There’s really not much to say about the Kings.
These guys were atrocious last year, ranking 25th in offense and 30th in defense. With only 17 wins at the end of the year, they were dead-last in the standings. Oh, and they lost by an average of almost 9 points a game. These are the numbers of one of the worst teams of the decade.
I kind of dreaded writing this post, because I don’t like being excessively negative. I also kind of dreaded watching the Kings last season. I love Kevin Martin’s game and rookie Jason Thompson was intriguing for a while, but this was a group that just wasn’t good enough and didn’t compete hard enough. I guess there are some positives from the off-season, though…
Despite receiving the lowest possible pick (#4) for the team with the league’s worst record, they came away with a guy most people project to be a solid NBA player in Tyreke Evans. Whether or not he will fit well with Kevin Martin in the backcourt is up in the air, but with a team that doesn’t really have an identity you can’t complain about adding good talent. The draft also netted this team a decent prospect in Omri Casspi and a banger in Jon Brockman. Their other personnel moves, acquiring Sean May and Sergio Rodriguez, aren’t bad but aren’t going to drastically alter the state of the franchise either. These guys are solid backups and the Kings got ‘em on the cheap.
Leading this pack next season will be new coach Paul Westphal, who hasn’t been in the NBA since the beginning of the decade. It’s going to be up to him to make this club more enjoyable to watch than last season. I say only this because I don’t think you can ask him to win many games with these guys. They can improve on last season’s abysmal record, sure, but expect another lottery pick next summer. That’s fine, really – unless they find some way to move the long-term Udrih and Nocioni contracts it’s going to be a few years before they can properly make a go of it anyway. Until then, all we can ask for is that Westphal livens this club up a bit. Historically, his teams have been quite good offensively, so that’s a positive.
This team isn’t particularly tough, athletic, or skilled. They’re not loaded with great distributors, great scorers, great rebounders, or great defenders. If they win more than 25 games, I’ll be quite surprised. Still, after last season, there’s nowhere to go but up. If I was a Kings fan, I’d be hoping right now that the additions Westphal and Evans make the team more watchable and, if the season starts off with a few losses in a row, I’d be consoling myself by watching John Wall highlights on a near-nightly basis.