2009-10 Sacramento Kings Season Preview
How bad were the Sacramento Kings (17- 65) last season? They finished fifth in their division and won 21 fewer games than they did the year before. The team lacked depth, upfront bangers and fans. People turned their backs on the Kings in droves. In the NBA, the team was last in wins, last in attendance and last in shooting defense. Coach Reggie Theus made some very strange moves, often going with players who lacked the experience or skills to persevere. With a wealth of mediocre players and some major salary cap issues, the Kings of this season closely resemble the Kings of last. It’s true that they made some low-key but solid trades and free agent moves and drafted talented point guard Tyreke Evans. But it’s going to take some time for this team to be productive.
Last season, his first in the league, forward Jason Thompson (11.1 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.1 APG) proved to be productive. In his second year, the Kings need him to show more determination and drive. Swingman Francisco Garcia (12.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.3 APG) played well, hitting 44% from the field and 40% from the three-point arc. Two rookie forwards certainly have potential to put points on the scoreboard. Omari Casspi, who was discovered at a summer basketball camp, offers toughness and the ultra-hustling Jon Brockman looks to be a solid rebound man. Center Spencer Hawes (11.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.9 APG) has to contribute more on offense and defense.
It’s hoped that Evans can put in quality minutes immediately. The rookie looked impressive in summer league play. Athletic and aggressive, the Kings are hoping he develops into a solid point man. Last season Beno Udrih (11.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.7 APG) had a tough time at the command spot, making Evans an even more welcome addition. The shooting position is Kevin Martin’s (24.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.7 APG) as long as he can stay healthy. In 2008- 2009, his fifth in the league, Martin missed 31 games. When he’s healthy, he’s dynamite.
This team should be able to put some points on the board, especially with the backcourt duo of Evans and Martin. The rookies upfront should help too. But the vastly improved scoring won’t make up for what is still a very weak defense. The Kings will put what is perhaps the worst “D” in the league on the court. With no remedy in sight, it’s sure to be a long and fairly frustrating season for fans.
Reggie Theus is gone. Sacramento hired coach Paul Westphal in his place. That was a good move. Westphal is a fine mentor of young players and just what the Kings need. He’ll squeeze a few more wins out of these guys. Also, some of the young talent now has had a year or two of NBA experience. No, this is not a playoff bound club. Fifth in the division and last in the conference are both fairly certain. The post-season is at least another season away for the Sacramento Kings.