With the Sacramento Kings era seemingly coming to a close, it would be sensible to honor some of the greatest players during this period. This list consists of the top five greatest players in an illustrious era that included many ups and downs, playoff success and rivalries which put Sacramento on the map.
Although there have been great players who bounced after playing only a few years, the length of a player's tenure and his play as a member of the Sacramento Kings will take precedence over the rest of his career achievements that he might've accomplished as a member of another team.
Also, this list will feature only players that have played in the Sacramento era, so it leaves out prominent players like Nate Archibald, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas, as they were all members of the Cincinnati Royals era.
However, injuries slowed his production and his career, and he never matched the same level of production in his rookie season. I believe he deserves an honorable mention just because he gave the franchise and Sacramento natives a sense of hope that their team is going somewhere.
Although Spud Webb is more widely known for his years playing with the Atlanta Hawks, he had his most productive years as a member of the Kings. In the 1991-1992 season, he posted career highs in points (16.0), assists (7.1) and minutes per game (35.4). He was a crowd pleaser and fan favorite when he played for the Kings, but his contributions never translated into an appearance in the playoffs, and he found himself gone after only four seasons.
To this day, Otis Thorpe still remains one of the league's more underrated big men. He only played three and a half seasons for the Kings, and is probably most remembered for helping lead the Houston Rockets to their first championship in 1994, but he did register a career high 20.8 PPG in his third season in Sacramento.
Above all else, Thorpe deserves an honorable mention because in the 1998 season, he was part of a bigger trade that brought in the player who would go on to carry the franchise to new heights.
Reggie Theus also only stayed in Sacramento for three seasons. But when he was there, he displayed his versatility and scoring ability by having one of his best seasons in the 1987-1988 season, where he posted 20.3 PPG and 8.8 APG.
He led the Sacramento Kings to one playoff appearance in the 1985-1986 season, but they were swept and Theus had one of his worst playoff series in his career.
He averaged a modest 12.0 PPG and 8.5 RPG in his six seasons in Sac-town, which, in itself, doesn't seem like he should be placed ahead of some of the honorable mentions on the previous page.
However, Divac was one of the leaders and most important players of a playoff contending Kings team for half a decade. He, along with a few other contributors, led the Kings to six consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2002, where they lost in a controversial series.
Peja Stojakovic is unquestionably one of the greatest shooters of this past decade. In seven and a half seasons with the Sacramento Kings, Stojakovic averaged over 20 points per game for four seasons, including three All-Star appearances and an All-NBA Second Team selection in 2004.
Stojakovic was a key contributor to Sacramento's seven consecutive playoff appearances, from 1998-2005. His teams never missed the playoffs even once since he joined the team and up until his departure midway through the 2005-2006 season.
Although Stojakovic was arguably the third greatest Sacramento King in the past 13 years, his disappointing performances in the 2002 NBA playoffs is more memorable than forgettable. In Game 7 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals, Stojakovic shot 3-12 from the field, including an airball in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter.
It shouldn't be a coincidence that three of the top five players so far have been members of the same Kings teams that achieved success in the early 2000s period.
Unlike Stojakovic, Mike Bibby wasn't awarded with any All-Star selection or All-NBA team selections in his six-year career with the Sacramento Kings—but that still doesn't prevent him from being the second most important player on the playoff-contending Kings teams.
In his first season and playoff run with the Kings, Bibby hit his most memorable game-winning shot in the dwindling seconds of a grinding Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.
Mitch Richmond isn't just the second greatest player in the Sacramento era, but he was also one of the finest shooting guards of the 90s.
Even Michael Jordan, the greatest player in the history of the game, has said himself that Richmond was one of the toughest competitors he has ever played against.
In Richmond's seven-year career in Sacramento, he has participated in the All-Star game for six consecutive seasons while averaging over 21 points in every season with the Kings, as well as garnering three selections for All-NBA Second Team and two selections for All-NBA Third Team. In the 1996-1997 season, Richmond recorded a stat line of 25.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 4.2 APG and 1.5 steals.
Despite Richmond's individual accolades, it never translated to team success for the 90s Kings. He only led his team to one playoff appearance in 1996, and it resulted in a loss in the first round.
Chris Webber was the undisputed leader and best player of the great Kings teams in the 2000s era. After coming to Sacramento in a trade from the then-Washington Bullets, Webber proceeded to resurrect the Kings franchise from over a decade of mediocrity and turn them into championship contenders.
In seven seasons in Sac-town, the dynamic power forward collected four All-Star selections, three All-NBA Second Team selections and one All-NBA first team selection. After three consecutive playoff disappointments, Webber powered his team to the 2002 Western Conference Finals before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The latter part of Webber's career in Sacramento was marred by a devastating knee injury in the middle of the 2003 playoffs, in which his play proceeded to slowly decline in the years following it.
Regardless, Webber has been the most prominent athlete since the Kings moved to Sacramento because he turned a perpetual lottery-bound team to one of the most decorated franchises in the last twelve years.