Christmas came early for Bay Area hoop fans when the Sacramento Kings were denied a move to Seattle.
This might seem greedy, but NBA viewers have more requests for the Kings:
1) More ball movement
Sacramento was 10th in the league in points per contest in 2012-13, but too often it was one-on-five. The squad finished 25th in assists and the offense was dreadfully predictable. To further extract the talent on this side of the ball, the Kings traded Tyreke Evans (another mouth to feed) in exchange for Greivis Vasquez who led the NBA last year in total assists. Along with head coach Mike Malone’s emphasis to swing the rock, one can hope a roster stacked with scorers can learn to share the leather.
2) Fewer turnovers
DeMarcus Cousins led all centers in turnovers per game (3.0) and Vasquez ranked seventh in the league at 3.2. While the trade import can be excused for his willingness to involve teammates, Cousins must improve his efficiency if he wants to lead the Kings with his play. Malone can remind his dribble-heavy squad that bad shots are better than no shots at all.
3) A new “bench mob”
To young folks this may sound like a fable, but the Kings in their early-2000s heyday were uplifted by an invaluable second-unit. Names like Hedo Turkoglu, Bobby Jackson and Jim Jackson (no relation) took part in a family humble enough to bestow their presence on the Sacramento sideline. While Malone is nowhere close to setting his starters and rotations after two preseason games, there is enough depth to resemble those units.
4) Internal growth
The only path to success more enjoyable than buying a championship (a la Miami Heat) is the OKC model, which is grooming a team from within. The Kings have the ingredients to build a high-octane winner, but the hope now is that Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Jason Thompson and company haven’t hit their ceilings.
5) A little defense
Okay, this might be pushing it. Kings fans aren’t asking for an elite defense, just something more formidable than the U.S. border patrol. Maybe close the distance between Sacramento (whom surrendered 105.1 points per game) and the 29th most porous defense in the NBA a season ago, the Charlotte Bobcats (102.7). Can we have that too, Santa?
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