Your Sacramento Kings are on their way to lottery for the seventh straight season. At the time of this post, they sit in the 10th slot of the draft, the dreaded "Spencer Hawes" position. In years past, the conversation has always turned to tanking. To tank or not to tank, that is the question. But this year has been different, as the posts and threads have been almost completely bereft of such shenanigans. Why is that?
Well, far be it from me to have my fingers on the pulse of the membership here, but that never stops me from a little good old 100% butt-pulled conjecture. It's my specialty. One could say that it's my calling. So with that said...
The Sacramento/Seattle Saga: This seems to be a logical conclusion. The sale of the Kings and their future lodgings have dominated the news around here. I've noted that we were at a point where we needed a sports page and a business page for StR. Once that was accomplished, I was going to move on to suggesting a "Personals" page: "DMKF (divorced male Kings fan) seeks DF (desperate female) for long walks on "K" Street. Must have low standards in men, and a desire to attend City Council meetings. No Laker fans." But I digress.
The news and conversation surrounding the sale of the Kings has been almost overwhelming. We are closing in on 40,000 comments in the story stream that has been covering this saga, and that does speak to the dozens and dozens of other stories and Fanposts and Fanshots that have not been linked to the stream. we're to the point where we actually notice those few times that we actually talk basketball around here. So that tank talk has taken a back seat, as well as talk of collegiate and international players. Perhaps a lot of this is not wanting to invest too much time in the future of this team until we are certain that the future will unfold in Sacramento. That would certainly apply to me.
The Somewhat Underwhelming Results of Recent Drafts: Six lotteries. Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson, Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson. One-third of these guys are gone. There is nothing left from Hawes, and all we know for sure as it pertains to the Robinson deal is that Patrick Patterson is under contract for next year. Jason Thompson has provided a nice return as a #12 pick, but he's certainly not a franchise turner. Jimmer Fredette has been underwhelming, though how the team has used/not used him may be at least a contributing factor. Tyreke Evans still looks like at least a fair value pick, but we're hoping for more. DeMarcus Cousins is tremendous or a franchise killer, depending on his mood.
So here's a team that has been in the lottery for six straight years, and the team does not seem to be all that improved. The fact that the team sports the 2nd lowest payroll in the league certainly does not help matters, but I wonder if Kings fans have given up on the notion that a savior is coming through the draft.
We Never Move Up in the Draft: In 2007, the Kings were in a three-way tie for 8th-10th in the lottery. The Kings wound up 10th. Joakim Noah was drafted 9th. In 2009, the Kings had the worst record in the league, and were "rewarded" with the 4th pick. The Kings dropped from three to four in 2010. The Kings were in a tie for the 5th worst record in 2011 and picked 7th...dropping to 10th when Beno Udrih and the 7th pick were sent to Milwaukee for John Salmons and the 10th pick. This past year the Kings were tied for the 5th worst record, and amazingly wound up with the 5th pick.
Overall, the Kings have dropped six spots over the past four years, and eight spots over the past six. Have we as a fan base given up on the lottery as a means for improving the team?
The Lack of Excitement Over the 2013 Draft Class: Is there any prospective player that has you at all excited about the upcoming draft? There are a few players that I like, but no one that has me doing back flips (probably a good thing at my age). I don't think that I see anyone that would be starting for the Kings from day one, and that's saying something when you are talking about a team that is attempting to crack the 30 win barrier for the first time since 2007-08.
We're Just Plain Tired of the Losing: This is the one that may ring most true with me. I just need to be able to root for this team to win games. When you couple the .339 winning percentage over the last six-plus years (the equivalent of a 28-54 season) with the very tenuous franchise location situation, the games are the only opportunity to seek a little refuge. Certainly, these past two games (which I believe represents the first time that the Kings have one consecutive road games on a back-to-back since Feb. 9-10, 2010) have been a fabulous getaway for Kings fans, a welcome break from the roller coaster that we've been riding for the past several years.
Are there other reasons why we as Kings fans are not in the tank to tank? Are the reasons above valid or horseplop? Whatever the reasons, it has been refreshing to me that Sacramento Kings fans do not see tanking as a viable means to improving the franchise...
...unless you all are under the impression that we've been tanking all along, of course.