Like most all Kings fans, I've been on Cloud 9 since Thursday night. There are obvious reasons yes, but I'm asking myself, "Why IS this such a great time to be Kings fan?" Why am I so confident that our team is not only headed in the right direction, but on the path to 55 win seasons, deep playoff runs and ... dare I say, that long coveted Championship. [The one that got away in Game 6!]
Why? I'm calling it, The Ceiling Effect.
Kings now have loads of young talent, and if just 2 or 3 of these players achieve what scouts call "their ceiling" (and do it with the Kings, or bring back comparable talent in trades), I think the sky's the limit. So what are their ceilings?
Tyreke: I call him (or somebody called him), "AI on steroids", which I think is apt. AI was MVP, led an average team to the Champ round, scored 40/night at his whim, had the heart of a lion, and was probably the toughest player in the NBA pound-for-pound. But he was a bit selfish and took a lot of bad shots. If 'Reke improves his J and thinks team first, he becomes a man-sized Allen Iverson that nobody can stop from getting to the dish, who wants (and makes) the last shot, and who makes any team lots better, which makes him MVP capable.
Landry: With his low-post game at his size (6' 7"), toughness and ability to convert at the FT line, I see him as more athletic version of Adrian Dantley. Not a great reb., not a great defender, and he won't score 25 ppg, but this ain't the '80's ... and AD-lite could be his ceiling.
DMC: With those hands, the ability on the O glass, his athleticism, and the range from 20 feet (we're told), what's his ceiling? 20/10 with 3 apg & 2bpg. Not sure what player to compare him to (Sean Kemp in his prime?), but it seems to me that skills & numbers like that will make him top 3 center in the NBA along with D Howard (and somebody else) for 10+ years. Maybe Rain Man circa '95-98 is DMC's ceiling, but it might be higher. [Could be Hakeem the Dream, in fact.]
JT: If he can stay out his own way and harness that energy, he's a starting 4 who should go for 15/9 every night with hustle & toughness. AC Green himself says that JT reminds him of AC, but AC was a role player ... granted, a starter on several Champ teams and that's the kind of "role player" the Kings will need, but I kinda think JT's ceiling is higher than AC Green at his best. Maybe Horace Grant? But he can also play the 5, so maybe somewhere in-between Horace Grant and Kevin McHale.
Casspi: For those of you old enough to remember him, I see Casspi peaking as Bobby Jones of the 76ers in late '70's and early '80's. They practically created the 6th MOY Award for Jones and he did everything well - defense, passing, outside shooting, and taking it to the rim. A natural 3 who could also play the 4. Tough, quiet, competitive, consummate professional.
Donte: A very unique skill set. No easy comps, really. A 6'11" man child at 22 who can play the 2, 3 or 4, willing to D up, with good hops and 3-point range. What's his ceiling? Lamar Odom? Maybe - Odom was a 3 early and then got bigger & stronger and evolved into more of 4 as he got older. But with Donte's 3pt range and his D, his ceiling might be higher than Odom. Not sure on that one?
Whiteside: I think he's a 4 ... 2/3 years away from really contributing, but like Gerald Wallace, the talent and potential are there if he's given the opportunity. I'm saying Marcus Camby. Don't think he can evolve into KG-Camby hybrid (although that would be very nice indeed), but he might develop more O than Camby.
To be clear, by no means am I suggesting that any of the above will achieve their "Ceilings", but 2 or 3 (or more) of them might ... with lots of hard work and determination, if they want it badly enough & don't get side tracked by easy money and "the life", etc. But I'm excited because they ALL have very high ceilings and this team might BLOW UP big-time over the next 2-3 years if ... if .... if ....
Any thoughts on where the ceiling is for any of these Kings, and which is most likely to exceed my hopes and dreams?