by Cutter Hicks, Sports 1140 KHTK
It’s been 11 years since the Sacramento Kings made the playoffs, or at least had a winning record.
Kings fans literally sit on the couch and pray every offseason for a rising star to storm through the gates.
Despite the team being called “the laughingstock of the NBA” by many and seeing people go as far as to name them the “saddest team” on Wikipedia, the loyal fan base continue to wait patiently for their knight in shining armor to storm onto the Kings’ court.
With the NBA Draft Lottery set, let’s take a look back at some honorable and dishonorable picks by the Sacramento Kings franchise within these past 10 years.
Tyreke Evans (PF/C), 2009
Named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 2010, Evans was to be the future of the Sacramento Kings. He certainly played the part as he averaged 20 points per game that season and 17 right after, (and who can forget that half court, buzzer-beater shot against the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2010).
However, he was known to hold onto the ball a little too much while in the paint which allowed for easy turnovers. He wanted to be the savior but the team finished last place in the Pacific Division in three of his four years with the team (Before coming back in 2017).
One thing is for certain though, at least he got to see postseason time while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Isaiah Thomas (PG), 2011
“Why did we get rid of Isaiah Thomas?” This is the question heard a lot from Kings fans around the streets of Sacramento. The former LAST pick of the 2011 draft did well in his first two seasons with the team but it was his 5-foot-9 height that kept his playing time limited.
However, he began to see more time on the Kings’ court during the 2013-14 season as he averaged 20.3 points per game and recorded his first triple-double in an overtime win over the Washington Wizards, giving him status as the shortest NBA player to ever record one.
After the season, however, he was acquired by the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade deal and eventually dealt to the Boston Celtics in 2015.
He now averages over 28.9 points with the Celtics and is just four wins away from playing in his first NBA Finals. Who says the runt of the litter can’t hold his own?
DeMarcus Cousins (C), 2010
It’s been the topic of debate since February 20 of this year. Should the Kings have not traded Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans? There’s no wrong answer to this question because there are two sides to the argument.
For some, Cousins was poison on the court. He was a terrific athlete but with 17 technical fouls this season under his belt when dealt to the Pels’, Cousins was just one away from being suspended a game due to NBA league rules for player misconduct (not the first time this happened).
…and wouldn’t you know it, his 18th came 32 seconds into his first game with New Orleans and he was indeed suspended. We’re not even mentioning the bad blood he had with coaches and the night he punched Houston Rockets’ Patrick Beverley in the stomach and was suspended.
Even so, since the 2013-14 season he tallied over 20 points per season and was ranked third in rebounds this season. He was even a decent 3-point shooter.
For some, this is a “we’ll miss you” type of sendoff. To others, they might as well say “good riddance.”
Nik Stauskas (SG), 2014
He was compared to Drazen Petrovic and Manu Ginobili during the 2014 NBA Draft and was supposed to be a knockdown shooter for the Kings. Stauskas was noted for lacking defense but backing it up with points.
He certainly didn’t back that up as he averaged 4.4 points through his only season with Sacramento. He started just one game and mainly came off the bench behind Ben McLemore, who went on to have the best season of his career thus far.
Stauskas was traded after the season to the Philadelphia 76ers and has since averaged 8.5 and 9.5 points per game respectively. One can attribute his mediocre NBA start with the fact that the Kings had three separate head coaches that season. Not fun.
Thomas Robinson (PF), 2012
Coming off an NCAA Championship loss to Kentucky, the former Kansas Jayhawks basketball star was going to help out Sacramento in the paint. He was named Big 12’s Conference Player of the Year as he averaged 17.7 points for a team that went 27-6 before the annual March Madness tournament.
He was drafted fifth overall by the Kings – the stage was set. However, he averaged just 4.8 points per game during his only season with the team and played 51 games until being traded to the Houston Rockets. He’s since been juggled around teams and has yet to score an average of nine points per game.
For a power forward that’s well below average.
- Although he had a standout season in 2014-15, Ben McLemore has slowly slid back on the bench. Since then the shooting guard has started around 60 games per season and averages a 3-pointer per game. Who knows if he’ll remain in Sacramento or sail away to another state.
- With DeMarcus Cousins playing in New Orleans, Willie Cauley-Stein needs to be the big man in the paint. Fans can’t expect him to have identical numbers as his counterpart but they should see more than 8 points per game. Although, it is perfect that his best game came right after the trade.
- Buddy Hield needs to be talked about despite not being drafted by Sacramento. With the trade that sent Boogie to New Orleans the Kings received Hield, who’s not been a letdown. In the 25 games he’s played in Sacramento he’s averaged 15.1 points per game and is an excellent free-throw shooter. Fans should expect big things from the rookie in the near future.