Coming off of a league worst 17 wins in 2008-09, the Sacramento King's expectation level couldn't have been lower. The roster was revamped, Paul Westphal was introduced as the new head coach, and a handful of promising rookies were added. Sacramento would finish with a 25-57 mark in 2009-10, and the following is a player by player report card based on the past season.
Tyreke Evans, PG, SG - When the Kings didn't win the #1 overall pick in last May's draft lottery, it was widely considered a catastrophe. Turns out, it was a blessing in disguise. Evans started from opening day and was remarkably consistent throughout. The prized phenom became only the 4th rookie in NBA history to average 20 ppg, five rpg, and five apg. Tyreke is a potential All-Star caliber player. By all accounts, Evans rookie season was spectacular. He is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. Grade: A
Beno Udrih, PG - Udrih's 2008-09 was nearly as disastrous as the Kings was. The Slovenian guard responded with shooting percentages up across the board. Beno was bounced in and out of the starting lineup with the influx of Tyreke Evans and Kevin Martin injuries, then regained his starting spot permanently with the trade of Martin to Houston. Udrih was a very steady performer in 2009-10. Grade: B+
Donté Greene, SF - After a head scratching rookie season marked by immaturity, Donté countered with a productive 2009-10 campaign. Greene showed impressive defensive effort and a gorgeous three point stroke (.377%), but battled unpredictable playing time. Donté was mired with inconsistency, yet showed Kings fans flashes of why he was a 1st round pick two years ago. Grade: C
Jason Thompson, PF, C - Thompson finished with solid statistical averages of 12.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg. Jason's midrange jumpshot continues to show development, and his penchant for foul trouble improved as the year evolved. He provided sound low post defense and is unquestionably the best rebounder on the team. JT appears poised to be the starting center of the future. Grade: B-
Spencer Hawes, C - Hawes is one of few Kings whose productivity fell from a year ago. The only thing consistent about Spencer's season was his residence in coach Westphal's doghouse. Hawes occasionally shows a majestic offensive skillset, but his low post defense continually serves as his kryptonite. Grade: D
Carl Landry, PF - Carl Landry was traded from Houston to Sacramento in February and hit the ground running. Landry is a gifted offensive force, but his modest rebounding totals (6.6 rpg) leave room for improvement. Carl gives the Kings something that is a special commodity in the NBA, a low post presence. He has firmly positioned himself as the starting PF of the present and future. Grade: B+
Omri Casspi, SF - Omri was a pleasant surprise in 2009-10. The rookie accounted for 10.3 ppg and was very productive from 3 point range (.369%). Casspi served as an occasional starter, but couldn't keep the small forward job permanently. Omri unquestionably hit the rookie wall in late January or February, but is a bright spot for the Kings going forward. Grade: B-
Jon Brockman, PF - As far as grit and toughness go, you'll be hard pressed to find anyone with more than Jon Brockman. His playing time was limited, but Brockman showed a penchant for offensive rebounding and taking charges defensively. He suffered through a bruised left hip and a sprained MCL in his right knee, which limited his production. Despite being undersized and raw offensively, Jon endeared himself as a fan favorite through hustle and hardwork. Grade: C-
Andres Nocioni, SF - By any standards, 2009-10 was a down year for Andres Nocioni. He too played his way in and out of the starting lineup. To his credit, Nocioni never complained about his minutes or role. From time to time his shot selection left a lot to be desired, however his three point percentage was up from a year ago. Incredibly, the Argentine is the highest paid player on the team; leading me to believe that the Kings will attempt to move him this offseason. Grade: D+
Francisco Garcia, SG, SF - If Garcia's season could be summed up in one word, it would be injured. Garcia sustained a broken forearm in October which kept him out until February 16. El Flaco, as he is affectionately called by his teammates, played well in limited opportunity. His shooting percentages were first-rate. Unfortunately he is caught in a logjam at small forward, competing with Nocioni, Greene and Casspi. Garcia is now looked at as the veteran leader of the team. Grade: C
Ime Udoka, SG - Signed in early November, Udoka was the recipient of very limited playing time. Ime was arguably the premiere on ball defender on the roster. His shooting percentages were brutal across the board. Udoka is a free agent and likely will not be back. Grade: D+
Dominic McGuire, SF - The Kings acquired McGuire in an under the radar trade in February. He struggled finding his way onto the court in Sacramento, and when he finally did, he got hurt two minutes in to the game at Cleveland in March. McGuire is a free agent and is doubtful to return as King. Grade: Incomplete
Sean May, PF, C - May began the season as the team's starting center, but lost the job by the fifth game of the season. Sean went long stretches without seeing any action on the court, but when called upon, played reasonably well. The former Tar Heel was also working on a one year deal, his return is unlikely. Grade: D+
Paul Westphal, Coach - Playing with limited talent and one of the youngest rosters in the league, Westphal did a reasonable job in 2009-10. His rotating starting lineups caused a lot of frustration amongst the players. The Kings defense showed improvement under his direction, and the coach was wise enough to insert Tyreke Evans from day one as a starter. All in all, not much more could be expected from Paul Westphal. Grade: B-
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