NBA Preview: Sacramento Kings 2014-15 Season Primer


NBA Preview: Sacramento Kings

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2013-14 record: 28-54

2013-14 MVP: DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins

Three Things I Think I Know…

  1. Boogie Cousins will be an All Star. He should’ve been last season, statistically speaking, but his team’s lack of success played a part in him not being selected. He was top-10 in scoring and top-5 in rebounding and, of course, I expect those stats to improve after his Team USA involvement. He’s already had game, but now he’s coming in with strengthened leadership.
  2. There will be a lot of scrutiny on the point guard position. The Kings have played hot potato with the point guard position since drafting Tyreke Evans out of Memphis in 2009. Since then, we’ve had Pooh Jeter, Beno Udrih, Greivis Vasquez, and Isaiah Thomas (and I know I’ve missed some), all of whom are no longer with the team. Now it’s up to Darren Collison to gain some confidence from the organization from this position. Ramon Sessions also provides some depth.
  3. The Kings are building around Boogie and I don’t believe that they’re confident they have their final roster. I expect some shakeups in the roster throughout the season. This new regime has been aggressive in their personnel moves and I expect that to continue this season.

Key Additions:

  • Darren Collison (free agency)
  • Ramon Sessions (free agency)
  • Ryan Hollins (free agency)

Key Losses:

  • Isaiah Thomas (free agency)

The Kings will be a playoff team if…

Boogie’s continued improvement spreads to his teammates. One name I haven’t mentioned yet is Rudy Gay. His play was very solid after joining the Kings and they’ll look to him as a veteran to lead this team by example.

His rugged play on Team USA this summer was not flashy, but it was gritty and effective, even if limited. Also, one of the Kings’ last two draft picks will have to earn their draft lottery status this season. Whether that is Ben McLemore playing like the young shooter we saw at Kansas, or Nik Stauskas living up to, or outplaying, his surprise lottery selection. One of the two young shooting guards needs to contribute immensely.

The Kings play in one of the tougher divisions in the NBA, helped out only by the fact that Los Angeles Lakers might actually look weaker in comparison. But there are still the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, and Phoenix Suns, who’ve all surpassed the Kings over the last several seasons.

Coach Malone’s defense first strategy will be extremely important if the Kings even hope to compete for a playoff spot.

Team Strengths:

Biased opinion or not, the Kings have the best scoring center in the league. Hands down. Now if he shows the defensive improvement he did during his Team USA play, Boogie Cousins will be THE best center in the league.

Perimeter scoring – Rudy Gay has been an underrated scorer for awhile, although that may be mostly because of his volume shooting and low shooting percentages, but as a King, Gay’s scoring has been effective and efficient. Darren Collison is a shoot-first point guard who, as some may have forgotten, has started in this league before. He’s a confident scorer who attacks the basket aggressively and will open up shots for the two young shooting guards Stauskas and McLemore.

Team Weaknesses:

DEFENSE – This is nothing new. The Kings can’t play D. Fortunately, Coach Malone is a defense-first coach and perhaps he can get the team to improve upon their defensive inefficiencies.

Overall Talent – Like I said, this regime has been aggressive acquiring and moving talent, but something about this team still seems underwhelming on paper. Just in the Pacific Division alone, the Kings’ point guards will be facing max contract players like Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, and Eric Bledsoe. And other than Boogie, the Kings don’t dominate any position, except an argument can be made for Gay. Understandably, teams aren’t built overnight and it’s the new regime’s second year in command, plus we need to give our young draft picks time to develop. But currently, this team doesn’t pose much of a threat to its own division much less the entire Western Conference.

2014-15 Team MVP will be…

Boogie Cousins. Don’t expect that to change any time soon.

Season Defining Question:

Now, I said that the roster may still be an issue, but we’ve seen lesser rosters reach the playoffs based solely on their style of play. The big question will be: Can Coach Malone incorporate a system that the Kings can not only buy into, but execute well enough to compete against elite teams? (i.e. Chicago Bulls, minus Derrick Rose or Philadelphia 76ers in Andre Igoudala’s final season there)

Best Case Scenario:


Worst Case Scenario: