SF Donte Greene PF J.J. Hickson C Hassan Whiteside (3rd string) PG Isiah Thomas (for when Fredette isn’t working) SG/SF Tyler Honeycutt (for when Garcia gets hurt/ is underwhelming. Same for Greene) I don’t see where the confusion is with this roster. And where are the plethora of bigs you speak of? They just need to add another back up C if Whiteside is still too raw. Or they could just play Thompson there, freeing up more minutes for Hickson. Looks like a decent roster. Not gonna make the playoffs, but it’s a good start.

  2. borderline1988 - Sep 16, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I’m not sure about where that ‘bigs’ comment is coming from either, although maybe the point is that this team lacks capable small forwards while has 3 capable power forwards (Cousins is a PF to me…he’s a guy who can take someone on 15 feet away from the basket as well as back down right underneath it, and he’s not a big impact on defense – sounds like a PF, not a centre).

    But honestly, the blogger is correct that this roster is horrible. Way too many guys who want the ball in their own hands. Thornton, Salmons, Fredette, Greene, Evans, Cousins – none of these guys are interested in running plays for others. They want the ball and and some space to beat their guys one on one.
    There are dome decent pieces, but they do not fit well together at all. A lot of teams can use some of the talent on Sacramento, so I’d like to see some trade this season.

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