When people talk about the NBA, they could be talking about any of 30 teams, well, they’re usually talking about maybe 15 or 20. One that doesn’t really enter that conversation is that Sacramento Kings, because their long history or not having much history haunts a franchise floundering for relevance
Perhaps it’s because their roots bind them to some sort of strange Cincinnati curse, as the franchise started in the Queen City as the Royals before relocating to Kansas City, then resettling once again in the Golden State, this time as the Sacramento Kings.
Examining the market for Sacramento fandom is pretty rough; they’re located in the capital of the biggest state-market in the United States, but probably in the city-center that California sports with the least attention.
Let’s cut the crap; there is little-to-no reason people should care about the Kings.
They moved into a new stadium, the Golden 1 Center, in 2016 as the sole resident of the stadium. Before that, they were playing in Sleep Train Arena, which had to have been partly named for the local mattress store chain that bought the sponsorship, in addition to the snoozer team that the Kings were putting on the floor season after season.
However, something is different about the 2016-2017 Kings; they’re winning interesting games and have some interesting talents.
DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins (who will be referred to as “Boogie” for the remainder of the piece) is one of the best players in the NBA. He’s 26-years-old, in his 7th full season of basketball, has played 55 or more games in each season, made three straight all-star appearances, is on the Team USA Basketball Roster, averages 21.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game, but a casual fan may watch him play once a year (I know that was a lot a credentials to take in).
Boogie is a knock-out player. The rest of the roster is lacking something. In fact, examining the depth chart, it’s hard to find a guy outside of Cousins that would start on a contending team.
Darren Collison (PG), Aaron Afflalo (SG), Matt Barnes (SF), and Kosta Koufos (PF) would all be seeing bench minutes if they were on, let’s say the Atlanta Hawks, who are by no means the top-tier of NBA teams.
Whoever runs the Kings scouting department should probably be removed from their role, because they either drop the ball or never let a guy play enough minutes to develop full with their team.
Since 2010, Sacramento has made 13 draft selections; only three of those selections are NBA staters; one of them is Boogie Cousins, the others are Hassan Whiteside and Isaiah Thomas. Thomas by the way, who never got a chance to fully develop in Sacramento, but after a pair of trades ended up in Boston and resembles an MVP candidate.
Whiteside has been fantastic in his own regard, playing at an All-Star caliber level with the Miami Heat over the last three seasons.
The remaining 10 are, in order, with draft selection number, are Bismack Biyimbo (7th, 2011), Tyler Honeycutt (35th, 2011), Thomas Robinson (5th, 2012), Orlando Johnson (36th, 2012), Ben McLemore (7th, 2013), Ray McCullum Jr. (36th, 2013), Nik Stauskas (8th, 2014), Willie Cauley-Stein (6th, 2015), Marquese Criss (8th, 2016), and Isaiah Cousins (59th, 2016).
While I do like the way Cauley-Stein is developing, the a majority of those guys are bottom-of-the-barrell NBA benchers, D-Leaguers, or Euro Ballers. That’s a glaring issue to miss that badly so many times, year after year.
The sad reality for the Kings is their lack of attractiveness as a free agent destination; who the hell would want to come to Sacramento, CA to play for a losing basketball team, never get the same attention as Golden State or Los Angeles hoops teams, and potentially get hurt, feeling like they’ll never even get a title shot in a different city.
That being said, could be the moment for that narrative to change. That being said, this Kings team has to start making trades; it’s just a reality.
Sacramento is currently in a small window where they could pick up steam; they have a young roster, Boogie Cousins, and a lot of cap room.
If this team has any interest in becoming a respected roster, bring in some freakin’ veterans to play with your superstar.
Boogie Cousins has a history of struggles with his emotions, but that’s partially because he’s center who’s expected to be the point guard; that shouldn’t be the case when you’re 6’11”, 270 LBS.
For whatever reason, the NBA is purging with trade rumors this season; a few of the names floating around, all of which are All-Star caliber guys? Jimmy Butler (Chicago) and Carmelo Anthony (New York).
I think it is in the Kings best interest to make a move for the respected veteran, Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo Anthony would add a veteran to a roster who can’t find a way to get experience. Boogie has never been to the playoffs, where as Anthony has made appearances in conference finals.
Taking into consideration that Sacramento stinks in the draft, I think a package of Kosta Kofous, Rudy Gay, and an unprotected 2017 second round pick would fare very well for this Kings team.
Melo doesn’t want to be on the Knicks and the Knicks don’t seem to want him their either; the divorce is ugly, but it’s probably going to happen. It’s the Kings best chance to open a window for success.
Dave Joerger is a good basketball coach. They have some solid pieces of the bench. If Melo joins this roster, say they get a good point guard in free agency or from the loaded draft class, and boom! We have a contender!
So, I’ll keep this short and sweet.
Dear Sacramento Kings officials, treat yo self. You know you want a Melo.
You’ll thank me later, hopefully with copious amounts of cash.