NBA 2013-14 Season Preview: Sacramento Kings

Despite having a top 7 draft pick for the last five years, the Sacramento Kings just have not been able to get it together.  Even with the selections of all-star talents such as Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, Sactown has not been able to capitalize with a winning season.  They’re hoping for a more positive result this year as they drafted Kansas star Ben McLemore and traded Tyreke Evans to the New Orleans Pelicans for point guard Greivis Vasquez.  Will that be enough to steer them in the right direction?  Here, we’ll take a look at the 2013-14 Sacramento Kings:

Guards (B+): Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, Jimmer Fredette/Ray McCallum

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There’s no question Sacramento gave up the more talented player in the Tyreke Evans-Greivis Vasquez deal.  However, Ben McLemore sliding all the way down to the Kings caused a mess at shooting guard.  One of them would have to go and Evans it was.  On the bright side, Greivis Vasquez gives Sactown a reliable guard who knows how to manage the floor very well.  Floor management was something Sacramento struggled heavily on in the last couple years, despite having more than enough talented guards.  This trade allows Marcus Thornton to get his starting job back and makes Ben McLemore their sixth man, where he has tremendous upside.  Every guard listed above can shoot the ball from deep.  Soon enough, the Kings are going to have to surrender one more guard, such as Jimmer Fredette, who may be buried on the bench.

Forwards (C+): Luc Mbah a Moute, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons, Chuck Hayes, Travis Outlaw, Carl Landry (IR)

There aren’t too many names that stand out here.  To be honest, Patrick Patterson is my favorite player out of this disappointing group of forwards.  Patterson has the most potential of these players by far.  I’m not saying he’s going to be an all-star.  Just compared to the rest of these forwards, he catches my eye.  He’s one of those tweener type forwards: a little slow to play the three but doesn’t play big enough to play the four.  He reminds me somewhat of Al Harrington.  Mbah a Moute earns his respect by working very hard on the court.  He makes those plays that don’t always show on the statsheet.  However, L.R.M.A.M. has peaked as a player.  John Salmons may or may not be the starter at the beginning of the season.  I have some doubts about him keeping that job for the entire season.

Centers (A-): DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Hamady N’diaye

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I’m a huge fan of DeMarcus Cousins.  I’m one of many who cherishes his game and thinks he’s an absolute beast.  That’s because he is.  Cousins seemed to calm down a bit last season and improve his attitude.  I think that’s part of the reason Sactown held onto him and, eventually, signed him to a longterm deal.  Cousins can sometimes zone out on the court and become less effective.  He needs to cut out that habit and become a consistent 20-10 man, which he’s capable of doing.  Thompson can play the power forward and center positions.  I think he’s a very solid bench player.  His length benefits the team on defense and he has a pretty pure midrange stroke.

Defense (C+): DeMarcus Cousins has the motor and athletic ability to be a good, consistent defender.  I don’t think the coaching staff is expecting him to be a dominant post defender because that’s not the type of player he is.  As long as he’s a serviceable defensive presence down-low, he will be an all-star center.  Sactown’s defense is probably best with Cousins, Thompson, and Mbah a Moute all on the court together.  I’m not crazy about the defensive ability of it’s guards.  The forwards and centers should keep this defense somewhat in check.

Shooting (A-): It’s a bit ironic their most pure shooter, Jimmer Fredette, might not even be in the rotation.  He really needs to be traded to a team that could use an outside shooting presence.  Although both can be inconsistent at times, McLemore and Thornton can shoot the deep ball.  Thornton can be unconscious when he heats up.  We have yet to see what type of a scorer McLemore will be in the NBA but he was regarded as an excellent all-around shooter in college.  Patterson, Cousins, and Thompson are all comfortable letting loose from outside the paint.

Experience (C): They inked Cousins to a longterm deal.  What’s next?  I have yet to see a true plan in place for Sacramento’s future.  Maybe we will get some answers this season, whether it’s McLemore’s impressive rookie play or another significant roster change.

Standing – 13th West: Although there is a decent amount of young talent on this team, it’s just not ready to compete.  Definitely not in this nightmare of a conference.  One more year and the Kings should start getting competitive.