I read Jerry Renolds book on the Kings first 20 years in Sacramento it ended with the 2004-05 season that was the year in which we lost to the Seattle Supper Sonics in 5 games all things considering it was too be expected Now I'm here to reflect on 2005-now.
Following a 5 game 1st round exist by the Kings in 2005 management decided that changes were needed. We drafted Franciso Garcia in the first round a hard nose athletic 6-7 G/F from Louiville who can play some big PG SG, SF and small PF if needed to I think the Kings felt like he could come in and develope into a good scorer and defender off the bench. Durring the Off season we parted ways with by far one of the most exciting players and fan favorite Bobby Jackson to Memphis for Bonzie Wells a guy who has had a history of on court issuses. Bobby was comming off two straight years of injuries in which he did not play much so management wanted to let him go for a younger bigger version of him in Bonzi Wells. The Kings also brought in Shareef Abdual Raheem from Atlanta. Shareef had a good career with the Hawks and wanted to play for a playoff team of course this move didn't sit well with Kenny Thomas who thought that he should be the starter he began to sulk. Some guys are like that if they are not starting they stop trying. We also picked up a young undrafted rookie name Ronnie Price he could jump out of a gym and brought a ton of energy we also brought in Jason Hart to handle the backup PG duties. I think going into that year there was reason to belive that we could be a good team with time as a unit we had Mike Bibby at PG Bonzi Wells at SG Peja Stovakic at SF Shareef Adual Raheem at PF and Brad Miller at C, so there was reason to think that we could still compete and be pretty good and we had K9 comming off the bench with Martin, Garcia, Hart and Skinner who brings D and rebounding so there was reason to think that we could still be a good team.
Sacramento got off to a bad start due to incositancy from our guys our young bench was missing a guy like BJax to spark them and Shareef got a jaw injury early on yes he would return but he lost a ton of weight and strength and was not the same player had he not gotten injured who knows how much better we would of done. Luck was not on our side with Bonzi while he kept us a float near the 500 mark loosing him was a major blow we were forced to put Kevin Martin into the lineup and Peja became the focal point of the offense which he was not able to do, slowly we began to sink and were sitting in 13th place in the West thats when a major trade was made. Just before the deadline we delt Peja for Ron Artest, we all remember the fight against the Pistons and fans that suspended Ron Artest for the rest of that season and he has had a landry list of problems but there is no doubt that when he is at full health and happy he is one of the best players in the leauge. One of our problems was defense we lacked a stopper since Doug Christy left so bringing in a guy like Ron boosted our D and made us better. Though at times we struggled to score in the 4th we began to win and brought a ton of excitment back to Arco though the Kings did not win 50 games that season they managed to win 45 and make it into the Playoffs as the 8th seed. I don't think Rick Addleman got the credit he should of for the job he did of coaching the young guys up and adapting to loosing Peja for Ron Artest considering they have very different styles of play. In the first round we had to play the San Antonio Spurs in game one they clearly looked like the number one seed while we looked every bit like an 8th seed we fell behinde early and had no chance loosing in a blowout. After that I think a lot of fans were woundering if we could even compete and make this a series and on top of that Ron Artest was suspended for an elbow to Ginobli. With Ron out we needed someone to step it up and that someone happend to be Bonzi Wells who played his hear out and kept us in the game we had a chance to steal game two but Brent Barry hit a 3 to send it to OT in OT we could not come away with the win and lost a hard fought game to go down 0-2 in the series. I think that was a big turning point even though we lost we had the confidence that we could compete with this team and felt much better coming back home to Arco.
Arco Arena is always loud come playoff time and game 3 was no exception it was a seesaw battle that went back and forth once again Bonzi was playing out of his mind and Artest did a great job of keeping Manu in check but Kevin Martin would make the biggest shot of his young career Bibby got the steal and threw it ahead to KMart who went up and got the ball over the hands of Dunkin to win the game it made the series 2-1 and Arco went estastic. The next game we came out and won by a pretty good margin all of a sudden it was 2-2 and our fans were thinking maybe this team can pull of the upset. However back in San Antonio the Spurs took game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead but thats ok because that meant we would return to Sacramento. Early on things were looking good we were hanging with them and I felt like we could pull it off however Ron Artest sprained his ankle and that allowed the Spurs to make a run although Ron would return it was too little to late for us we would loose and the Spurs won 4-2 in 6 games thats better than most of the experts thought after our game one disaster, who knows what might of happend had Brent missed and we came home tied 1-1 instead of 0-2 Kmart still wins game 3 and we win game 4 we would be up 3-1, Even if the won game 5 we would of still been up 3-2 for game 6 and I think we would of pulled it off Rick Addleman would prob still be coaching and this team would be much better off than they are now. Instead of giving Rick the congrats he should of for getting this team into the playoffs and competing against the World champ Spurs the Maloofs gave Rick the boot I think they never really seemed eye to eye with him on any thing and had Petrie not been in charge they may have cut him loose sooner than they did. I think a lot of fans took Rick for granite at times and it was not untill he was fired that we all realized just how good of a coach he really is.
