For the last several years, the Sacramento Kings have been full of excuses.
It's OK that DeMarcus Cousins acts like a total head case because he's young, and so is the rest of his team.
It's OK that the Maloofs are making zero effort to attract free agents of any caliber to Sacramento, because it's a small market, and there isn't enough money to go around.
We're fine with Tyreke maybe not working as hard as he could because he's the best we've got, the face of our franchise for years to come.
But the time for excuses is over. Successful franchises don't make excuses—they make changes. And although no one would confuse the Kings with a successful franchise, they will never again become one unless they start acting like it, from the front office to the coaching staff to the players.
It is time for the Kings to grow up and take actual, measurable, perceptible steps forward.
But I'm (sort of) optimistic.
The 2012 NBA season could be a key turning point for a franchise that finally lives up to (some) of its potential.
Here are seven ways the Kings can begin to take these steps.