Every year for the last half-decade or so, incoming rookies have looked at getting drafted by the Sacramento Kings as, if not a career death-sentence, then as forty-years-to-life, so to speak. Nobody wanted to go to Sacramento, as they have seen the ineptitude of player development from ownership, all the way down to the coaching staff. Incoming rookies have seen a Rookie of the Year in Tyreke Evans fail to improve, a fan-favorite in Jimmer Fredette get buried on the bench, and a potential dominant rebounder get shipped out of town in less than a year in Thomas Robinson. When handed a Sacramento Kings hat on draft night, these players put a smile on their face, but knew inside that they had their work cut out for them.
But that is all in the past. The Maloofs have sold the franchise to Vivek Ranadive, who has cleaned house and drawn many praises league-wide for the front office and coaching staff he has put together. It is a new and exciting era for the Sacramento Kings, and it starts in player development.
The new era started things off, of course, by drafting Ben McLemore, who, in case you have yet to see him play, is a shooting guard, emphasis on the shooting. It is really all he can do at this point. During the Las Vegas Summer League, McLemore was inconsistent with his shot, but his form left nothing to be unconfident about. He will be able to shoot the ball in the NBA. With that being said, he cannot create his own shot. It is clear he has elite athleticism, but his inability to dribble the basketball will hinder his chances of getting to the rim and taking advantage of that athleticism. Of course, McLemore is only twenty years old so he has all the time in the world to work on his game. And lucky for him he did not get drafted to the same old Sacramento Kings.
In the small amount of time I have seen McLemore play, it is easy to see that he will be most successful playing off the ball and having screens ran for him to catch and shoot. There is one player who made a very good career out of doing this, and doing it well: Richard Hamilton. Guess who was waived by the Chicago Bulls: Richard Hamilton. Do you see where I am going with this? Hamilton always stayed in peak physical condition in order to run around the court and wear his defender out, thus creating open shots. Last season with the Bulls, Hamilton posted a 10.65 PER while scoring 9.8 PPG in 50 games, which is nothing to drool over. In fact, John Salmons posted a 10.20 PER himself. However, bringing in Hamilton would not be a transaction intended to send the Kings to the playoffs, as its intentions would be to help develop a player who really needs developing, both on and off the court.
Hamilton is the ideal player McLemore should look up to, and should model his game after. Hamilton can pass down his work ethic, his strategies for staying in great shape, and his knowledge of being effective without the basketball. The icing on the cake of this hypothetical signing is that the Kings still have minutes to give someone at the small forward position.
Now whether or not Richard Hamilton would be willing to come to a rebuilding Sacramento Kings team towards the end of his NBA career is yet to be seen, but it is worth a shot. It is worth a shot for this organization to do anything it can to maximize the potential of its prospects. Bringing in Richard Hamilton is a small step in the right direction for this team, which is something they actually could be willing to do. After all, this is the new Sacramento Kings.