The Sacramento Kings Have Had a Terrible Offseason
To say last year was a tumultuous one for the Sacramento Kings would be an understatement.
After hiring George Karl to take up the head coaching mantle -- in spite of DeMarcus Cousins' reservations about the idea -- the Kings started the season 1-7 and finished the first 20 games with a 7-13 record.
That was just the beginning of an up-and-down season full of trade rumors, Cousins/Karl feuds, and multiple injuries. And, ultimately, coming down the stretch, the Kings were eliminated from playoff contention with two games remaining and rested nearly half of their active roster.
It was clear that Karl was throwing in the towel, hoping that this season would be a new beginning. Well, it very well might be, but not for Karl, who was canned back in April.
Former Memphis coach Dave Joerger will take over and try to build a better relationship with Cousins in hopes of sending the Kings back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
Unfortunately, general manager Vlade Divac and his staff haven't done one thing to improve the roster Joerger has to work with.
Things were looking up going into the month of June. The Kings entered the 2016 draft with the eighth overall pick. But, on draft night, any positive momentum that the organization or fanbase built up since Joerger's hiring was quickly taken away, as the Kings traded the number eight pick to the Phoenix Suns (who selected Marquese Chriss) in exchange for picks 13 and 28.
It wasn't the trade itself that upset Kings fans. Considering teams' desires to hop out of the tail end of the top 10 picks, the Kings obtained a pretty good haul from Phoenix. Rather it was what the Kings did with it that made the Sacramento front office a target for scrutiny.
With the 13th pick, the Kings drafted Georgios Papagiannis, a 19-year-old prospect from Greece. At his age, he isn't likely to contribute anytime soon, but the Kings are preaching patience with the first-round pick.
They and their fans will need it. If they'll have to wait to see results, the front office better hope that Papagiannis is the real deal. After all, he was selected over players such as Henry Ellenson, Deyonta Davis, and Wade Baldwin IV, who were ranked higher on most analysts' draft boards.
Maybe the best thing the Kings did on draft night was trade Marco Belinelli to the Charlotte Hornets for the 22nd pick, with which Sacramento selected Malachi Richardson out of Syracuse. Richardson, who shot better than 35% from three in his lone year with the Orange, gives the Kings some shooting help in the backcourt and could be a young, promising piece in the near future.
Outside of Richardson, the Kings didn't to much to improve upon their 8.0 three-pointers per game (19th in the NBA) this season. Instead, they proceeded to stockpile bigs in the frontcourt, adding, at pick 28, Skal Labissiere out of Kentucky. Although Labissiere presented great value after a fall from the top 15, he's basically Willie Cauley-Stein with the ability to hit foul-line extended jumpers. He has the talent to expand upon his game, so we'll have to wait and see if that happens.
But that's the Sacramento draft in a nutshell -- wait and see. Nothing helps Boogie or the franchise out right now.
Considering the fact that the Kings failed to add any certainties (or even near certainties) in the draft, you'd think that they'd make a solid move or two for veteran contributors.
In the literal sense, they did just that by signing both both Arron Afflalo and Matt Barnes to reasonable free agent deals. As much as that brings some stability to the roster, it doesn't make the Kings any better than a year ago. In fact, on paper, it makes them worse according to our nERD metric, which indicates how many wins a player would add to an average team during a full season.
Following the above tables, that means that the Kings would drop more than a game from their mark of 33-49 last season.
On the plus side, as they lose 4.3 three-point makes per game (2.4 between Seth Curry and Belinelli alone), they add 5.4 makes via the four additions above. That's about the only plus to take away from these moves that total roughly $34.5 million in cap hits.
Same Old Kings
Until further notice, the Kings are locked into mediocrity. They have stockpiled uncertain draft talent and added mostly aging players who didn't fit in elsewhere.
Sorry, Boogie. Sorry, Dave Joerger. And, most of all, sorry Kings fans.
The Sacramento front office is failing you yet again.