Sacramento Kings Season Wrap-Up: How I Learned To Love Losing

Jason ColdironCorrespondent IApril 15, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 12:  Head coach Reggie Theus of the Sacramento Kings looks on during the game with the Los Angeles Clippers on November 12, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Kings won 103-98.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

When you end up with the worst record in the league, there are several keys that must happen.

In particular, you need a brutal combination of under-performers, back- breaking injuries, and cap-killing contracts.

This Sacramento Kings' season was a perfect storm of these things.

It was a season of ups and downs for the Kings—mostly downs.

It began with a Brad Miller five-game suspension and injuries to Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia.

By the time the Kings even got out of the block, they were already done.

A trade-deadline deal sending away Brad Miller and John Salmons was the Kings way of waving the white flag.

Second-year head coach Reggie Theus lasted about one-third of the season. After not finding a regular rotation, putting players in position to fail, and leading a young team to zero improvement, he was dropped in favor of assistant Kenny Natt.

Natt made a valiant effort, but this team was destined for failure. Natt will likely soon be let go as the Kings look for a permanent replacement to lead the team into the future (Paging Eddie Jordan; please pick up the nearest white courtesy phone).

As for what happened on the court...let's start with the good.

The Arco Arena fans remained rabid, despite falling attendance.

The jersey retirements of Chris Webber and Vlade Divac were very exciting and inspirational nights for the team.

This was expected to be a breakout year with an All-Star run for Kevin Martin. His recurring ankle injuries prevented that from ever getting off the ground. Martin would go on to play at an All-Star level for the half (or so) season he did play.

Going into next season, even more will be expected of him as the team hands him the keys to the franchise.

Garcia showed he will be an asset for the Kings moving forward. He has established a terrific all-around game, plays tough, can play three positions effectively, and is clearly the team's best defender.

Second-year center Spencer Hawes and rookie power forward Jason Thompson did not disappoint. They both showed consistency, but also flashes of greatness.

Hawes displayed athleticism and a great inside-outside game for a center. Thompson showed a great ability to finish around the hoop and run the floor. They have a chance to be the Kings starting frontcourt for many years, depending on the draft. (Paging Blake Griffin).

Andres Nocioni, after being acquired from the Chicago Bulls, showed intensity, toughness, and shooting that could very well make him next year's starting small forward.

Young reserves Will Solomon and Ike Diogu showed some promise in limited playing time, but both of their fates will be decided in the offseason.

For the bad....

It begins with the fact the team won just one game (one game!) against the Eastern Conference in 30 tries. That is an NBA first.

Attendance was the lowest in Sacramento since before the Maloofs took over in ‘98.

As for the players, there is plenty of blame to pass around.

Beno Udrih signed a five-year contract for the mid-level exception. Perhaps trying to live up to the contract, Udrih struggled horribly.

He had two very good games this year, with the rest basically a waste. It was already known that he had the defensive skills of an eight-year-old girl, but it was believed he would bring the offense together as a stabilizing force.

Udrih could be a solid point guard in a drive-and-kick offense. This year he mostly just drove and either forced up an impossible shot or kicked the ball to the other team.

Point guard will clearly be a position the team will look to upgrade (paging Ricky Rubio).

Miller started out the season OK and played the same until he was moved to Chicago.

Tonight the Kings will likely finish the season the same way they started it...with a loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves.