What Could Have Been: Sacramento Kings

The Sacramento Kings have been a horrible mess over the last decade. With the bad luck of one draft and the incompetence of the Kings’ front office, Sacramento has missed out on multiple NBA Finals berths, and possibly even a couple of NBA Championships.

In 2009, the Kings ended their season with a 17-65 record. The worst record in the league. This would mean that the Kings had the highest chance to get the #1 pick. Sadly for them, they dropped three spots and took Tyreke Evans with the #4 pick. If the Kings had the #1 pick like they should have, they would have undoubtedly drafted Blake Griffin, an All-Star power forward. This is the only instance in which luck was the determining factor.

Via: bleacherreport.com

Then, in 2010 the Kings decided to trade a prime Kevin Martin who was averaging 20 points per game for an old Larry Hughes and Carl Landry. Hughes was immediately waived and Landry played for 1 season with the Kings. In the 2010 draft, they selected DeMarcus Cousins with the 5th pick and picked Hassan Whiteside with the 33rd pick. After two seasons, the Kings waived Whiteside who is now putting up All-Star numbers and is the defensive anchor to the 11th best defense in the NBA.

Via: thehuskyhaul.com

In 2011, the Kings drafted Bismack Biyombo and traded him for Jimmer Fredette who they cut 3 seasons later. And instead of picking Biyombo, the Kings could have selected All-Star Klay Thompson or MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard to bolster their wing defense and shooting. Also, the Kings drafted future scoring machine Isaiah Thomas with the 60th pick and traded him to the Suns for Alex Oriakhi (I don’t know who he is either) who went on to play a grand total of 0 games for the NBA.

 

Damian Lillard on the Sacramento Kings.
Via: @enriqueproduction on Instagram

In 2012, the Kings used their 5th pick to draft Thomas Robinson, one pick ahead of top 5 NBA point guard Damian Lillard. After making this horrible move, the Kings traded Thomas Robinson to the Houston Rockets 50 games into his NBA career.

Then, in 2013, Sacramento selected Ben McLemore ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who arguably has the most potential out of anybody in the current NBA. My last article was about how Giannis can become the greatest player of all time. And the Kings selected McLemore, a player who never averaged more than 12 points per game in the NBA.

In the 2014 draft, the Kings selected Nik Stauskas ahead of both Nikola Jokic and Zach LaVine. Jokic is already known as one of the premier big men of the league already at age 22. Zach LaVine is a young 20 point per game scorer who is one of the most athletic players in the current NBA with two All-Star dunk championships.

In 2015, Willie Cauley-Stein was taken by the Kings ahead of Devin Booker. Booker is the best young scorer in the current NBA and is the shooting guard with the most potential. Devin Booker scored 70 POINTS last season as a 20-year-old. By any means, Cauley-Stein has been a bad player. He has never averaged more than 11.5 ppg whereas Booker is averaging 24 ppg and is 3 years younger than Stein.

And finally, in 2016 the Kings drafted Marquese Chriss with the 8th pick and traded him for centers when their franchise player already was a center.  

If the Kings had selected their draft picks correctly, and if their front office had not been incompetent, their current roster would have looked something like this.

Starting Lineup:

PG: Damian Lillard

SG: Devin Booker

SF: Kawhi Leonard

PF: Blake Griffin

C: DeMarcus Cousins

Bench:

PG: Isaiah Thomas

SG: Kevin Martin

SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo

PF: Hassan Whiteside, Marquese Chriss

C: Nikola Jokic

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