NBA 2011: Why the Sacramento Kings Are on Their Way Back to Relevance

Mark EvansCorrespondent IIIAugust 1, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 21:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks to pass while defended by Tyreke Evans #13 and Eugene Jeter #5 of the Sacramento Kings at Oracle Arena on January 21, 2011 in Oakland, California. 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The past few years have certainly been tough for the Sacramento Kings. One would think that things can only get better, right?

Well, things seem to be on the upswing.

It starts with their combo guard and former rookie of the year, Tyreke Evans. Evans struggled in his second year, partially due to injury problems. He was used more as a shooting guard this past season, which is a change from when he was primarily a point guard in his first year.

The former Memphis standout will have to be more efficient than last year, when he shot at only 41 percent from the field. As a point guard, however, Evans creates huge matchup problems at 6'6". The Kings need to put him back at his best position, point guard.

Next is DeMarcus Cousins. Huge questions surrounded Cousins when he declared for the NBA draft regarding his maturity, and for good reason. He has more than his fair share of mental issues, but make no mistake about it: he can straight up ball.

Cousins has great size for an NBA center and is tremendously strong. Unlike most centers in today's NBA, he actually has a pretty good offensive arsenal. If he gets his head straight, watch out. He could be a dominant center for a long time.

Marcus Thorton is an interesting player. Prior to his trade to the Kings, he was nothing more than a decent player who could help a team situationally and score a little. Who knows what got into him, but he became a huge scorer, averaging 21 points per game with the Kings and bursting out for many more from time to time. A backcourt of Tyreke and Thorton certainly has it's potential.

And then there's the fan favorite, no other than Jimmer Fredette. He's not going to average 30 points per game in the NBA, but that doesn't mean he won't be a good player. Yes, his shot selection will have to be better. But he now has a team with other decent players on it, which wasn't the case at BYU.

Can he be a good third guard off the bench in his rookie year? I believe so. He will be better on defense, and yes, he will still make shots. He is too determined and disciplined to fail.

That being said, will the Kings make the playoffs this year? I don't see it happening. There's only one direction to go, and that's up. And all of their young players will only get better from here.

The Kings have a good point guard, a potentially great center, and a few other nice pieces. It's a start.

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