Sacramento Kings Season Preview: Opening Night Starting Lineup
The first regular season game is right around the corner, and there is still a lot of grey areas about the rotation that Westphal will use.
About the only for sure starter right now is Tyreke Evans. The rest is up in the air. But a nice off-season and promising young players could make for an interesting season.
Sacramento is coming off of yet another solid draft and maturation of players along with a few signings. The Kings look poised to be more competitive this season.
One can only hope they will be more of a threat than the 25 win team they were just a season ago. With the promise and talent this team posses it would be hard to say they wouldn't be better. But there are still several question marks.
Now I feel the starting lineup for the first game will look almost nothing like the one that will end the season. So lets see who gets the nod!
C: Samuel Dalembert
Dalembert is the result of trade that sent Spencer Hawes and Andres Nocioni to Philadelphia. And a great result at that.
He offers an anchor to the post the Kings have never had and someone who cleans the glass better than any post player the Kings have had since Chris Webber.
I'm not sure if Dalembert will start at the end of the season or be on the team still for that matter. But his experience and generally happy demeanor should be nothing but a positive addition to this team.
PF: Carl Landry
Landry is an incredibly efficient scorer for an undersized post player. He is scrappy and aggressive as hell, someone who will be a much needed punch to start the season hopefully.
As with Dalembert, I'm not sure if he will still be in a Kings uniform by the end of the season, but I do know that he most likely not start the whole season.
Landry was such a great offensive threat in Houston off their bench being one of the very few effective scoring big men off the bench for a team. Perhaps moving back to a reserve role for Sacramento would bring back some of that spark and tenacity he had while with the Rockets.
SF: Francisco Garcia
This one is really tough, because I think that Garcia is the logical choice and would provoke Donte Greene and Omri Casspi to fight for minutes and eventually earn the starting spot.
But with the arrival of Marcus Landry, brother to Carl Landry, the picture has become even less clear. Marcus has been very solid through training camp and several people have said has been outplaying a most of the people in camp.
Landry could be the decoy starter at the beginning of the year as well to jump start Casspi and Greene.
But if Green or Casspi gets motivated or plays their asses off during the pre-season, one of them could snag the starting role before opening night.
It might come down to who is shooting better come opening night, Westphal is looking someone who can knock down those corner threes on kick-outs.
SG: Tyreke Evans
This is somewhat of a given.
Evans is the reigning Rookie of the Year and looks to only be getting better hopefully. He is a big physical combo guard that can run the point a little and score a lot.
The biggest issue with Evans was his shot, it was ugly with a hitch and he was not particularly accurate. He tweaked his form this summer and his new shot looks much better.
If he can expand his range to three point territory and shoot much better than the the 25.5 percent he made last season.
So long as Evans can keep up his effort and not attempt racing anymore people he should be in a good spot to make another leap forward this coming season.
Garcia could start here with Evans at the point and both share the point guard duties to start the season, but I think Garcia is better served coming off the bench.
PG: Beno Udrih
Udrih was arguably the most consistent King last season who also really redeemed himself after a disastrous 2008-2009 season.
Udrih was a surprisingly great compliment to Evans in the backcourt. Both played a little bit of point while also being able to find their own shot and Evans often found Udrih open for midrange jumpers that he virtually never missed.
Udrih should be the starter and continue to start baring some sort of injury or strange rotation pattern Westphal decides to implement.
If the Kings can land a more athletic and better defensive version of Udrih then I would imagine he would be relegated to the bench. But otherwise, he should be and I imagine will be the starter.
The Bench and Future
It is hard to tell who I think will be the top reserves, considering I think at least three of the top reserves in my scenario will eventually move to the starting lineup.
My ideal bench, which I imagine will begin to take shape closer towards the 20-30 game mark hopefully, is the one I will list.
C - DeMarcus Cousins
PF - Jason Thompson
SF - Donte Greene
SG - Tyreke Evans
PG - Beno Udrih
Hassan Whiteside/Antoine Wright/Luther Head
And let me just say I hope Green does start at the end of the season because of his physical abilities and Casspi's physical limitations.
Casspi will most likely be a very good player in the coming years but is a better energizer off the bench. You get the same effort from him regardless of whether he starts or is your sixth man.
But of neither jump out and earn the starting role, I have no problem with Garcia starting the rest of the season, so long as he stay healthy.
And I think the starting lineup I have listed would be ideal if the Kings do decide to move Dalembert and possibly Landry. Dalembert may be able to net us a great talent with his expiring contract and Landry's appeal.
Another combo guard/scoring guard who can distribute a bit and play defense would be ideal for the Kings, hopefully Petrie and the Kings could net someone at the deadline.
Otherwise, they continue to keep doing what they've always done, wait. Wait for the best opportunity.
How good can this team be is another difficult question to answer. They could be very good with an incredibly deep bench and potentially challenge for a playoff spot. But they could also be a team that struggles to win 30 games this year.
We can only wait and see how well they play come opening night.
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