Crowning the New Kings

The Kings come back strong as Sacramentos home team.

Noah Graham

The Kings come back strong as Sacramento’s home team.

Almost all hope faded away when the final buzzer rang against the Clippers last spring. A long era of King’s basketball was about to come to an end. The Maloofs had a deal in place to sell the Kings to a Seattle-based group led by hedge fund owner, Chris Hansen. 

The community’s last hope was a group led by businessman Vivek Ranadive. Ranadive, founder and CEO of TIBCO, a computing company, was at the time a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors. 

Fortunately, David Stern, commissioner of the NBA and the NBA Board of Governors (a combination of NBA officials) felt that the Kings had enough support and money to keep the team in Sacramento. The city went into a frenzy. 

Now, with the season just getting started, fans are very curious to see how the team will hold up. “All I want is for the Kings to have a respectable record and that they have solid attendance numbers,” said Jacob Burgoyne, an avid Kings fan and sophomore at Vista. 

The Kings are going to be depending on star center, DeMarcus Cousins, this year. Cousins just signed a 4-year, $62 million deal, which has made him the centerpiece of the franchise and is expected to put up big numbers. 

At power forward, Jason Thompson and Patrick Patterson are expected to lead the charge. Patterson, who the Kings acquired in a trade last year, is expected to add versatility along with knowledge of basketball.Thompson, who averaged 11 points per 28 minutes last year, will add solid defense and a good inside game to the team. 

At small forward, the team’s weakest position, Travis Outlaw, a seasoned veteran and John Salmons will need to put up productive numbers to help the teams case. Outlaw had a strong preseason with bright spots such as an 18 point game. Salmons, the expected starter, also had a strong preseason with a game winning buzzer-beater. 

For the shooting guard position, Jimmer Fredette, Ben McLemore and Marcus Thornton all are competing for the starting role. Fredette and McLemore both had a solid preseason making a good case to start. Thornton, however, was very streaky throughout the preseason and showed glimpses of success. King’s head coach Michael Malone hinted that he prefered McLemore off the bench. Thornton is a stronger defender than Fredette while Fredette is a consistent shooter and tends to enlighten the crowd. It is also a well-known fact that coach Malone is a defensive-minded coach. 

Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas are both competing for the point guard position. However, with a stronger preseason performance by Thomas, Vasquez has earned the starting role in the first couple games. Ray McCallum, a rookie drafted by the Kings in the second round  is also competing for a job. McCallum has a lot of energy but tends to be out of control too often. However, it will be interesting to see how McCallum can influence the team. 

When asked what he wanted most from the Kings this season, Derek Hsu, a sophomore basketball player at Vista, responded with a smile on his face, “For them to have a good enough record to make the playoffs.” Coming off a 28-54 record last season, the team can do nothing but improve.

So for the upcoming season, the success of the team depends directly on the team. Fan support and attendance can only take them so far. Now the question is, will the team go back to their old, immature ways or will they grow up, realize and respect their roles on the team?