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Know thy enemy: Sacramento Kings

It's back! Our yearly tour of the Western Conference. We'll go in reverse order of last year's finish, leading up to the start of the season.

Sacramento KingsSacramento Kings pufy ball

Last Season: 17-65 (.207, 5th in the Pacific Division, 15th in the Western Conference. Had there been 20 teams, they'd likely have been 20th.)

Key Additions: Drafted Tyreke Evans, Omri Casspi, and Jon Brockman. Signed Sean May, Desmond Mason. Traded for Sergio Rodriguez.
Key Subtrations: Guys like John Salmons and Brad Miller went to the Bulls at the trade deadline last year. Other than that, they really didn't have many key players to subtract. Can Shelden Williams and Bobby Brown be considered "key?" It's a reasonable question.

Arco Arena may be filled with barn-like "aw shucks" charm and deafening noise when the team is good, but when the Kings suck- and they suuuuuuuuck- it's a horrible venue. Genuinely awful. It should be replaced, but when that'll happen is an open question. The Maloofs say the team isn't going anywhere, but at the same time acknowledge that the economy, particularly in California, isn't exactly conducive to the construction of this sort. (You may have heard the economy has taken a bad turn?) So, at least in theory, they'll wait... and in the meantime seem unlikely to spend any money bettering the squad. That means a foreseeable future in which the Kings rarely win and the building is rarely filled, save those nights when the Lakers come to town and the place is packed with Kobe jerseys. Or maybe they'll move after all.

Either way, the citizens of Sacramento deserve better. What else do they have?

The Kings do have some decent players- Kevin Martin (one of the most perennially underrated players in the league), Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes (both young, mobile bigs with potential to improve), first rounder Evans (lived in the paint in Vegas Summer League, driving at will, drawing fouls, and cleaning the glass particularly effectively for a guard), and role guys like Andres Nocioni, Francisco Garcia, and Beno Udrih- they just don't have enough of them, and "decent" doesn't cut it. Most of the guys on this squad are a step or six higher in the rotation than they'd be on a better team.

They also lack any semblance of a post game (Hawes loves to step outside and shoot rather than bang down low), were a truly wretched defensive team by any measure last year with little hope of improving in '09-'10, and have really ugly uniforms. (Not that it should matter, but I believe firmly that it's hard to play well when a team isn't dressed well.) 

Nor were they some unlucky squad on the wrong end of close games. No, they were routinely crushed like Cabernet grapes last year, not simply losing more than any team in basketball but by an -8.8 point differential, tied with the Clippers for the NBA's worst. They'll be better this year if Evans contributes, Martin stays healthy, and guys like Thompson and Hawes develop. Rodriguez can help as well, since Udrih has plenty of limitations. A new coach in Paul Westphal can't hurt, or at the very least, can't be less popular than Reggie Theus (and later Kenny Natt) in our state capital.

File all of that under "faint praise," often teams win more than 17 games just by accident. All we really know is that the Kings are awful, and therefore the odds that the Lakers will carelessly drop a game against them and set the Internet on fire with questions of their heart, character, and focus. That's a separate issue. Big picture, while I'm guessing they'll pick up a few extra victories, Sacramento could also defend their title as the least-winning team in the NBA.

Prediction: 23 wins, 5th in the Pacific.

Local Coverage: Sacramento Bee
Blog Coverage: A hearty endorsement for Sactown Royalty, for both to satisfy your need for Kings dish (could happen, I guess), and the NBA generally.

BK

 
Comments () | Archives (25)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sacramento can go 1-81 for the season, but if that 1 came against the Lakers, then it was a successful year.


BK,


Why bother with the Kings et al. Just go straight to San Antonio and then the 3 elite teams from the East. Nobody wants to talk about the other teams. Oh, you wanted a bunch of posts to rev up the hits and keep the blog warmed up for the regular season? OK, but there are so many crappy teams that this is going to end up being multi-thread city again. OK as long as you leave some threads for the games but don’t forget the new threads warnings, OK? LOL.


