The Difference a Year Makes

There's no question that this has been a slow summer.  We've passed our time figuring out if Tyreke Evans will be All-Star, or if he'll just be ROY.  We've spent some time realizing that Westphal might be a pretty good fit for this team.  Some of us have even been so desperate to pass that time that we've actually done our normal 9-5 jobs rather than waste countless hours arguing on StR.  This is, quite frankly, unacceptable.  The madness must be stopped.

Luckily, the Kings are back in action.  Although the lack of preseason broadcasting means we'll wait a little bit longer, we can still rejoice in the fact that we'll soon have real games to discuss.  Personally, I hate when conversations get grounded in reality, but it will be nice to have some actual game-based evidence to support our arguments.

On the verge of the preseason, I don't have any Earth-shattering insights.  What I do have is perspective.  In order to fully appreciate where this team is going, I think we should take a few minutes to review where this team has been.

A year ago, our head coach was Reggie Theus.  It seems very strange to write that.  It feels like the Kenny Natt era lasted about 4 seasons.  4 painful seasons.  But it wasn't that long.

Now we have Westphal.  We don't know for sure that he'll be a success, but he's won many of us skeptics over.  At the very least, the man understands what it is to be a head coach in the NBA.

Ron Artest is gone.  So are Brad Miller and John Salmons.   I don't think I need to expand on this any further.  Let's just agree that the team is better off for finally embracing the rebuild.

At this time last year, we were defending the Udrih contract.  Now, we just hope that Beno can find some form of redemption without blocking the growth of Tyreke Evans.

Oh yes, Tyreke Evans.  A year ago I honestly had never heard of the kid.  Now I've talked myself into Evans being a big big big big big part of the future here.  I know I'm not alone.

A year ago we were still trying to figure out how to properly spell Donté's name.  Now we're arguing about what his role will be with this team, and whether or not he has a future in the league.

A year ago we had our sights set too high.  We convinced ourselves that the team would be better than most of the pundits thought.  We were wrong.  This year we've accepted lower standards for success.  We know that this team is building, and we care more about development.

A year ago we were trying to figure out if Geoff Petrie had completely lost it.  I mean, c'mon, Jason Thompson?  Now we're looking at our frontcourt and saying, c'mon, Jason Thompson!

I commented last year that, despite the horrible season, I felt more connected to last year's team than any squad in recent memory.  I feel like I can honestly echo that sentiment to the current squad.  It has evolved from last year's team.  We've been through one of the hardest seasons for the franchise, and we've done it together.  We're sticking with these guys, watching the grow and become a team that can maybe win a few more games.  And it will be all that much sweeter when they win, because we've gone through it all together.

The season is about to start.  We're all undefeated.  And we have some optimism. 

Let's have some fun.

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