Ever since the Rick Adelman era of 1998-2006, the Kings have pretty much been a staple at the bottom of the Western Conference of the NBA. Through a constant revolving door of coaches (6 in the past 8 years), and players (too many to count), and the recent purchase and relocation efforts of Seattle, Sacramento has been anything but stable. Now, with a new ownership group and some fresh faces in the coaching staff and the personnel on the court, we could see a resurgence of the Royalty of Sac-Town in the next couple years.
With new ownership, comes new beginnings. The Ranadive Group knew what they were getting into when they purchased the team a short few months ago from the Maloof family (yes, it does pain me to write that name….). They knew the team needed work and set about fixing it in short order. Through their hard work and changes, The Sacramento Kings could see a renewal of competitiveness and compete for a play-off spot in as little as 2-3 years.
Look, I know 2-3 years seems like a lifetime, but we have to be realistic about the timetable. If this team is going to be contenders year in and year out, it needs to be built the right way the first time. That means cutting the dead weight, finding your impact players, and building around them. This also means attacking the weak spots on the roster rather aggressively. The free-agent acquisitions of Greivis Vasquez, Carl Landry, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are a testament to this way of thinking. They were all brought in to foster competition and attack weak spots on the roster.
Outside of Isaiah Thomas, The Kings really didn’t have a solid #1 point-guard. Sure, Jimmer Freddette was serviceable in the short term, but by no means has he developed into the talent that people expected. Enter Greivis Vasquez, who cam to Sacramento from New Orleans. Vasquez has proven he is an NBA caliber point-guard. During his NBA tenure, he has been more than efficient in distributing the ball, averaging 9 assists per game.
The Kings have lacked a true point-guard since Mike Bibby. Bibby was a lynch pin player in The Kings offense because of his ability to shoot the ball, and distribute the ball equally well. By bringing in Vasquez, The Kings are making an attempt to find a point-guard for the future.
Carl Landry and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute are both physical players who can be assets on defense. Both men combined for an average of 10.4 rebounds a game. The defensive side of Sacramento’s game has been hurting for the past couple years. In the 2012-2013 season, Sacramento averaged 29.09 defensive rebounds to their opponents 31.72.
With the loss of Tyreke Evans, they lost an average of 3.6 rebounds on the defensive side. Subtracting that from the season average and adding Landry and Mbah a Moute’s contributions, the team would end up with an average somewhere in the neighborhood of 35.89 defensive rebounds. This will create more opportunities to score, and by upping their defense, Sacramento is upgrading their overall playing style.
For the combined reasons of new owners, improved play and personnel on both sides of the ball, and the new-found stability in their home of Sacramento, The Kings are poised to make the first step on the road back to greatness. In the span of the next couple years, they will be right back on track to the Western Conference Finals.