Tom

My two wishes for the upcoming season are we get rid of the Sasha contract, it is an albatross hanging over the teams head. My last wish is that Andrew Bynum start finally do some growing up, play like he did before the injury, and have the mental capacity to mature. This aura that we are invincible needs to end.

The Kings will be awful, but Paul Westphal was the right hire. He may not be the greatest coach in the world, but he knows how to develop young players and he'll continue to play them through their many mistakes.

Just thought I would forward Kyle the Blogger's apology:

Folks-

I have read your comments, and I can see that I have been less than saintly in my posting on this topic. Though I still believe that Mr. Artest's comments were brash and unwarranted, I see now that I have done my fair share in inviting them upon myself.

I would like to publicly and officially apologize to both Mr. Artest and my readers, not only for airing out my grievances in plain sight, but for bringing any ill feelings towards Mr. Artest. It is not my place to tell any one how to do their job, and I see that I did not treat Mr. Artest with the respect he deserves, not only as a pro, but as I would wish be treated.

I am sorry.

Just as Ron is not bigger than the Lakers, neither am I, and I know I carry much less influence than Ron. Call it excitement/fear/anticipation of the upcoming season, I don't know. But it was not fair, and I realize that. It went too far.

Keep your comments coming. I'm going to be contacting Henry Abbott over at Truehoop soon about putting up a disclaimer concerning my actions leading up to and including this blog post.

Just as players should be accountable, so should we.

Cheers,
Kyle Slavin
TSCblogs.com

Responding to the apology:

Kyle, I appreciate you coming around on the rather inappropriate way in which you talked down to Ron Artest. I accept your apology and applaud your humility in issuing it.

Please forward that apology to Ron, Truehoop, and the LA Times Lakers Blog.

What bothered me most is the irony you referred to, that in fact one of Ron's supposed fans was among the first to fuel the fires of distraction.

The "lay down the law" part was no doubt over the top, but causing distraction is just what you were worried about. Leave that to Phil, Kobe, and Fish. They got it, believe me.

You would do well to remember Rodman, who I think was just as crazy.

That said, I appreciate most, if not all of your sentiments, and would be truly happy if you put an end to this distraction by publicly forwarding your apology. Believe me, there are literally millions of Laker fans that are pissed off one of our own would cause this nonsense.

Sonny Belfast: THE FLOOR IS YOURS!

What does it say about your team when the best hoops player in the city sits in City Hall?

Was it really just a few years ago that the Kings were one of the most feared teams in the NBA? Going to Sac-Town was intimidating in 2002, now, it's Laker heaven.


What a diffrence a tip out makes, eh?


Thanks Vlade, you really did help us win a Championship, we should send you a ring, sometime.


In reality, I think they may lose about as much as they did this season. I have a good friend who's a big Kings fan and he's hoping that the young guns are given the keys to the castle, so to speak. He wants nothing to do with anyone who has played 5+ NBA seasons. Will run-n-gun Westphal do it, is the question.


Agreed, BK, on Hawes he's an intriguing player to me because he is so quick and lithe for a 6'10" fellah. But he needs to develop a post game to go with his rebounding. He's like a talented Mark Madsen in his tenacity and competitive drive. But can he dance? If Kevin Martin can play a whole season and start to become some type of on court leader, I could see this squad maybe sneaking up and beating some of the younger, less disciplined NBA teams and tracking up to 25-30 wins...but he's been hurt so much so early in his career I think he lacks the NBA body needed for a full 82 game season. Time will tell.

GO LAKERS!!!!!

The Kings?

The Cowtown Kings??

WHO CARES???

:)

AK/BK,
Can we save the bottom dwelling teams for last or better yet skip them entirely. Any good presenter will tell you start with the most interesting/important stuff first cuz you risk losing your audience if you save it for last. If I've got to wade through the clippers, kings, wizards, grizzlies etc of the world, I'll be ready to shoot myself by the time you reach the nuggets, hornets, spurs, celts, blazers etc.

PER,
Regarding Hollinger's PER, my opinion is "80% of all statistics are made up, including this one" ... Amazing's quote I think says it best though

[Albert Einstein once said :
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”]

Not having Magic/Kareem/Kobe/West in your top 10 career PER says more about how PER should not be counted or soley relied upon, than how the games of those players don't count when it comes to top 10 all time discussions. Also having Jordan be the #1 on your list means you probably took the time to tweak the constants in your equation to ensure PER counts in g.o.a.t discussions.

