The View From Section 214, Plus Rantdumb Thoughts

895-kingscoachbillrussell

Joe Kleine (right) is joined by three other guys. 


In 1988, your Sacramento Kings embarked on what would be eight straight seasons of fewer than 30 wins per (or eight straight seasons of more than 50 losses per, if you’re a real masochist). They sucked, but they were ours. It was the best of times (to that point in time); it was the worst of times.

During this period, Kings fans (like all creatures of survival) adapted to their environment. Draft night ruled. No, not college draft night. Game ticket draft night. I’ll take the Lakers game, you take the Bulls, I take the Pistons…A Kings’ fan in the ‘80’s – early ‘90’s was a fan that was as interested in seeing Kareem, Magic, Isaiah, Sir Charles, MJ, Larry, Hakeem as they were in seeing Reggie, Mitch, Wayman, LaSalle, Lionel, and the rest of the gang. There were two NBA’s back then – theirs and ours. It was easy to appreciate and not hate. We’d flock to ARCO to see the stars as they came to town, with a win being an afterthought.

I bring this up as we head into a season where we could win twelve more games than last year and still not crack the 30 win plateau. A season where just winning the rebounding battle for the night will practically count as a victory. A season where an evening with fewer than 15 turnovers will have us just plain giddy with excitement. If you’re heading out to the old gas tank this year in the hopes of charting out your seat for the playoffs, well, you’re getting there mighty early.

This is new ground for anyone that wasn’t a Kings fan prior to C-Webb and Vlade and company. If you became a Kings around the turn of the century, you could be ill equipped to root for a truly bad rebuilding team. That’s OK, kids. Your old friend section214 is here to help. Here are some tips that will help bring a little warmth to what can otherwise be a cold, cold cellar.

Take the victories where you can find them.  If you’re only going to chart wins by who is leading at the end of regulation, you’re going to wind up with a very sparse chart. Think quarters. If we win the 2nd quarter, celebrate that. If we win consecutive quarters, go nuts! Prolonged runs of efficiency and success are to be recognized. And if it begins to happen more than infrequently, call it growth and be happy.

Better is better, period.  If you set the bar for (say) Jason Thompson to average a double-double this year, you could be disappointed if he goes for 15 and 9. But 15 and 9 would represent a significant improvement for JT, and it would be better than David Lee’s career numbers. This is especially true with Donté Greene. Don’t get too hung up on the numbers. Concentrate on his play. And remember how young and inexperienced these guys are. Don’t be too quick to judge. We have all season to draw our conclusions.

Don’t overcook the defeats.  I used to work with a boss that liked to say, "If you have to swallow a turd, don’t chew it on the way down." To that I would add that inspecting the turd for corn yields little return on your time investment. Simply, this team is going to suck at times, and it has the potential to suck for extended stretches. Know this going into the season, and don’t dwell too much on it when it happens (again and again). Take the victories where you can find them.  Bemoaning the fact that we are (for example) thin up front is OK (though how can we be thin with Sean May...), but bemoaning it for six straight months will just make you (and everyone around you) crazy.

Enjoy quality opposition.  This does not apply to Kobe Bryant. But it does apply to LeBron, Dwyane, CP3, Superman, etc. Go to the games and marvel at the game’s stars. Enjoy the ride. Their extraordinary play will not be the difference between us making and missing the playoffs. I’m not saying not to root for the Kings. I’m just saying don’t bleed all over the floor with each and every loss. Go to the game in hopes of entertainment. If a Kings win actually breaks out, bonus!

And while I’m at it, the "rantdumb thoughts" that inspired the title:

Sean May  Tired of the Sean May fat jokes? Lighten up! Some of the comments might be a little heavy handed, and most of us can’t weight for Sean to suit up. But due to limited playing time, limited highlights and limited height, May’s arrival (by itself) does not garner a lot of excitement. But if dude provides a little offense and a lot of rebounding off the bench, he will be more than worth the weight of his sub-million dollar contract. Mmm, sub. But until camp opens, expect May to be the big butt of cheap jokes (ahem).

Omri Casspi  By choosing the number 18, Casspi has the inside track on being the best Sacramento King ever at his number. He only needs to beat out 1987’s version of Derek Smith. By the way, the number 18 is representative of the Hebrew word "Chai," which means life or living. Kind of cool.

Beno Udrih  Beno can be the greatest point guard of all time to wear the number 19 if he can beat out Bob Cousy. Cousy played 7 games for the Kings in 1969-70 when he was roughly 70 years old, averaging less than 1 point and 1 assist per game. Beno still has a way to go. (Hat tip to Tyreke Evans for not taking the easy way out. If he can take down Dough Christie, we will be happy campers.)

The word "irregardless"  If "regard" means to consider and "regardless" means not to consider, then "irregardless" means not to not to consider, which means to consider or regard. Stop using the word "irregardless," people! I beg you! Together we can make a difference.

Tall People Take it from a guy that has seen 6-10 or taller players wear Kings uniforms named Alaa Abdelnaby, Michael Bradley, Randy Breuer, Marty Conlon, Ben Gillery, Jerome James, Les Jepsen, Rich Kelley, Greg Kite, Joe Kleine, Eric Leckner,  Brad Lohaus, Art Long, Jawann Oldham, Greg Ostertag, Vitaly Potapenko, Johnny Rogers, Kevin Salvadori, Jamal Sampson, Dwayne Schintzius, Jabari Smith, and Greg Stokes – bigger is not always better. Would you want Mikki Moore back? Then why would we want just any stiff just because he’s tall? I’m OK playing smaller and faster. It at least gives us a beggar’s chance. I prefer that greatly over watching someone like Robert Swift or Johan Petro or Saer Sene frustrate the sh*t out of me every time they play (unless we acquire one of these guys at the last minute, in which case I’m all for it).

Sergio Rodriguez  Remember the old westerns, when one cowboy would say, "Awfully quiet out here," and the other cowboy would say "Yeah, too quiet," and then one of the cowboys would take an arrow through his chest? It’s been awfully quiet about Sergio Rodriguez lately.

Kenny Thomas Because you’re still with us, K9…woof!

Tyreke and Kevin  Tyreke Evans will be the most exciting thing about the Kings this year night in and night out, but Kevin Martin will be the Kings’ best player night in and night out. Note to everyone that talks about trading Martin – there is nothing wrong with that, but you damn better get something tangible in return. Dollar for dollar, the man is one of the most efficient offensive players in the NBA. Please remember that before you concoct a deal that would have him jettisoned for expiring contract.

Magoof  This word will not earn you a ban, but it will earn automatic disrespect for your opinion, at least from me. It’s tired, old, worn out, not funny…hey I just described myself! Let’s retire this pig (um, the word "Magoof," not me).

And Last But Not Least  Thanks to everyone for their FanPosts and FanShots. I know that there has been some commentary lately as to what is and is not news. And while I have not enjoyed each and every ‘Post or ‘Shot, I sure have enjoyed the sum of the parts that is StR each and every day. I appreciate everyone’s efforts to keep me entertained this summer. Your You’re all the best!

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