Sacramento Kings Season Preview

17 10 2008

My NBA Pacific Division preview continues with the Sacramento Kings:

Sacramento Kings

2007-08 Standings 38 – 44, 11th Western Conference

2008-09 Predicted Record 26 – 56, 5th Pacific Division, 13th Western Conference

Projected Starting Five:  Brad Miller, Mikki Moore, John Salmons, Kevin Martin, Beno Udrih

Sixth Man:  Bobby Jackson

While Brad Miller can shoot the ball well, the Kings need him to recapture his former All Star form and produce consistently in the low post.

While Brad Miller can shoot the ball well, the Kings need him to recapture his former All Star form and produce consistently in the low post.

There was a time when the Sacramento Kings were one of the best teams in the NBA. They had Vlade Divac, Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic and were good enough to challenge the Lakers and the other elite teams. Then they faded as injuries took their toll and curious transactions took place. And now they are a shadow of their former self and in full on rebuilding mode.

The latest part of the rebuilding project was trading Ron Artest to the Rockets for Bobby Jackson. Artest had become a huge distraction. Artest was still capable of playing superb lockdown defence when the mood suited him but he was increasingly becoming more notable for his outlandish comments than stellar on court play. Jackson played his best basketball previously for Sacramento so hopefully he will have a positive effect on the young Kings.

Amidst a roster of average journeymen they do have one legitimate stud: Kevin Martin, a 4 year vet who seems doomed to follow the same career path as former Kings great Mitch Richmond, good enough to be an All Star but surrounded with so so talent. Now that Ron Artest has gone, Martin is very definitely the man. Already he was the sixth best scorer in the league last season and he should get even more touches this season.

Once upon a time Brad Miller was considered a legitimate centre, an All Star with great passing skills. But Miller has never seemed to develop his game enough and now he is little more than a skilled big man. He’s not strong enough to bang with the likes of Dwight Howard but nor is he quick enough to stick with Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett. The Kings are hoping that Spencer Hawes will eventually takeover from Miller at the pivot.

The remainder of the roster is of average quality, best exemplified by the starting point guard Beno Udrih. On most other teams Udrih would be a backup but on the Kings he is the chief playmaker. He is capable of the odd classy performance but the Kings are still looking for a long term solution.

Coach:

I have a soft spot for Reggie Theus, mainly because he was Coach Fuller on Hang Time.  Pity he’s not a great coach in real life. Last year he persisted in making Artest the focal point of the offence when he had the superlative offensive skills of Martin to work with. This year he has no choice. It wouldn’t surprise many people to see Theus fired this season.

Bench:

Other than Bobby Jackson and Spencer Hawes the Kings bench is thin and made even thinner by the retirement of Shareef Abdur Rahim.

Star Player:

Kevin Martin is the star here and it’s not really even close. Can he carry the Kings to glory?

Team MVP:

Can Brad Miller become an All Star again? Can Bobby Jackson still bring his spark off the bench? Will one of the new rookies develop into a star? Yeah, I’m struggling to find a team mvp here.

Final Prognosis: 

The Kings are destined for another season out of the playoffs but this fall will be hard. They’re more likely to be competing for a high lottery place.

 

You can find an index of past Previews here.

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