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The Sactown Greatest

So in an effort to keep the ball rolling throughout the doldrums of summer, we're putting out a "The Sactown Greatest" series.

Things aren't dead quite yet, with the draft and free agency days away. But by getting started now, we can roll out one player a week, in reverse order, and finish up a couple weeks before the 2006-07 gets underway.

There have been 168 players in Sacramento Kings history. Some played only a few minutes, some started hundreds of games. Needless to say, the history is smaller than in all but a few NBA cities. But it's a history with a lot of interesting characters, some flashes of brilliance, and a definite story arc. And I chose the top 10 percent of all Sacramento Kings - 16 players in all - for the "Sactown Greatest" list.

I decided on the list singularly (though I may have some assistance in writing the player bios), and here were my criteria:

  1. First and foremost, the player had to be a King for at least a few seasons. Yeah, Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells have been great in Royal Purple (well, cat-vomit gold, actually). But in comparison with players who spent 4+ less spectacular season in Sacramento, well, I picked the longer-term Kings. Remember, no King has yet brought Sacramento a title and earned the immortality that entails.
  2. Statistics were valued pretty heavily. If any arguments spring up from this list, I can almost guarantee they will revolve around the use of statistics in evaluating greatness. As most readers can ascertain, I'm a fan of advanced metrics for measuring contributions. In this analysis, though, I stick pretty close to the traditional measures to compare players competing for spots on the lis.
  3. Character matters, too. You'll see that in the first selection for the list. Give me similar players in terms of length of service and performance, one of which is a jackass and the other of which is an angel, and I'm picking the angel. Pretty simple.
  4. Team success weighs in, but perhaps not as much as some people would like it to. I could throw out a list made up of the entire 2001-02 roster plus Mitch Richmond, but how interesting would that be? Plenty of "Glory Era" players are represented, but not solely because they went to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.
  5. Wacky hair choices did not necessarily hurt, and in one case helped, chances on inclusion.
Early next week (Monday or Tuesday), the first player (#16 on the list) will be announced and a bio/explanation posted. A week later, the next will be up. And so on. I'm not nailing down a specific date for each one, but expect them to come as early in the week as possible. Then, I'll encourage the rest of the week to be spent acknowledging the greatness of said King through the diaries, polls, et cetera. And of course, this will all come on top of the usual news, notes, analysis, and cockamamie.

For now, feel free to take wild guesses as to who #16 will be in the comments section.