So in an effort to keep the ball rolling throughout the doldrums of summer, we're putting out a "The Sactown Greatest" series.
Things aren't dead quite yet, with the draft and free agency days away. But by getting started now, we can roll out one player a week, in reverse order, and finish up a couple weeks before the 2006-07 gets underway.
There have been 168 players in Sacramento Kings history. Some played only a few minutes, some started hundreds of games. Needless to say, the history is smaller than in all but a few NBA cities. But it's a history with a lot of interesting characters, some flashes of brilliance, and a definite story arc. And I chose the top 10 percent of all Sacramento Kings - 16 players in all - for the "Sactown Greatest" list.
I decided on the list singularly (though I may have some assistance in writing the player bios), and here were my criteria:
- First and foremost, the player had to be a King for at least a few seasons. Yeah, Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells have been great in Royal Purple (well, cat-vomit gold, actually). But in comparison with players who spent 4+ less spectacular season in Sacramento, well, I picked the longer-term Kings. Remember, no King has yet brought Sacramento a title and earned the immortality that entails.
- Statistics were valued pretty heavily. If any arguments spring up from this list, I can almost guarantee they will revolve around the use of statistics in evaluating greatness. As most readers can ascertain, I'm a fan of advanced metrics for measuring contributions. In this analysis, though, I stick pretty close to the traditional measures to compare players competing for spots on the lis.
- Character matters, too. You'll see that in the first selection for the list. Give me similar players in terms of length of service and performance, one of which is a jackass and the other of which is an angel, and I'm picking the angel. Pretty simple.
- Team success weighs in, but perhaps not as much as some people would like it to. I could throw out a list made up of the entire 2001-02 roster plus Mitch Richmond, but how interesting would that be? Plenty of "Glory Era" players are represented, but not solely because they went to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
- Wacky hair choices did not necessarily hurt, and in one case helped, chances on inclusion.
For now, feel free to take wild guesses as to who #16 will be in the comments section.