It was obvious to everyone that after a 17 win season the Kings needed to take a serious look at their on-the-court personnel. Changes started with the firing of Natt and the remains of Theus's staff, the hiring of Paul Westphal and his assistants and just recently the drafting of Evans, Casspi and Brockman. Now, after all this progress, I thought it'd be a good time to take a look at a snapshot of the Kings roster as of now for evaluation before the meat of free agent action. These are the Kings, as of now, that will be under contract at the start of the '09-'10 season.
Guards 1s & 2s Wings 3s Bigs 4s & 5s
Obvious roster observations - A young roster. The trade of Salmons and Miller effectively moved some malcontent vets struggling with a bad team in an obvious period of transition. The addition of expiring contracts brought cap flexibility and open roster spots to let Petrie do his thing.
Coaching Staff- I understand all the praise and criticism (well most) of Westphal but considering the salary range and contract length being offered by the FO, I feel we got a great value. I also am OK with the staff, the assistants all have a certain level of experience and success in the areas where the Kings need the most help: Defense, rebounding and a legitimate offensive identity.
My opinion on the roster- It's obviously still a work in progress. Lot's of youth and potential that needs time to learn and evolve. What I like about the make-up of this roster is the athleticism, length, versatility and toughness (maybe I should say potential for toughness). If Evans and Greene break into the starting rotation this year we would have a line up of 6'6" PG, 6'7" SG, 6'11" SF, 6'11" PF and a 7'0" C. After witnessing the value of size in the playoffs this bodes well. Noce and Thompson are physical players. By all accounts Evans, Casspi and Brockman are as well. All the pieces are there and as long as everyone can live up to potential ( a BIG if, I know) we are well on our way to a turn around.
The last part this off season is free agent signing/trades. The Kings are currently at 12 roster spots and must add at least 1 to get to the league minimum. Considering the current economic climate of the franchise the possibilities are varied. Do they fill the final 3 spots with inexpensive vets and fringe talent? Do they spend for an asset (Gortat) and roll with the minimum roster using 10-day contracts and D-league call ups to save money on roster spots in case of injuries? What happens with Bobby Jackson? Ike Diogu? Trades- what actual assets are we willing to move? Who are likely targets? These are all rhetorical questions that all of us will answer uniquely but with a little analysis some of the possibilities can be narrowed down.
Looking at the above roster it's easy to see who doesn't fit.
Beno - Where it is entirely possible he could rebound to his contract year's production the point is moot. I think it's clear that what he brings to the table doesn't pair well with the current fare. Unfortunately his contract is prohibitive to moves. Someone would have to be very desperate for a back up PG to offer anything of value.
Noce - Love his grit and determination, he could be a great role model. There is no doubt he'll bring it every night on the court but there have already been glimpses of his unhappiness with the transitory state of the franchise, he could also be detrimental to the young talent.
K9 (Woof!) - What more can I say that hasn't been already? At least he's expiring this year and he gets more valuable as the trade deadline nears.
It's also clear to see where the holes are: the lack of a clear cut superstar and the front court.
Sac currently has JT and Hawes manning the front line. Brockman will most likely get his PT at the 4 but as undersized as he is, probably not much in his rookie campaign. But it's easy to see what type of player Petrie will target to round out the team. Big Men. Personally I think a Center should be the main target. Marcin Gortat ( as mentioned above), for example, could allow Hawes to shift to the 4 for a big line up, complement JT nicely spelling Hawes and provide some rebounding and D.
As we roll into the dregs of the off season I think it's obvious what needs to be and what should be done. The entire organization has a lot of work ahead before the beginning of the regular season.