All year long we have wahwahwahhhhhed our Fate...poor us, poor Loyal Kings' Fans. We have been up on the mountain and seen beautiful basketball, orchestrated by Mr Petrie, and we are starving for more!
That Laker win was great, and a curse...it was won by a vision of the future, not by current reality; what we can be was put on display. After that very harsh conditions(the truth) settled in: horrible year last year; Kings assemble a new roster, youngest in NBA! ;lockout; short camp; games jammed together at a fast pace with little practice; the THIRD coaching change in three years. Under all that we have financially constrained owners and a small franchise which might move. Those are not excuses...and those conditions take timetimetime to overcome!
What we do have is a great improvement from last year, a poor team with woeful potential. Francisco Garcia symbolizes that team: an excellent person, plays hard all the time, makes the most of his skills and is a very solid teammate. He also has earned great respect from the fans. But when we watch him is there any doubt that he is athletically limited? He's reached a point where he is having a hard time keeping up. Udrith, Dalembert, and other Kings of last year are not quite at Garcia's stage, but they are well past the tipping point.
We now have a number of players who have tremendous physical talent but who have little NBA experience, and have not played together as a unit. Not only has the calendar slowed that cohesion, but so have some serious injuries to key players on a team without many key players.
That team, however, has athletic skills and sweet NBA potential. Tyreke is healthy, and despite the naysayers, he can be a great and rare point guard with his size, speed, strength. Any Kings' fan not seeing how hard this young man works on his game for improvement must need a guide! His recognition of defenses is far better than last year...as his his overall court awareness. His assists are rising exponentially, That outside shot, from 3 and two point range, is slowly improving. He comes to play every night and never gives up during a game.
Cousins, despite early personality problems, is emerging as a premier NBA big man. With both attitude and hoop aptitude, he is making tremendous strides. Nuff said: what an awesome draft pick by Petrie!
With the addition of Fredette ,IT, Thornton,and Hayes it seems Petrie has his good touch. The two guards have tremendous potential! Chuck Hayes may have been injured(plenty of that in this NBA year), but his attitude, leadership and direction, not to mention his rocklike presence on the court make him a valuable addition. Thornton comes to play every night, and is dedicated to improving the non shooting parts of his game.By the way, all these athletes have personalities we can cheer for as well as their basketball personas.
As for the other newcomers(Hickson, Outlaw, Honeycutt, Whiteside)...who's to say? Hiuckson has started to find a rhythm, and that man can sky! He plays hard and unselfishly, and seems as if he is dedicated to improving his game. He could be a sleeper for sure! With Honeycutt, Outlaw and Whiteside, perhaps nothing emerges. But it seems they all three have athletic ability and a desire to improve, stay in the league and make their way. That beats three veterans playing limited minutes at the end of the career.
Jason Thompson is maturing into an excellent NBA big man...when 3 coaches come and go but he steadily works and improves, we have another personality to appreciate along with increased b-ball contributions. His play this year has been consistent and strong. Despite the vicious attacks Salmon is enduring from Kings' "fans', there are many veterans in the NBA that have suffered ghastly starts but are now starting to find their rhythm. Looks to me like Salmons is one of them. Earlier remarks were not intended to slight Garcia; love that guy! He can still spark 'em!
The problem is the Maloofs. This team has great potential, but with their known financial difficulties, the arena fracas, and the coaching carousel, they place the Kings in limbo. But what good does it do to denigrate the owners? perhaps they too are doing their best in rugged times. We may not like 'em, but they are what we have...thus they have us.
Anyway, I plan to continue rooting hard for every Kings' player, while hoping the team stays around Sacramento as potential comes home. Rooting hard against all odds and common sense...that's our fate, let's make the most of it!