10 Bold Predictions for Jimmer Fredette, Tyreke Evans and the Sacramento Kings
The hardships of lifting the NBA lockout take a huge weight off the minds of most NBA players and fans.
The Sacramento Kings may not share in the same exuberance with the overhanging shadow of the franchise possibly moving after this shortened basketball season.
Regardless of the franchise location the 2011-12 NBA season will be a big year for the rebuilding of the Sacramento Kings.
Here are 10 bold predictions for the events and milestones to be reached this year by the team.
Better Attendance and Fan Support in Shortened Season
The end of last season in Sacramento marked a return of the fans in support of the team staying in California's capitol city. If the fans wish to continue to send that message of the support they will be showing up in droves once again to the arena to cheer for their team.
Pick up your cow bells at the door.
Improved Win Percentage
The Kings finished 24-58 and placed second to last in the Western Conference to the Timberwolves. That record equates to a 29.3 win percentage.
The youth of the Kings that lacked experience resulted in their lackluster performance last year. Even with the damage of not being able to play as a team through this part of 2011, the team will be more familiar with each other from the onset of the new season.
The Kings should be able to learn from their mistakes and develop as a unit into a team that can play closer to the .500 level and compete in each game this season.
Jimmer Fredette Becomes the Next Great NBA Shooter
Jimmer Fredette has the potential to be better than the Kyle Korver type of shooter that needs to be given the ball and open to score.
Fredette is a dynamic shooter. He can shoot on the move and when contested. He also has enough of a dribble move to evade defenders with a successful pump fake that should allow him to get himself opportunities to score or dish to teammates.
Look for at least 10 points per game for Fredette this year.
DeMarcus Cousins Becomes a Top-10 NBA Center
College teammate John Wall always had great things to say about Cousins and his rookie year production delivered on expectations. Cousins is a talented big man with a tremendous upside.
If the Kings can implement proper roles and find DeMarcus as a developing team player, his potential is almost boundless.
Look for Cousins to mature on and off the court with one year of experience and gain more ability in the post and on the offensive glass.
He is one year away from being an All-Star center in the NBA.
Tyreke Evans Becomes Starting Point Guard
Even if the title of his position says otherwise, I expect Tyreke Evans to be the dominant ball-handler this year. He is hands-down the best creator and passer on the team.
His height and speed makes him a unique asset. He has become a better passer and a smarter player. If he can fake out defenses into looking for him to pass, he becomes a more valuable player for the Kings.
Marcus Thornton Gets Re-Signed
Since entering the NBA, Marcus Thornton has seen his popularity and stock rise steadily.
After moving from the Hornets and making Kings fans delete the name Carl Landry from their memory, Thornton is a key re-signing for the Kings to maintain a dynamic backcourt.
Two Players Must Go
The explosion of a medicine ball caused missed time for Francisco Garcia while lifting weights and the resulting overstock of small forwards with the same skill set resulted after his return.
Francisco Garcia, Donte Greene, Darnell Jackson, Hassan Whiteside.
The first two are the same kind of shooting swing men. The last two are the same power forward-type big men. Clearing cap room and packaging an offer should bring in at least one impact player.
Interior Defensive Improvement
Acquiring J.J. Hickson and Hassan Whiteside should help deny penetration that hurt the Kings in the past two seasons.
Denying easy baskets will help level the playing field against the driving guards of the Pacific Division.
Best Year of Francisco Garcia's Career
Francisco Garcia was the first player to show up after the lockout lifted. Garcia spoke about team chemistry and assured he is feeling good and ready to go.
Garcia knows this team better than anyone and is among the longest-tenured players. His skill and leadership will be needed this season.
Making a Run for the Playoffs
It is going to be a tough shortened season for Sacramento, but it may be the opportunity to upset the balance of the league thrown off by the abbreviated schedule.
Look for the rookies to get minutes and the team to gel together and make a solid run for the No. 8 playoff seed in the west this year. It may be the only chance to impress the powers investing in the future of the team in Sacramento.