This is an exciting time for us Kings fans as the we now look toward the remainder of the 2010 season. The All-Star weekend couldn’t have been better with a showcasing of the crown jewels – Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi. Evans seems to impress without fail with his first award, the Rook/Soph MVP. It is an awkward feeling to see an elite talent take shape in a Kings uniform. Embrace it.
The schedule continues: Having already topped last year’s win total with 18 wins there are 30 games to go. At the current win percentage that is another 10 wins or 28 total wins for the year. A greater than 10 game improvement. There is the draft lottery in late May and then the NBA draft in June. But it is the trade deadline that captures our thoughts this week. With that in mind – in which direction shall the Kings go?
The Kings have a talented backcourt. The franchise player in rookie Tyreke Evans teamed with the former franchise player Kevin Martin. The 3 spot is well manned with Casspi, Greene, Garcia, and Nocioni crowded together. All capable with some star potential thrown in . Seems pretty set for the most part.
We then examine the frontcourt. The questions that were posed at the beginning of this season persist. Can this team expect to advance with the current power forward and center talents? A look at this season and seeing the level of competition they face the answer is No. Resoundingly No.
Spencer Hawes has talent and is young. He has shown, and will cotinue to exhibit, improvement. Can he be a starting Center in the NBA? Yes. But he needs help.
Jason Thompson is a rebounding force with a superior motor and offensive skills that he has fleeting confidence in. He is strong and athletic. Can he be a starting power forward in the NBA? Yes, but he needs support.
Some of the limits that Hawes has are strengths of JT and the reverse is true as well. However both chaps fall short defensively. Without support to shore up this lack of defense this Kings team is destined to remain out of the playoff picture. The Kings need a frontcourt stud. A player of the abilities to command attention on the defensive and offensive end, more so defensively. Further, it poses the question – what type of team are the Kings to become? A verson of the Warriors and Suns or a version of the Spurs and Nuggets or something in between – the Thunder and Blazers.
The answer to that question begins this week in many respects. If the Kings make a deal for Troy Murphy or Antawn Jamison the Kings get better. How much better? And to what end? If the Kings stay pat and make only minor or no moves than this points to a different direction. The Kings will see where the season brings them with the young team they have and fate will determine where the draft takes them. To a possible young center or power forward that can bring a higher level of talent or not. Maybe the Kings get the first or second pick and take a point guard or a shooting guard (Wall is #1, Turner #2).
Will upgrading older talent this week (Murphy, Jamison) be a good or bad investment in tomorrow? Will trading for a David Lee or Ty Thomas be a shrwed upgrade in talent or just leave the Kings still avoiding the defensive answer they need but at a higher, riskier cost? Should the Kings pick up a defensive big like Dalembert or Okafor who have large holes in their games and bigger claims in their contracts and expect that to be enough of a patch for the play of Shock and Hawes? Should the the Kings let the trade deadline die ?
I am of the belief that the future is still very uncertain in Sacramento. The Arena proposals remain unachored, the salary cap is sinking, the economy is choppy, and the crew young and unsure. Why dive head first into uncertain waters? I expect the Kings to do little or nothing this week and build on a slow and steady course this next two seasons.