2011-12 Record: 22-44, fourth place in Pacific Division, 14th in Western Conference
2012 NBA Draft: F Thomas Robinson (Kansas, 5th overall)
Offseason Losses: F Hassan Whiteside (waived)
Re-signed: F Jason Thompson (5 years, $30 million)
Projected Starting Line-up: PG Isaiah Thomas, SG Tyreke Evans, SF James Johnson, PF Jason Thompson, C DeMarcus Cousins
OFFSEASON GRADE: D
The “D” letter grade stands for “Depressing”.
Depressing is about the only way you can describe the Sacramento Kings franchise these days.
With all of the rumours surrounding the team concerning a potential and more than likely inevitable relocation, it’s hard to get excited about any moves made for the roster before the “big move” is set in stone.
Ever since a $391 million dollar deal to build a new entertainment complex between the city of Sacramento and the Maloof brothers fell through, the Maloofs have been searching for a new home for the franchise. Anaheim, Vancouver and even Virginia Beach have been discussed as possible cities in the running for the team. Until a deal is struck and an official verdict is given on where the Kings will be playing for the foreseeable future, the stigma of this dilemma will continue to shower itself over the team, leaving an awful aftertaste to be sure.
In a moment of actual good fortune, the Kings were lucky enough to have Kansas forward Thomas Robinson fall to them at pick #5 in the 2012 NBA Draft. Robinson was second on the teams draft board that night, so having him drop all the way to number 5 was too good to be true.
In his last year with the Jayhawks, Robinson averaged 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals a game. He was named the 2012 Big 12 Player of the Year and the Associated Press Big 12 Player of the Year.
Anyone who watched the Draft proceedings that night got a little glimpse into some of the ordeals Robinson has had to endure this past year. Under the most unfortunate of circumstances, Thomas lost his grandmother, grandfather and mother in a span of 3 weeks. Having those tragedies occur and still having the strength to continue on and develop into a tremendous basketball player and human being shows the character and the type of man the Sacramento Kings have now invested in long-term.
As far as actual basketball talent goes, Robinson has a lot of it. He’s an absolute beast in the paint when it comes to securing rebounds and his motor alone will give him a chance to compete on the glass night in and night out. His back to the basket skills need a bit of polish, but playing alongside DeMarcus Cousins will allow Robinson to develop that part of his game over time without it becoming an immediate issue. He was one of the most energetic, enthusiastic players in college basketball last season and an absolute pleasure to watch. The Kings have been known to take plays off once in a while, so a player like Robinson will surely help in that department. I can’t wait to see the kind of player Thomas Robinson turns into as I, and a lot of fans around the league, will be rooting for him.
When it comes to player acquisitions and deals made this offseason, they were few and far between. The moves that were made were, well…..pathetic to say the least.
After spending the last 2 seasons playing in China for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, guard Aaron Brooks has returned to the NBA after signing a 2 year, $6 million dollar deal with the Kings. His biggest success at the NBA level came back in 2010 when he was named the leagues Most Improved Player after averaging 19.6 points and 5.3 assists a game.
With all due respect to Brooks, did Sacramento really need another guard? Last time I checked, Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia, John Salmons, Jimmer Fredette and Marcus Thornton were all taking up time at the guard positions. Where exactly is all of this PT going to go? Brooks can help spread the offense by his ability to shoot the basketball which is nice, but so do a lot of the other guards on this team. What need does Brooks fulfill?
The Kings also acquired former Toronto Raptors starting small forward James Johnson this summer as well. James averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 rebounds in 62 games last season for Toronto. He’s underrated defensively and will give the Kings a shot in the arm on that end, if anything else.
Jason Thompson received a nice fat $30 million over 5 years deal from the Maloofs this summer.
Thompson averaged 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds last year for the team, which was apparently enough to warrant himself $6 million dollars a year. If he wasn’t so horribly overpaid and not taking time away from Thomas Robinson at the 4 spot, I would probably be a lot more friendly towards the move to keep Thompson.
But that’s not the case, now is it?
I suppose when you look at the big picture, it’s hard to figure out what kind of moves this team really could have made this offseason.
At the moment, the Kings franchise is poison. It’s radioactive.
Why would any player want to willingly go there with the probability of changing locations still looming large?
I certainly wouldn’t.
Sacramento does have some talent, and the future of Thomas Robinson does look bright, but this team is nowhere near a contender to make the playoffs.
Not even close.
OTHER OFFSEASON RECAPS: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports