I was thinking about the universal disdain for Kenny Thomas the other day, and it got me to wondering where he would rank on the list of all time loathed Sacramento Kings?
With a little bit of research and recall I have assembled my list. My list is based on what the presence of these gentlemen did to adversely affect the franchise, and what we could have had instead of them. Two of the guys are among the nicer professional athletes I've ever met, while guys like Tony Massenburg, Keon Clark, OP and Jason Hart (who all pissed and moaned about their role/time here after they left but did nothing at their next stops) are not on the list, as they really did not impact the Kings one way or the other.
For reasons of karma I give both Bobby Hurley and Ricky Berry a pass. Also, I don't recognize Billy Owens or John Wallace, both of whom said prior to their draft that they did not want to come to Sacramento. We traded the rights to Owens for Mitch Richmond and we drafted Peja with Wallace still on the board, so those guys actually helped us.
Joe Kleine Now, I've made no bones about it, Joe Kleine made me a better King's fan. He was a great guy, and thanks to his on court "performance" I drank a lot more through my young and impressionable years. But we spent our #7 pick of the 1985 draft on him and he averaged 8 and 6 during his stay here. We netted Greg Kite when we traded Joe, and Kite went 3 and 5 for us. Chris Mullin, Detlef Schrempf, Charles Oakley, Karl Malone, Joe Dumars and Terry Porter were all selected after JOOOEEE!!! in the '85 draft.
Derek Smith 1985-86 was the first year for the Kings in Sacramento, and we made the playoffs in spite of a 37-45 record. During the season Derek Smith of the LA Clippers lit us up, and we traded away two established starters (Larry Drew and Mike Woodson) and a draft pick (which I believe became Hersey Hawkins) for Smith and Franklin Edwards. Smith suffred knee injury after knee injury and never produced for us, and we didn't see the playoffs again for over 10 years.
Pervis Ellison 1989 was a crappy year to have the first pick of the draft, though Sean Elliott, Glen Rice, Tim Hardaway and Shawn Kemp were part of this class. The Kings got 34 games out of Ellison, and eventually traded him, receiving Eric Leckner and Bobby Hansen in return.
The Class Of 1990 Let me start by saying that none of these guys were a disaster individually, but if you combine the stats of Lionel Simmons (7th pick), Travis Mays (14th), Duane Causwell (18th) and Anthony Bonner (23rd), you would wind up with a guy that averaged 9 pts., 5 rebs., 2 asts., 1 stl. and 1 blk. over the equivalent of a 14 year career. In other words, we spent four 1st round draft picks and wound up with Mikki Moore.
Mateen Cleaves This one almost slipped by me as we were so strong at the time nobody really raised a fuss. We needed a backup PG, so we traded Jon Barry to Detroit for Cleaves, who averaged 2 points and less than 1 assist for us in 44 games. He was a great guy and by all accounts a great teammate, but do you think Jon Barry should have yielded a little more than that?
Brad Miller A solid contributor and a no brainer deal when the Kings made it, as Miller would be the heir apparent for Divac and would continue the formidable front line tandem with C-Webb. But what we wound up with is a guy who can't play to his contract (even when he is playing well) while Hedo Turkoglu earns $6.9 million this year in Orlando and Scot Pollard provides great fodder for the Boston media.
Ralph Sampson I put this here under my own protest. Sampson did nothing for us after we traded Jim Petersen for him, but Petersen went on to do nothing for Golden State. Sampson's contract did run one year longer than Petersen's at a cost of a couple more million dollars a year, which was not chicken scratch back then, especially under the shoe string ownership that we had at the time.
K9(woof!) Yes, we did get out of Webber's contract. But we also threw Matt Barnes in on that deal to make the numbers work, and Thomas has under performed so badly that he has been impossible to deal, thus circumventing the idea of the trade in the first place. Interesting to note that HoopsHype lists this deal as Petrie's worst trade ever (they call the Webber for Richmond/Thorpe deal as his best trade).
There may be others, but I think right now I need to be dipped for fleas.