Sacramento Kings: A Look at the Present and the Future

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Nov 24, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans (13) attempts a shot past Utah Jazz center Al Jefferson (25) during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

Tyreke Evans, Toney Douglas, and James Johnson are all restricted free agents, and on July 1st, they will be allowed to receive other qualifying offers from teams. The Kings are allowed to match any offer from other teams, but would be wise to sign Evans before he becomes enticed into playing elsewhere.

Cole Aldrich is the Kings’ only unrestricted free agent, and if the Kings can get him at a good price, he would be a valuable addition to the team because of his size, his defensive nature, and his work ethic.

Evans is a valuable player who has been misused in a Kings system where they are searching for a traditional point guard. Evans best season was arguably his rookie season. Evans played primarily point guard, and created consistent mismatch problems for other teams smaller point guards. At 6’6″ and 220 pounds, Evans is a very oversized guard. However, he is very capable of handling the ball, distributing the ball, and running an uptempo style offense.

Evans has been used at the small forward and shooting guard since the arrival of Isaiah Thomas. Thomas has earned praise around the league as he has emerged as a consistent scorer and a capable play maker. Thomas’ major drawbacks are similar to most players who are capable scorers on a struggling team: he hasn’t shown a willingness to be the type of selfless play maker the Kings need.

While he has shown he is more than capable, in games Thomas started, he had 27 games with two assists or less. In seven of those games, Thomas failed to record a single assist.

Thomas has shown a type of maturity and leadership that suggests he would accept a more regular bench role. He could be a very effective sixth man for the Kings, and he could provide the leadership and energy off the bench the hasn’t been a part of Kings basketball since assistant coach Bobby Jackson was suiting up for the Kings. Thomas could become a core player who regularly provides a spark off the bench.

March 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) controls the ball against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

J.R. Smith and Nate Robinson are both players that Thomas resembles and could surpass on several levels. Both Smith and Robinson have provided very solid blueprints for successful high- scoring guards playing off the bench, and Thomas could move to the sixth man position if Evans’ services are retained by the team and he regains his starting point guard position.

Isaiah Thomas is a very capable player who is very similar to former Kings guard, and current Assistant Coach Bobby Jackson. Thomas has superior numbers coming off the bench in almost every statistical category that matters, and has shown that he is very capable of creating his own shot and scoring in bunches.

Rather than forcing Marcus Thornton into a bench role, the Kings should bring Thomas in off the bench and allow Thornton to start at shooting guard, while returning Evans to point guard. Thornton averaged nearly 20 points two seasons ago as a consistent starter for the Kings, and has repeatedly shown he is capable of having big scoring nights. Thornton adds fuel to the fire that Thomas should come off the bench and Thornton and Evans should be sharing the starting duties for the Kings backcourt.