Considering the Kings tenure in Sacramento appears to be drawing to an end, I thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss.
Over the course of a franchise there are always those players that are around for a short period of time, and contribute, but are gone just as fast as they came. But I am most interested more so in the players that played just a season in the purple and black, or even the powder blues and red.
I'll start with honorable mention:
Vernon Maxwell (Pictured above)
V-Max helped get the Kings glory years kicked off as the first sixth man on that 1999 playoff team that lost the the Jazz in the first round. He was there just a year before the "Bench Mob" began their formation. Maxwell provided an ample bump off the bench, dropping in 10.7 points per game in 21.9 minutes per game.
Clark was kind of an anomaly. While he did manage to beat the Mavericks on two separate occasions that season, he still was somewhat of an underachiever overall. While he filled in for Scot Pollard for most of the year, as he was injured, his numbers were not too gaudy, with about he most significant one being the 1.9 blocks he averaged per game in just 22.3 minutes of action.
Jackson was on his ninth team in six years, and I remember hearing at one point that he hadn't been in an actual training camp in about four years, Jackson was a pick up early in the year due to Hedo Turkoglu's injury, who ended up losing his spot in the rotation. Jackson had a solid season off the bench, scoring 7.7 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 1.9 assists per game in 20.8 minutes per game.
In the playoffs Jackson really proved his worth with several solid performances and was a valuable asset to the team that season, which tragically marked the beginning of the end with Chris Webber's knee injury against he Mavericks in the second round.
Drew Gooden (Pictured Above)
It was literally one, and done. Gooden played one game with the Kings before being placed on waivers so he could join a playoff team, the San Antonio Spurs. He came over in the Brad Miller/John Salmons salary dump and played against the Charlotte Bobcats. He played 26 minutes and grabbed 13 rebounds, scored 12 points and dished out two assists in his one and only game for the purple and black.
Now, without further ado, the five best players to don a Kings jersey for a season or less.
Hopson had drawn comparisons to Michael Jordan coming out of Ohio State, and even played a season under his Airness. And surprisingly he never lived up to the lofty expectations of being near as good as the greatest player to play the game.
Although, before he took his talents to Eastern Europe, Hopson did have a successful season off the bench for the Kings in the 1991-92 season. Coming off the bench Hopson played 18.9 minutes per game and dropped in 10.7 points per game along with three rebounds per game and 1.5 assists. On a per 36 minutes basis Hopson would have averaged 20.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and nearly two steals per game and a block.
Yes, those numbers are based on averages and an assumption, but had he not bolted for Europe, perhaps he could have salvaged his career. But, there was that one guy named Mitch Richmond too that the Kings had just traded for, and I think he was pretty good.
In a last ditch effort to shake things up and try to make the Kings more potent while still rebuilding on the fly, Petrie dealt fan favorite Doug Christie to Orlando mid-season for Mobley who was younger and offered a more potent offensive attack.
The undersized two guard had some memorable moments for the Kings, but mostly served as a stop gap until he would leave for the Clippers the following year.
In 43 games with the Kings, Mobley 17.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, while shooting 42.4 percent from downtown. Mobley would be apart of the second to last playoff team to play in Sacramento.
Okay, so Ainge played more than a season with the Kings, a season and a half about. Part of a mid-season swap that sent Ed Pickney and Joe Kline to Boston for Ainge and Brad Lohaus, Ainge was not intent to stay with the Kings.
After his first full season, Ainge bolted for Portland and eventually Phoenix where he would be the spark off the bench for two teams that were not cellar dwellers in the early 90s.
In his 103 games with Sacramento, Ainge averaged 18.5 points, 6.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.
The story of Berry's one and done is a particularly saddening one.
A promising player at the age of 24 took his own life shortly before the start of his second season.
Berry was obviously more than a basketball player, he was a person too, and a troubled one it would seem. Former coach Jerry Reynolds felt Berry was destined to be a star. And several of his teammates saw the potential, including Harold Pressley who thought Berry had a knack for shooting, according to a Slam Magazine interview.
For his rookie year, Berry averaged 11 points and grabbed 3.1 rebounds per game in 22 minutes of action. He also was a lights out shooter, draining 40.6 percent of his shots behind the arc. Pressley even recounts Berry stroking 30 foot three pointers one after another and made it look, "effortless," according to a Slam Magazine interview.
The last six weeks of the season, Berry averaged 18.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, more in line with his per 36 minutes averages for the season of 18 points per game and five rebounds.
Berry will always be the big, "What if," when thinking back to those early 90s Kings. Things could have been so much different, or at least Berry would still be alive and well today hopefully.
Bonzi, a nickname he got from his mother who ate lots of Bonbons when she was pregnant with him, was the replacement for Mobley during the 2005 off-season, which saw another fan favorite, Bobby Jackson, traded to Memphis.
Wells was brought in and apart of what some had speculated would be a team that would win the Pacific Division that season. Nothing could have been farther from that guess.
The Kings were around seven or eight games bellow .500, until they traded for Ron Artest at the deadline and brought life into a fading Kings team. The Kings finished off the season with the second best record post All-Star break and had developed a high-low offense which had Wells and Artest abusing smaller wing players around the basketball with Miller, Abdul-Rahim and Thomas floating around the perimeter for open jumpshots.
Wells even led the team in rebounds at 7.7 per game, while scoring 13.6 points, snagging the ball 1.8 times and dishing out 2.8 assists per game.
Wells battled injuries, playing in just 52 games that season, but had a huge post season against the Spurs, posting 23.3 points and grabbing 12 rebounds per game which led all players in the playoffs according to Basketball-Reference.com. Wells shot a blistering 60.9 percent in the playoffs as well.
Petrie offered Wells a bloated five year, $36 million contract, one that he would turn down. He later signed with the Houston Rockets for two years at $4 million.