2006-2007 Season a major dissapointment.We shot a major blank in the draft we should of taken a big guy like Josh Boone or if we took a PG we could of gotten Rajon Rondo or Shannon Brown instead we took Quincy Douby a sharp shooter from Rutgers who was an undersized SG at 6-3 but not enough skills to be a PG. We hired Eric Musselman as our new head coach. While some fans knew it was all bad when Eric Musselman was named the new head coach others thought the young Eric would pump us up and give us more energy well it started off bad right away when Musselman got a DUI following a preason win we also lost Bibby to a hand injury. I think Musselmans DUI caused the players to loose respect in him as a coach. We got off to an 0-4 start but then we rallied and went on a nice little win streak at one point we were 5-8 and looking like maybe we could compete and be good Bibby was back and doing a pretty good job KMart was improving Ron Ron was defending well and Miller was passing out of the high post. It was not ment to be however Ron Artest began to have some problems and the team chemistry began to fade Miller was out of shape from his injuries and a major liabilty on D and Bibby was not the same player after his injury KMart however was improving along with some of our young guns while we fell out of playoff contenstion we began to see more of the young guys like Cisco who can play 4 differnt postions if you really need him to Ronnie Price brought relentless effort and hustle and Justin Williams brought a lot of athleticism and quickness along with shot blocking and rebounding up front. The Kings would win just 33 games and miss out on the playoffs for the first time since 1998.
Following that year the expectations really began to fall I think some people thought that if we brought in a proven coach that we could rebuild this team and get back to the playoffs. Well we passed up some proven guys for Young Reggie Theus. Reggie turned New Mexico St around and was a former Kings player he was much different than Musselman so it seemed like a better move. The Kings would select Spencer Hawes a guy whos game is simular to Brad Miller though he has proven to better on D than most thought. Once again we got off to a slow start and were hit with injuries to Brad Miller, Mike Bibby and Ron Artest, KMart would become our leading scorer and one the leauge leaders in scoring Cisco continued to improve John Salmonds did a great job and Spencer prooved that he could play in the leauge. The Kings would improve to 38 wins 5 better than the previous year still no playoffs for us although even a winning record would not of got us in as 50 or more was the way the west turned out. Boston went on to win it against the Lakers in as they went from worst to first in one year. We made another trade to free up some space in trading Bibby to Atlanta for Tyrone Lue, Anthony Johnson and Sheldon Williams Beno Udric had prooven that he could be a capeable starting PG so management figured it was time to get younger and let Bibby move on.
While we did not have the cap room to make any deals durring the offseason we felt like we could improve through the draft we took an unkown guy named Jason Thompson for Rider Thompson is a big PF who has good skills as he use to be a PG that grew into a PF in College he came in and showed that he can play in this leauge and should be part of this teams future we would also send Artest to Houston for Bobby Jackson and Donte Green and a 2009 first round pick once again this was a move that was made to improve us in the future it also brought back a fan favorite in Bobby while BJax has lost a step and is nearing the end of his career he is still giving it his all. The Kings arcothunder and is not the same arena it once was. Beno was having a bad year after firing Theus Nat did not do anything for us he did not improve the Kings on D they got worse our assist to turnover ratio was terrible we had no leader out there just a bunch of average role players. We cut ties with Miller, Moore, Salmonds, and Douby we got Gooden who ditched us, Noccioni who when on is simular to Manu Ginobli. We got Ike Diagou and undersized but aggressive F/C Sergio Rodgues as well. It was clear that we planned on rebuilding and clearing cap space. We only kept Sergio Ike and the others Mcants were let go of. Sacramento finshed with a franchize worse 17 wins very dissapointing. Fans were upset the exitment was long gone.
2009-present The Kings landed the 4th pick in the draft and took Tyreke Evans a 6-6 combo guard from Memphis. Gavin Maloof was very excited about this move and why not, at 6-6 the guy had the potential to be a Dwane Wade type of player. We also took Omri Casspi a 6-9 SF from Israel as well as John Brockman in the draft, and brought in Sergio Roughrigess. The expectations were down. I mean after a 17 win season nobody knew what to expect. Sacramento got off to a slow start than went on to play very exciting basketball in November and December. Westpaul struggled to find a consistant line up and we were a young team. There were signs of improvement, on December 22nd we set a new franchise record by overcoming a 35pt deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls. In January the wheels fell off a bit, we had some close losses against teams like the Lakers but, could not finish. Tyreke played good but he struggled, Casspi hit the rookie wall and we had no consistancy at SF, Beno was playing pretty good better than he did durring the 17 win season. We struggled up front to rebound with Hawes a JT both being in and out of the lineup, Landry for KMart was a good trade at the time he came in and brought energy off the bench an undersized but good PF. The Kings ended the yr with 25 wins an 8 game improvement not bad but we lost a lot of close games and needed help up front and another scorer and PG.
Moving forward there is a lot of uncertainty about if the Kings will remain in Sacramento. What ever happens the Kings were a big part of Sacramento and us as fans will always look back on the good years. I think the Kings need one more big guy a F/C type guy to go with Cousins help us get back to the Prinston Offense. We need a true PG to run the team move Tyreke to SG, and have Beno as a backup combo guard, and get a consistant scorer at SF or hope Casspi can develop to be the guy.