82 games, six months gone and it is time to discuss how the team makes the grade as seen from my eyes. A full report card is too long so I will break this down into 4 parts. The Core, The Near Core, The Here Todays, The Coaching and Front Office. Today, the Core. MidTerm grades in parantheses. What is a Core player? A player that will be the starter whenever they are healthy. They are the leaders on the team and part of the personality. They get well earned consistent minutes and are counted on for reliable production. They have a blend of skills that other teams must adjust to. Sometimes Core players are the entire 5 and may include a Bench Core of the 6th, 7th, or even 8th players on veteran teams. The team is built around the Core.
Tyreke Evans: the first superstar drafted by the Kings since arriving in Sacramento. To help his transition from college star to NBA superstar coach Paul Westphal has handed this 20 year old the reigns to the team. Tyreke has responded with some game winners and an amazing degree of consistency. This is what I wrote for the midterm report and it has changed little if at all. Tyreke has put up with injury and the pressure of RoY and the 20-5-5. There has been the emergence of some better form on the jump shot these last few games. He was the best rookie this season and he will follow the blueprint and get better. A- (A+)
Carl Landry: The trade of the former face of the Kings and NBA ambassador Kevin Martin to Houston brought in one tough dude with similar offensive efficiency in Landry. Carl has been amazingly consistent as a Kings starter, averaging 18.3 ppg and 6.6 rpg since joining Sacramento and a PER of 19.13 this season. He brings grit and promise as he completes his third NBA season. He needs to rebound more, particularly on the defensive end, but is a wonderful addtion who would be a starter on most NBA teams. Carl has only one more year, at $3M left on his contract. B+
This first installment is short as there are only two true core players on this squad right now. The Kings are talent poor. The Kings need more core. This summer will consistent of changing the potential of the near core, adding a high draft pick (slot underdetermined until the draft lottery May 18th)and with the cap space available, possibly finding a core piece to give some of that money to. If it were to happen, look for a David Lee rather than a James, Wade, Bosh, Johnson, Stoudamire but for an overpaid amount, a bit ofa risk as next season will start a new CBA and lower salaries overall and a possible lockout.