How Good Can The Sacramento Kings Become?
I just saw the Sacramento Kings play in Salt Lake City against the Utah Jazz, and while I was there to watch my favorite team play in their home building for the first time ever, I was also excited to see the young and exciting Sacramento Kings. The Kings are not having a very good season. They are 18-34, and are last in the Pacific Division. But unlike other teams that are bad, they have some young stars to look towards who can turn them into contenders out west within 3 years.
First off, they have Tyreke Evans, the 6’6 point guard/shooting guard who is averaging 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. He is only in his 3rd season in the NBA, but he is already proving to be one with a very bright future in this league. His size, strength, and ball handling abilities make him a very scary player. Even though he has regressed statistically from his rookie season, there is no reason not to think that Tyreke Evans won’t be a huge part of some future Sacramento Kings playoff success.
Another key player they have is shooting guard Marcus Thornton who is averaging 19 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. He is a great complimentary player to Tyreke Evans and is a reason why Evans’ numbers are down in the scoring department. He is a very explosive 2-guard, and he is also only in his 3rd season in the NBA.
After Thornton and Evans, you have Jason Thompson in the paint. The 6’11 250 pound power forward has a lot of potential, and keeps getting better every game. Currently in his 4th NBA season, Thompson is starting to look more and more like a legitimate go-to option in the paint for the Sacramento Kings. He is currently averaging 8.8 points per game on the year, but over his last 9 games, he’s been averaging 13 a game and had 3 games with 19+ points. Thompson is still young, and he’s going to continue to improve his game and turn into a very dangerous post-player.
In addition to these rising stars, the Kings also have two promising rookies in Jimmer Fredette and Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is a pure point guard, and he’s proving that he’s a legit point guard in the NBA. Averaging 10 points and 3.7 assists per game in just under 24 minutes of action per game. Not bad for the final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. The Kings still need a true point guard, something that Evans really is not, and they may have their guy in Isaiah Thomas.
As for Jimmer, he’s still finding his role and place in Sacramento. In 18 minutes of action per game, Jimmer averages a meager 7 points per game and 1.7 assists per game. But the Kings don’t really run a system that seems to fit his style either. They are a more up and down tempo team and they seem to want Jimmer to be a point guard that plays that style. No matter how good Jimmer gets at passing the ball and running an offense, his shot will always be his forte. If the Kings can figure out a way to utilize his shooting abilities more, they will really have something going.
There is one player who I am yet to mention who is the real key to whether or not Sacramento becomes a championship contender within 3 years. That would be the explosive and freakishly talented DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins is in his 2nd season in the NBA and he’s already averaging a double-double. He currently averages 17.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Standing at 6’11 and weighing at 270 lbs, Cousins is a force in the paint and along with all those good scorers and shooters on the perimeter, Cousins is able to flourish in the paint without being double-teamed too often.
He has all-star potential, but does have the tendency to be immature and act childish. He had a run-in with coach Paul Westphal earlier in the season, and is said to be a reason for why Westphal got fired. Cousins needs to mature and become a leader on this Kings team. Especially since he has the most potential of anybody on this team. If Cousins can harness his talent and live up to all the potential he has, the Kings will really be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
The Sacramento Kings are flying under the radar this season due to their lack of success, but if you analyze their team (as I have), you start to realize that they are a team with loads of potential. With a deep draft this year, the Kings have a chance to further build around the unit that they already have assembled. If they draft well in June, they could really set themselves up to be the next young scary playoff team out west. But how good can they become? What is the potential of this Sacramento Kings team? If you ask me, they have championship potential. I know it sounds far-fetched looking at them right now, but they really do have a lot of good things to work with. I think within 3 years, they should be a playoff team for sure, and within 5 years they should be a legitimate contender out west.
But even with all this young promising talent budding in California’s capital, the Sacramento Kings aren’t the only team with young all-star potential on the rise. Teams like the Jazz, Timberwolves, and Clippers are just some of the teams that are in the same position as the Kings, but are also currently better. The Kings have a chance to knock those teams out, but it won’t be easy. Utah has a bright future with Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Devin Harris, Al Jefferson, Gordon Hayward, Alec Burks, and Paul Millsap. The Clippers have a bright future with DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, and Nick Young. The Timberwolves have Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams, Michael Beasley, and Wesley Johnson to support their centerpiece Kevin Love.
The point is this, I could easily write an article about all the potential that those teams have as well. But I chose Sacramento because I think they have the same level of potential, but they are getting less noticed. The Kings truly do have a good thing going in Sac-town, but their fans just need to be patient before seeing their promising potential turn into actual success. They have the potential to win a championship, but it may not be evident for a few more seasons. Until then, enjoy watching this young team fly up and down the court. It may be fun to watch right now, but in a few years it will also be frightening.