Final verdict ... PER is eligible for 80% of all stats are B.S. consideration.

In case anyone wants to verify Hollinger's PER leaves Magic out of the top 10 ...
http://tinyurl.com/y85n4hm

You'll also be happy to know Tracy McGrady is currently having a better career than Jerry West did.

We have a sports commentator in India (where I am from), and his view on statistics is this"

"Statistics are like mini-skirts. What they reveal is exciting and looks great, but they cover the important ones"

Leadership, Decision making, Clutch play are all such important traits, which cannot be covered with PER or such stats.

Btw, I created a Fantasy Team in BSPN. I was lucky enough to draft both KB24 and Pau. One guy proposed a trade - KB24 for Fisher and Fluke, and he's telling I am getting two Lakers for one, so I should agree for the trade... what a logic LOL!!

The Henry Abbot guy from true-hoop and his cohorts are beginning to wear thin on my nerves. Someone needs to tell this guy to stick to reporting the news instead of trying to generate it.

First there was the youtube clip of kobe's dunks with the conclusion, I can see how they call him selfish. Now there's the open letter saga. He manages to get Artest to respond to the letter, the stuff gets displayed in public, and then he concludes from his espn perch that this is why Artest is crazy.

From Henry
[
http://tinyurl.com/yb6d3om
Instead ... wow. Artest's reply to Slavin included a three-word phrase that began with the word "suck" and ended all kinds of PG-13. Slavin typed up the whole back-and-forth exchange -- there's a bit of an apology, but also a misleading follow-up tweet in which Artest falsely claims -- in a bit of bravado -- that he made Slavin apologize.]

From the open letter dude:
[
http://tinyurl.com/y99hzce
At this point, I’d like you readers to take a peek at the top of this post. Ron Artest may have cussed me out, but I have not apologized. I stand by my original letter.
...
...
I would like to publicly and officially apologize to both Mr. Artest and my readers, not only for airing out my grievances in plain sight, but for bringing any ill feelings towards Mr. Artest. It is not my place to tell any one how to do their job, and I see that I did not treat Mr. Artest with the respect he deserves, not only as a pro, but as I would wish be treated.
]

Yup lots of I didn't apologize, I didn't apologize, and oh the snitch in me feels the need to tell you this is all the horrible things Artest was saying to me during our exchanges like 'suck a ...'. And to conclude I will now apologize to Artest because I now realize I owe my 5 minutes of fame to him and would like to get some more, plus other laker fans are sending me comments telling me to go suck more ...

And oh AK/BK, thanks for being a part of the whole mess
[ Through the help of Truehoop.com and the LA Times' Lakers blog, we were able to track Ron down and put the post in front of him. ]

You won't use your access to linkup respectful members of this blog but you'll go through the trouble of linking up some dude to Artest because espn's Henry thinks it's a good idea.

Urgh I want to just puke at how tacky it was for this guy to publish the communications between him and Artest. I really really hope that it doesn't become news on the national or local level that Artest told a fan to go suck a blah. His only crime in this whole saga was making himself available to the fan. Artest go listen to eminem's dear stan lyrics, and learn to put enough buffers between you and your fans. There are just too many crazy people in the world and yes some of them work for espn too.

Taliq,

I'm not sure what Kyle Slavin is referring to, in terms of BK or I "getting him in touch with Artest." I linked to his piece on Friday (because I thought readers might find it conceptually interesting), but that's basically it. We certainly didn't make any calls or emails to put Artest and Slavin in touch with each other. Maybe he meant Artest somehow got wind of the letter because it was on the blog. But it certainly wasn't because we facilitated any contact.

AK

This about sums up my feelings about Sactown.

