The Sacramento Kings are a team on the rise. The Kings have had a relatively busy off-season with new ownership, and a new sense of urgency, to put a winning team on the floor. New owner Vivek Ranadive has quickly put his own stamp on the team, bringing in staff that he was comfortable with from the Golden State Warriors.
With the Kings in the midst of investing heavily in center DeMarcus Cousins, they feel the need to bring in quality talent to surround Cousins with. With Monta Ellis as the highest scoring free agent left, and Ranadive’s familiarity with the guard, the Kings seem the perfect landing spot for the former Milwaukee Buck.
The Kings lost their primary ball handler in Tyreke Evans along with his season average of 15.2 ppg. Bringing in Ellis (19.2 ppg) will be considered by most an upgrade, as his scoring ability is considered superior. Both players have similar career average field goal percentage, with Ellis’ 45.6 slightly higher than Evans 44.9.This means both players are similar in their efficiency on offense. Evans and Ellis are also similar in their assist numbers 4.8 and 4.7 respectively.
Monta Ellis is a dynamic player and at times a prolific scorer, but his weaknesses are also very apparent. Ellis is not a great passer of the ball, and tends to force the issue in very crucial parts of the game. He has a tendency to take bad shots when passing would have been the better option. While this is vital, it shouldn’t prevent the Kings from going after the guard. Playing in the right system can fix some of the passing issues, and having a big on the post like Cousins should also help.
The Kings also need to clear some cap room to fit Ellis’ contract, likely $11-$13 million. Sacramento had $6 million in cap space yesterday, but that was before they acquired forward Luc Mbah a Moute from the Milwaukee Bucks. Mbah a Moute has $9 million over two years remaining on his contract.
There were reports suggesting the Kings were looking to move Marcus Thornton and Jimmer Fredette to clear room for Ellis’ contract without venturing into the realm of the luxury tax.
The Sacramento Kings want to be relevant again. In the NBA, teams need stars to win and maintain the winning culture.
Monta Ellis is a star. He can create his own shots and he can take pressure off of DeMarcus Cousins. For the Kings, this will represent their turning point and if they pull it off, it will be considered a major coup.