The Sacramento Kings success may determine their future home
The Sacramento Kings have new prospect Jimmer Fredette to begin the 2011-2012 season. Building a successful season will be crucial to retaining talent, which has been a problem for the past five seasons. The disappointing 24-58 season in 2010-2011 leaves a bitter feeling in the hearts of Kings fans who have seen the team fail to meet expectations since the Rick Adelman era.
Still, the future of one of the youngest teams of the NBA is bright if they can build a well rounded roster. The Kings have only five players older than 25. The skill of team leader Tyreke Evans, former rookie of the year, with support from newly acquired Marcus Thompson bring a swift back court to distribute the ball. Now the team needs an offseason to prime the franchise for a return to compete in the Western Conference.
Here are the top five offseason moves that need to be made before the 2011 season tips off to build a competitive franchise again in Sacramento.
Hedo Turkoglu Would Be a BetterFit Now than Before
When Hedo Turkoglu left the Sacramento Kings, he was frustrated with the lack of playing time and his limited role. Since his departure, he justified his feelings of under-performing by establishing himself as a star with the Orlando magic organization. His clutch shooting and no-hesitation offense proved his ability to accomplish on the NBA level as more than just a role player.
Hedo has requested to be traded and has reportedly expressed interest in returning to the Kings. The Kings have shown the open gates of reception of former players with the re-acquisition of forward John Salmons.
When I spoke with Hedo before his trade at an appearance in Stockton, California, Hedo admitted he wanted to leave Sacramento because he was sitting out his prime on the bench. He would certainly get the minutes he desires with the Kings of today.
Turkoglu would be a better fit in the organization now without having to compete for playing time with the likes of Peja Stojakovic, Chris Webber, Kevin Martin, Doug Christie and others in the depth of past teams in Sacramento. Hedo brings a consistent scorer to the starting lineup.
Tyreke Evans may have the greatest upside potential in the NBA
The 21-year-old Tyreke Evans realized last season that his skills to get to the basket could be countered by a year of scouting and pressure-defense sets. Evans may have more upside than any other NBA player but needs a defined role to elevate to the next level.
Evans has passing skill but is a score first player. While this is great in a run-and-gun style game, Sacramento failed in half court situations in 2010. If Evans can become an Ervin Johnson-style oversized point guard, he could be an invaluable team leader. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, Evans can see the floor and lead his team to better opportunities at the point guard position.
In two seasons, Evans averaged 5.7 assists that are evidence to his skill at seeing the floor. Look for Evans to work on his handling and distributing before the first game of the 2011-2012 Sacramento Kings campaign. His field goal percentage dropped five percent in his sophomore season, and his coaching staff should work on addressing the shot selection quality when Tyreke Evans brings up the ball.
Kyle Korver does one thing very well. His shooting would help the Kings greatly.
Lakewood native Kyle Korver would be an excellent addition to the team without breaking the bank. Kyle Korver does one thing very well. His shooting would help the Kings greatly by spreading the floor and having skilled set players available for opportunities, instead of having seven guys like Donte Green who pay well all-around but are hard pressed when needing a player specialist.
Korver had a big season with the Chicago Bulls last year. His career 3-point percentage is a solid 41.1-percent. When he steps onto the floor for the season opener, it will be his 600th career game. His experience has taught him where to be on the floor to spot and shoot for good looks at the basket.
Having Kyle Korver on the bench would bring a weapon rarely seen in recent Kings history. He could help spread the floor and prevent one-and-out opportunities stemming from a lack of options to pass to for accurate attempts from the wing. Shooting woes troubled many games for the Kings, who had trouble finding consistent role players.
The Sacramento Kings are overstocked with big men. The problem associated with that is lack of a pecking order and consistent offensive production. Hassan Whiteside and J.J. Hickson are both unpolished players. All three are inconsistent. Still, Demarcus Cousins has real potential and a lot of power in the low block.
The key is order and discipline. The easily sparked and emotional Demarcus Cousins has great skill, but it is embedded with attitude. Cousins needs to be shown a role of leadership. Though he is young, he needs to feel an increased sense of responsibility for the success of his team and for the big man performance from his fellow teammates.
Being named to the All-Rookie First Team last season was an impressive start to a bright career for Demarcus Cousins. At 43-percent shooting in his first season, the potential for inside scoring is promising. If Cousins can check his ego, he may just find out how important he is if the Kings are to succeed in 2011-2012.
Sacramento Can Be the Best and Worst Home Arena in the League
The NBA's leader for consecutive sellout games is long gone. The memorable faces of Mike Bibby, Chris Webber and Vlade Divac are distant memories. If the management of the franchise continues on the trends and operations of last season, so will the team in California's capitol city.
The management of the arena debacle and the coming-and-going nature of franchise rumors and negotiations have soured the fans that once made for the loudest building in American professional basketball. Geoff Petrie has been doing his best to bring in talent that needs a lot of training and development.
If the offseason is successful, there may be a Sacramento Kings team that is ripe for a march to a No. 8 playoff seed in the 2011-2012 season. If Anaheim beckons and becomes the center of all news and activity, the season might derail before a dozen games have been played.
Northern California deserves a Lakers rivalry with a history of great games. The pride of the central valley would leave an unforgettable void if they were lured to the overflowing bucket of Southern California entertainment. The likelihood of a Sacramento franchise is dwindling, but perhaps this might be restored by the actions taken to put a quality product on the floor for the dedicated fans of Sacramento who are just waiting for a reason to return to their seats and bring out the cowbells once again.