Alright, it’s time to move on to the Western Conference. I’ll get back to the rest, the better known, Eastern Conference teams before the start of the regular season in October. For now, it’s time to start looking at the offseason moves of a few of the lesser known (for a lack of a better word) Western Conference teams.
Let’s start with the Sacramento Kings.
It’s been a…long time, a really long time since the Sacramento Kings have been to the playoffs. 12 years, to be specific. The Kings might have had a shot at getting to the playoffs in the 16-17 season, but with 25 games left in the regular season, the team sent their key player, DeMarcus Cousins (along with Omri Casspi) to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Their season practically ended there.
In return for their veteran players, the Kings got three guards from the Pelicans—Buddy Held, Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway—-and two 2017 draft picks, including a first round pick. Basically, the team received a bunch of young players …an opportunity to…start fresh.
FYI – they ended last season with a 27-55 record.
Ok, so what did they do this offseason to continue building their young team? They drafted Marvin Bagley III (Duke) with the second overall pick. The 6’11,” 235 pound forward is a smart player as well as a, “… gifted offensive big man with great scoring instincts,” according to the NBA’s scouting report. Unfortunately, his summer league performance was far from spectacular, but there is still hope for the expected All-Star.
Now, in a complete contradiction to drafting Bagley, the Kings brought back a player who they originally drafted in 2013 and traded away last season to the Grizzlies, Ben McLemore. McLemore was noted to be a huge bust by Kings fans. His reputation was not much better in Memphis. The positive is that he has an amazing jump shot and is still relatively young. He also has one year left on his current contract, so if it doesn’t work out, the Kings won’t have to deal with him for long.
What else did the Kings do this offseason?
They brought in free-agent Nemanja Bjelica, a 30-year old forward who last played for the Timberwolves. Bjelica is expected to bring his superb shooting skills as well as versatility by filling in in areas in need of help as situations arise. They also brought in 25-year old Yogi Ferrell to help add a little depth to the backcourt.
The moves made by the Kings during the offseason (with the exception of the McLemore move) seem to be respected by those around the league and the media. As like every team, though…time will tell. But if you were to ask me if the Kings will make the playoffs this season, I’m not likely to say yes. They’ll get close, but I still think they’re another season away from success.
Image Source: USA Today SI