Don't miss this video or you will be cursed by Fatty. I really mean it!!! lol

http://tiny.cc/therock985

AK
[I'm not sure what Kyle Slavin is referring to, in terms of BK or I "getting him in touch with Artest." I linked to his piece on Friday (because I thought readers might find it conceptually interesting), but that's basically it. We certainly didn't make any calls or emails to put Artest and Slavin in touch with each other. Maybe he meant Artest somehow got wind of the letter because it was on the blog. But it certainly wasn't because we facilitated any contact.]

Then it would be in your best interest to tell the dude to take it off his website or be more specific as to how you got it in front of Artest (i.e. thanks to lakersblog for linking to me). But hey if y'all happy being associated with the dude then be my guest. Y'all know already that this sheriff doesn't shy away from any target, be it Slavin, Henry or the K brothers I'll be firing shots all day @ whomever the target is. And oh your boy Henry really needs a reality check, tell him to stick to reporting basketball instead of trying to sensationalize stuff. Effing retard that he is.

Bynum to be with the second unit? Dang, Best move for Drew so far. With Pau and Kobe on the pine just dump the ball down low and let Drew pound it in. Guy should average a shot a minute. Become an All Star and win the Sixth man award.

YOU BETTER NOT SCREW UP…


I have to say that I personally did not like the tone or the way that Kyle Slavin used his letter to Ron Artest to attract attention. The goal was not to say something to Ron but to say something about Kyle and his cunning and cleverness in putting bad boy Ron Artest in his place. The entire affair smacked of the mean-toned antagonistic attitude of fans who consider rudeness and in-your-face behavior an acceptable and constructive way to root for your team and its players. What kind of fan is that?
-
We’ve all seen that same cheap trick deployed by Kobe haters, Odom detractors, and Bynum bashers. Under the guise of expressing legitimate concerns about a player, they artfully manage to bash, insult, misjudge, and denigrate him, all the while proclaiming they “really” like and support him. Hogwash. There was no reason to make a post with that blustery laying-down-the-law attitude that Slavin used.
Artest himself had already graciously told Lakers fans to blame him if the Lakers don’t repeat.
-
While I’m sure Kyle will claim to be 100% behind Artest, one hundred bucks that he will spend all year secretly hoping that Artest blows up and costs the Lakers the title. Maybe, I’m wrong and this was just another ill-fated attempt to use controversy to get attention by someone who is really a fan. In my book, however, you don’t need to “put” a player in his place and play virtual bully to get a valid point across. The vitriol just show how much those posters are invested that their ideas be right, even if that means the Lakers don’t win. Their passion for their idea is more important than winning.


Tom


And so the grind begins for the Kamenetzky bros.


Wes

LT & Segeboy,

By this time, we know who is who in this blog. There are bloggers or posters using this blog to advertise their forum through chicanery, perhaps a little trick or treat. Some are clowns attracting attention through jocund approach. That is the reason why we have a roll call to separate the real Laker fans from the opportunists.

Tom, one of the rare times I find myself disagreeing with you (re: threads on other teams). I love the Lakers and I love this blog. Nonetheless, it gets a bit insular sometimes and I look forward to info on other teams. The Kings don't hold the same interest to me that they did in years past but it doesn't mean they're not deserving of a piece. To me, listing all the teams in the conference gives a greater context to the season than just focusing on those that we'd presuppose to be at the top. Plus, I always look for a darkhorse, I find them more intriguing than the teams that always threaten to go all the way but rarely do.

Also Laker Tom and Dave, a writer has to write about something, and I think these "Know Thy" posts pretty well fit the bill for the blog.


Oh how I'd trade my two wedding articles for 2 "Know Thy" posts. AK, BK, up for a trade? Know anything about accessorizing a wedding dress or budget honeymoons/ all-inclusive resorts? Just call my editor at Michiana Veils and Vows and set up the trade...


Wes

The only reason the Lakers took the championship over the Kings was corrupt officiating.

So, the self-important swagger that some Laker's fan take when speaking of the Kings needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If the refs had not been bought and sold the Lakers would have lost. Why slam the Kings at all. I guess it is just the swagger from an undeserved win that should not of happened.

Also, Kevin Martin as just decent? You give him some props after saying that he is decent? Just decent? Wow, well then Kobe is just average player.

That is one hell of an ignorant post.


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