JUST quietly the Sacramento Kings might be winning the offseason. I sprayed them in my Winners and Losers write up for not taking Malik Monk at #10, but in hindsight they clearly had a plan for their future. There is no reason to expect them to challenge for the title next year. I’m not delusional. I do however have faith in the front office and ownership for their choices they have made in the past few weeks. Haha, I couldn’t say that with a straight face.
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AS it stands there are nine Kings who are 23 or younger, with those players combining for six seasons of NBA experience. Therefore, the moves by the front office to bring in George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter (who combine for 41 seasons of NBA experience) are educated, poised transactions that will shape the future of the franchise.
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WE aren’t too long removed from the tumultuous time period when Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadivé’s sanity was legitimately being questioned. After trading their franchise player DeMarcus Cousins away at the All-Star break, Divac told the media that he actually had a better offer on the table. That isn’t exactly the type of quote fans want to here from someone running their franchise. Especially given that the Kings haven’t experienced a lot of success with the Divac/Ranadivé combo to date. That made the Kings draft and free agency choices all the more surprising. On draft night Sacramento traded back from 10th in order to get two picks, 15th and 20th. Those selections equated to Justin Jackson, a North Carolina Tar Heel fresh off a national title and a developing wing and Harry Giles, a Duke Blue Devil who has battled knee injuries, but was the No. 1 rated recruit out of high school.
THOSE two mid first rounders were sandwiched between De’Aaron Fox (5th) and Frank Mason (34th). Fox seems poised to be John Wall 2.0, an elite athlete and skilled floor general who very well may be the best player in this draft. A second round flyer on Mason, who was the National Player of the Year, gives them four young studs that join a youthful Sacramento core. The Kings already have a pair of young twin towers in Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, who once Boogie Cousins left, erupted in the second half of last season. In that Cousins trade they also acquired the sharp shooting Buddy Hield, yet again another talented youngster who is oozing with potential.
IT’S only right that those young studs are surrounded with quality veteran leadership and that’s exactly what the Kings have provided them the Carter/Hill/Randolph combo have amassed over 3000 career games together and have performed in a variety of roles. They will now be the leaders and veteran locker room presence to guide the younger generation on what needs to be done to be successful. With sustained success still a few years away the Kings could have opted to sign under performing vets, in an effort to keep more cap space for a run at a ‘big fish’ in the coming free agency periods. Instead they committed $89 million in total to the three veterans, who may not win many games for the franchise, but the guidance they will give the teams younger guys will be invaluable.
GENERATION next may have developed on their own and become stars in their own right without the guidance from these vets. However, the likes of Fox, Giles and Hield would have grown up watching the highlight reel of Vince Carter and now they get to play alongside him. We won’t see the benefits from this move for another few years yet, but for the first time in a long time it seems like the Kings are taking a step in the right direction.
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