So I have been thinking quite a bit about what to expect from the Kings next season because I am very anxious after a good draft and an interesting summer league. I think, like most of you, what intrigues me is the addition of Tyreke Evans and the hard-nosed play of Omri Casspi and Jon Brockman. As I was thinking about what to expect from a team that went 17-65 last season, I started to think about what went wrong last season. I recalled the first game of the season and the close loss to Minnesota (which could have really went either way) then the rest of a horrible 4-game road trip that saw losses by 26, 18 and 34 respectively. Against Miami, the Kings gave up 41 points off of turnovers and played with little heart defensively. We were all questioning Reggie Theus and the heart of the team. The anticipation of a new season was quickly being overshadowed by a disappointing road trip. But then....
Kevin Martin came alive. Actually, Kevin Martin came alive against the Magic in Orlando where he had 31 points on November 1. He then proceeded to score 33 points vs. Memphis and followed that up with 26 and 27-point performances against Minnesota and Golden State. I know, I know, Memphis, Minnesota and Golden State are bottom-feeders and you can't base those numbers across the NBA but I think a lot of people forget the 4-game homestand where the Kings won those 3 straight and were within 1 game of a .500 record. I know that I personally look back and see a lost season where things just didn't pan out across the board. However, there are always positives to take away from it such as the progression of a young frontcourt, the hope of a future all-star through the draft and countless scenarios to get rid of Beno Udrih. But for those 3 games, which were the only 3 the Kings were able to string together consecutively, something went right. Things clicked and Kevin Martin was leading the team to victory. He was playing as efficient as a heat pump and was getting to free throw line whenever he pleased. I remember thinking that that homestand would set the tone for the rest of the season. I really thought the team would rally behind Kevin Martin as a leader and make the fans quickly forget about the road-trip that opened the season.I think we all know what happened against Golden State that night when Martin injured his ankle and was never really the same the rest of the season. I would have loved to have seen what would have happened if K-Mart were not to have had the ankle injury. Would the team have turned things around? Could Martin have become an all-star? How many more games would the team have won? These questions will forever go unanswered but its fun to think with optimism that things could have turned out much better, but we'll never know.
I hope and pray that we see Kevin Martin as close to 100% as possible this season. With the addition of Tyreke Evans in the backcourt, this could easily become one of the best one-two punches in the league. If not, a well-oiled passing machine, it is almost destined to be a well-oiled scoring machine that presents match-up problems for teams and could easily combine for 40-50+ points per game, once Evans finds his NBA groove. This being said, I think, barring anything unusual (injuries, delayed progression, etc.) this team could look for 30-35 wins this season and much more aggressive play. Thats still not playoff material in a loaded Western Conference, but its a hell of a lot better than the 17 we witnessed last year. What do you guys think?
(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)