Those teams that you don’t want to have to play against, whether or not you ever choose to admit it, are the teams that you’re supposed to beat, but they have just enough talent, grit, belief, and experience to actually beat you if you don’t show up to play. The Sacramento Kings had such a team in the Chris Webber era of the early 2000’s. I’m not at all looking to compare this new-look Kings team to the basketball potential or build of Webber’s Kings, but despite what most predict to be another inevitable clashing, I think the Sacramento Kings may have created themselves an avenue to be a thorn in the Western Conference’s side again.
Not trading DeMarcus Cousins counts as the most pivotal victory for the Kings this offseason. He’s their best player and one of most special talents at his position in the league. This all starts with Boogie. He’s the centerpiece and the go-to. Questions of his maturity and focus will still linger, but Cousins’ abilities are forcefully manifesting. The Kings have their secondary talent pillar in Rudy Gay on the wing, who if anything else can get 20 points for you.
Yes, I’m still one of the proud few Rondo-faithfuls left. Signing Rajon Rondo to a one-year deal was an absolute bargain for the Kings at this juncture when the goal is simply to be competitive again.
Vlade Divac doesn’t feel like the Kings are taking a chance/gamble on Rajon Rondo. Known him a long time – says Kings stole Rondo
— Sean Cunningham (@News10Sean) July 15, 2015
Being that I am a Rondo guy, I still believe he can make a team go, even after Dallas, and especially in Sacramento, where his kind of knowledge and experience is desperately welcomed. Bringing in a guy like Rondo was a risk the Kings had to be willing to take. In fact, he’s probably the key to validating my claim. This contention likely only holds if the Kings have a motivated, pissed off Rondo looking to run amok, prove his worth, galvanize the pieces around him, and wreak havoc once more.
The Kings didn’t load up in the offseason but they added productive pieces. Marco Belinelli was a sneaky-brilliant signing — he offers the Kings more shooting/spacing plus championship know-how from the Spurs, and he supplants a nicely developing Ben McLemore. Speaking of know-how, Caron Butler is now also in the mix in Sacramento. Kosta Koufos was an underrated acquisition for the Kings’ depth in the front court, which now also boasts rookie draft pick Willie Cauley-Stein and Quincy Acy.
When you look at the Kings’ pieces on paper, there’s no doubt that a different, more substantial capability exists. I still see somewhat of a scatter in terms of blending on the floor and a very real challenge for head coach George Karl to have to organize. But with enough of that experience, belief, grit, and natural talent, you can be the team that other teams don’t want to have to play, and the Kings at least have that potential now.