Sports Out West

Sacramento Kings: 5 things to look forward to in 2013

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Strange to think that in February the Sacramento Kings weren’t going to have an upcoming season. But let’s not dwell on the past…

The Kings are alive!!!

They’re also hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006. There’s a better chance of global nuclear war, but that doesn’t mean 2013 will be a waste. There are plenty of things to forward to:

1) No more Maloofery.

The three stooges (Joe, Gavin and George Maloof) are no longer owners of the Kings, which is great for Sacramento fans and the NBA in general.

They will be remembered for selling draft picks and players for cash, inspiring the league rule for a salary floor, and negotiating shady deals which left the state of the franchise in flux.

Yes, they were also in charge of the Kings during their early-2000s heyday, but forgiveness for the attempted move to Anaheim evaporated when they mortgaged the squad to Seattle. Fortunately, new owner Vivek Ranadive is committed to building a winner in the state capital.

You will not be missed, Magoofs.

2) New kids on the block.

The Kings drafted Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum seventh and 36th overall respectively, and the pair appear set to be instant NBA contributors.

McLemore showed a pure shooting stroke and impressive athleticism as a two-semester two-guard at Kansas. McCallum, a junior out of Detroit Mercy, has dazzled scoring and dishing from the point during Summer League.

Sacramento faces a logjam in the backcourt, but both are certain to wedge their way into head coach Mike Malone’s rotation by the end of the season.  

3) A little defense.

The Kings were last in the NBA in points allowed in 2012, so something had to be done. Enter Luc Mbah a Moute, the Kings’ best ball stopper since Ron Artest. The sixth-year pro can’t shoot a lick, but he can tenaciously defend three positions, and he doesn’t mind getting bloodied. Mbah a Moute will start at small forward, his natural position, and establish a defensive tone Sacramento has sorely lacked.

4) A better offense.

Sacramento had its moments on offense last season, but too many times during critical stretches the attack became stagnant. This was partly due to the point guard play, headlined by Isaiah Thomas who averaged only 4.4 assists as a starter. Aaron Brooks (who was waived midseason), Marcus Thornton and John Salmons made almost no extra effort involving others.

Selfish tendencies with the club’s best scorers will likely continue, so the addition of Greivis Vasquez (nine assists per game in 2012) is a hi-five coup by the front office. The trade import should keep everyone well-fed and as a result less moody.

5) Blossoming ballers.

For a 28-win squad, the Kings boast a hefty amount of raw talent.

DeMarcus Cousins—when focused—bangs like a top-three center, and big Jason Thompson is a crafty (yet often ignored) 6’11” sidekick.

Thornton will be motivated to win his starting job back with Evans gone, while 2011 lottery pick Jimmer Fredette has something to prove after two years of disappointment.

The biggest factor will be Malone, who is a breath of fresh air after the rigid reign of Keith Smart. If he can provide consistent roles for these players, coach has already won half the battle.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and Radiosurvivor.com. He also owns the Theruination.net. Rui grew up an obsessive fan of the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Raiders, but he sympathizes with every West Coast team.

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