As a nice writing exercise here are my predictions for the coming 2009/2010 NBA season. I’ll look at two teams per day for the next 15 days.
Sacramento Kings (17-65 in 08/09)
Key additions: Tyreke Evans (Rookie), Desmond Mason, Sean May.
Key losses: The Sacramento fan base.
It is going to be another long season in Sacramento in 2009/2010 as the Kings have made very little progress in the off season and rumors about the imminent relocation of the team swirl.
Kevin Martin remains the team’s key player and has proven himself an efficient scorer if nothing else. Martin averaged 24.6 points per game last season, however, he played in only 51 games in 08/09 and just 61 games in 07/08. He has also shown little ability to make his teammates better.
The Kings young middle-men, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson showed some promise last year, averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds each. I do question whether these stats were somewhat inflated by the uptempo pace the Kings played at last year under Reggie Theus and wonder how much room these two players have to grow.
New coach Paul Westphal better hope that Hawes and Thompson show significant improvement as the Kings have no depth behind them (Melvin Ely and a chronically overweight Sean May) and failed to address their most glaring need at the point guard position. The Kings currently have rookie guard Tyreke Evans slotted into that role. Simply put, this is not going to work. In his time with Memphis, Evans proved himself to be a skilled ball handler and slashing scorer (which is a good thing cause his outside shot borders on terrible) but a player that is far from even a shoot-first point guard. In his one college season he averaged almost as many turnovers per game (3.6) as assists (3.9). It will not take long for this experiment to fail and for Westphal to place either the underwhelming Beno Udrih or the overwhelmed Sergio Rodriguez into the starting lineup while juggling Kevin Martin and Tyreke Evans minutes at the 2-guard spot. Certainly an unenviable position given that Martin is still owed approximately $44 million over the next four seasons.
If the Kings have one ray of hope it is the potential for a mid-season trade of Kenny Thomas’s expiring $8 million contract could land them a solid player from a team desperate to free up cap space for the 2010 free agent sweep stakes. Of course Arco Arena’s dwindling fans are unlikely to find much solace in that.
2009/2010 Predicted Season Record: 20-62