Sacramento Kings: 10 Changes to Make Heading into Next Season
While many expected the Sacramento Kings to improve this season after adding scorer Marcus Thornton via trade from New Orleans last season before the deadline and rookies Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette and Tyler Honeycutt, they've done the opposite.
With a limited amount of games left in the season, it's not promising for the Kings to match or surpass last season's win total.
Changes need to occur in Sacramento in order for the Kings to be competitive. Many things have to suffice in order for the Kings to get back to their glory days, where just earlier this past decade, the Kings appeared in postseason play eight straight seasons, including a Western Conference Finals appearance.
Adding talent is the obvious solutions but here's 10 changes that need to happen in order for the Kings to be competitive.
Better Decision Making
The Kings, as a team, have one of the worst assist-to-turnover (1.28) ratios in the NBA.
Sacramento has turned the ball over nearly 15 times per game this year with 48 percent of the turnovers coming from their backcourt rotation of Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette.
Granted, it's a fairly young backcourt rotation but after a year together, heading into next season, the guards for the Kings have to be better and make better decisions.
More Minutes for Honeycutt, Whiteside and Fredette
One of the biggest problems for the Kings this season has come on the defensive end. The Kings allow 104.3 points per game, which is dead last in the NBA. That attributes to not having a defensive shot-blocker on the floor to alter or contest shots.
But, what the Kings do have at their disposal is 7' Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside was selected in the second round and has the ability to alter and block shots at the rim if given the chance. He can be that defensive presence in the post that the Kings need.
In addition, with the offensive firepower in the post, stretching the floor is key, especially for a team with a deep-threat like Jimmer Fredette. Fredette is a great option to stretch the floor and take some pressure off the bigs in the post.
Tyler Honeycutt, a 6'8" forward from UCLA, has seen rare minutes this season but should see the floor a lot more next year. The rookie forward is quick and athletic enough to play the 3 at the NBA level but just hasn't gotten the chance. With added weight over the summer, hopefully Honeycutt can get some significant minutes to prove his worth.
Add Frontcourt Depth
The Kings are very thin on the frontline with two true low post options.
DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson have both had success in the post this season for Sacramento, but if one gets in foul trouble the next frontline player coming off the bench is 6'6" Chuck Hayes.
Hayes is a great leader but a liability on the offensive end. Adding another post presence to fit right in should be a priority for the Kings headed into next season.
Retain Terrence Williams
Terrence Williams produces and has shown his worth in his stint in Sacramento giving the Kings something to think about.
He produces but with a high rate of turnovers, which the Kings do not need.
I think, because of his overall production and his ability to create for others, he should be given at least another year with the team before making a decision as a future member of the franchise.
Move Tyreke Evans Back to SG
Tyreke Evans seems to be more comfortable at the 1 or 2, but because of his versatility, he's been playing at three positions this season for Sacramento.
I think headed into next season, you fill the void at small forward and move Evans back to the 2-guard.
With the emergence of Isaiah Thomas as the point guard, Evans can feed off of his play, similar to what he did his rookie year with point guard Beno Udrih.
Marcus Thornton as Sixth Man
It's always been said that it doesn't matter who starts, rather who finishes. With the game on the line, Thornton will be called on to produce.
However, pushing him to sixth man and allowing Tyreke Evans to go back to the 2 should be an option headed into next season.
I know, you're probably saying, "you're crazy, he's the best scorer!"
But that's exactly it.
Thornton produces, but only offensively. He can give the second unit a boost and actually maximize his minutes.
2012 NBA Draft
The draft is where many teams build successful franchises. This year's draft is extremely deep and could give the Kings a chance to draft a player to help them turn the corner.
The Kings are already guaranteed a spot in the lottery but the destined position of that pick is undetermined. If the Kings aren't drafting No. 1 overall and selecting Anthony Davis, I think you have to look at versatile forward Terrence Jones.
Jones is a hybrid forward that can provide an inside-out presence. He's exactly what the Kings need and can come in and produce right away. He could help in the post and even move in the 3-spot if needed. Obviously, the Kings are going to look at other prospect but Jones seems like the most logical fit.
Run in Transition
The Kings have so much youth and are arguably the youngest team in the NBA. One of the most athletic teams as well.
So, getting out and running in transition has to be a priority for the Kings as they progress into next season.
Running in transition will get the Kings easy points, and will utilize their athletic scoring ability in the open floor. It'll have to start with the guards pushing the ball and commanding a fast-paced tempo.
The Kings are the worst defensive team in the NBA. Defense doesn't live within these young players, and that has to change headed into next season.
Keith Smart has to get these players to commit defensively, especially when you have a team like New Orleans, who's 29th in the NBA in scoring, breaking out a 100-point game on your defense.
The Kings do have solid defensive players, but getting them to buy into the defensive end will be a big priority for Sacramento going forward.
As I've previously stated, Hassan Whiteside has to be given more minutes. He's been hidden in the fold for too long despite his ability to impact the game on the defensive end. He's very much a defensive player, a very raw player, but with more attention to his game and more minutes to play through mistakes, he should prove to be a good defensive option.
New Arena Deal
We all once thought that the Kings had a new arena deal to keep them in Sacramento but reports have recently surfaced that the deal fell apart.
If the Kings aren't able to come to an arena deal the possibility of the Kings moving again will surface.
That is something many Sacramento fans don't want to happen. The Kings have a solid core of young talent looking to turn the corner with the addition of a few more pieces.
The No. 1 priority headed into next season should be getting a new deal done.
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