When the Sacremento Kings come to the draft table on Thursday evening. They will do so from what has become a very familiar position inside the top 10 of the NBA draft. However, new figures will be representing the team at the draft and they will have a short amount of time to impart a vision upon this franchise and try to turn a team around that hasn’t made the NBA playoffs since 2006.
Pete D’Alessandro joins Sacremento as the team’s new General Manager, Mike Bratz also joins as the Assistant GM and Michael Malone is the new head coach. This is the trio that have been charged with turning around an organization that has perhaps hit rock bottom. Just staying in Sacremento at all has been a challenge for the Kings in recent months with Seattle favored as a popular destination.
Still, it’s time to move on and move forward for this team. They pick #7 on Thursday night and that will be the first opportunity for D’Alessandro, Bratz and Malone to make their mark on this team. That will have to be just the beginning though.
Few teams have been dumped upon as badly as the Kings in recent seasons. Their defense has been atrocious, which is always the sign of ill-discipline, there has been virtually no on-court success despite a sequence of high draft picks and first hand reports of veteran players being frustrated and disgusted at the attitude and behavior of the team’s younger players are all too common.
Sacremento has missed the playoffs in seven consecutive seasons, they’ve had a record below .400 in the past five and have languished at the bottom of the Western conference.
This is a team that made the postseason eight consecutive times between 1998 and 2006. They had a spell of pretty strong success and even reached the conference finals in 2002 where they took the Los Angeles Lakers to seven games. That was during the Lakers threepeat spell led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
The pieces are definitely in place for the Kings to return to some sort of prominence. Tyreke Evans and his numbers have declined every season since he burst onto the scene scoring more than 20 points per game and winning rookie of the year honors in 2010. DeMarcus Cousins remains a promising piece at center, Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson also feature on the front line, while Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette are pretty promising prospects at point guard.
The problem isn’t talent. It is discipline and balance. A clear vision revolving around focused team construction is quite clearly needed for Sacremento to start building towards genuine success. It starts on Thursday, but it continues throughout the summer and will last at least the next couple of seasons if not more.