As this is the last Good, Bad and Ugly for the season, we're going to be doing things a little bit differently. We'll be taking a look at the Good and Bad of the year, and then introducing the Greenies, the second annual StR awards for you guys, the commenter. Because this site just wouldn't be the same without you.
1. Here We Stay
Back when a few of us started Here We Stay back in September, none us imagined how big it could get. It couldn't have happened without all your help, without the help of people like the Rise Guys and others in the media who got the word out there. Whatever happens, I'm proud to have been a part of this movement.
This will forever be one of my favorite memories:
2. Marcus Thornton
See Player of the Year
3. Boogie Fever
DeMarcus Cousins has had an up-and-down Rookie season to be sure, but he has also shown us the immense talent and skill at his disposal. He didn't set any historic marks like Tyreke did (although his 699 rebounds sets a Sacramento Rookie Record, beating Lionel Simmons), and he won't win Rookie of the Year, but he has the potential to be the best player on this team for years to come. No other player on this team has grown as much on the court from Game 1 to Game 82 as DMC did.
What does DMC need to do in the offseason? The only thing I think he needs to work on is conditioning and strength training. He's got so much skill already, he just needs to be able to last longer on the court.
4. Jason Thompson Is Finally Becoming Consistent, on Both Ends
While his numbers are relatively similar to his career numbers, JT has improved quite a bit in my eyes. His shot is becoming more consistent, he's much more patient around the basket, and he's making a lot of effort on defense, especially with his team defense. JT has been jerked around in the rotation just as much as some other guys, but he's the only one who has been able to respond each time and remain somewhat consistent. He's finally settling into a solid role as 3rd big and with more improvement on the defensive end, he can still be a valuable piece of this team's future.
5. Nobody Expects the Yeti
Beno improved on his career year last year by having another career year. His FG% went up to exactly 50%, 3rd in the entire league among Point Guards behind only Tony Parker and Ty Lawson and he had a solid A:TO ratio of 2.7:1. To put it simply, Beno was our most consistent and efficient player all year. While he was below average as a starter, off the bench, he's more than ideal.
6. Haitian Sensation
Dalembert has turned into a must-keep piece for me. His rebounding and defense have been outstanding, and ever since coming back into the starting lineup paired with DeMarcus, he's been averaging a double-double. Dalembert does have his issues to be sure (namely turnovers and iffy decisions on offense, which usually lead to the former), but he has proven very valuable to this team. If the Kings do not re-sign Dalembert, I believe that will be a big step back for an already weak defensive team. Having a shotblocker like Dalembert is not just good for against other teams, but also in practice.
7. Darnell Jackson/Pooh Jeter/Jermaine Taylor
These three guys didn't play all that much this year, but each of them had their moments. Darnell always came in and played tough. Pooh excited us with his quickness and Bobby Jackson-esque pull-up jumper. Jermaine thrilled us with his explosiveness. The future of these players with the Kings is unknown, but they definitely deserve to remain in the NBA.
8. Great End to the Season and Props to Coach Westphal
Unlike last year where the Kings got off to a good start and then finished with a whimper, these Kings seemed re-invigorated by the acquisition of Marcus Thornton and ended the season on a tear, going 9-9 in their last 18 games. That's the kind of momentum that hopefully carries into next season. It's telling to me that Coach Westphal was able to do much more with the roster when he had more talent on it (Addition of Thornton + Healthy Tyreke). Westphal might not be the best coach out there, but he's no slouch either and I think he's done the best with what he has, especially given all the distractions he's had. The true test will come next season however, to see what he does with this roster for a full year, as well as possible FA additions.
1. The Whole Relocation Mess
This ongoing drama has been a sad story to follow. It looks (to me and many others) that the Maloofs are done with Sacramento and really want to go to Anaheim. They offered very little warning as to their intentions and made little effort to work with groups here.
But this isn't over yet. I'm taking the news of this May 2nd extension as good news, because its yet another delay it what has been made out to be an inevitable outcome. Perhaps it still is, but I still have hope that Sacramento will keep its team, with or without the Maloofs (Got Burkle?).
2. Tyreke Evans Gimpy Sophomore Season
I think its safe to say that Tyreke Evans season was one of the bigger disappointments of this year. After last year's 20-5-5 campaign, we all expected great things from Evans, especially after hearing reports that his jump shot had become much smoother. But whatever progress Evans had made was slowed down drastically by the Plantar Fasciitis he played with for the majority of the season. Combined with the fact that opposing defenses focused all their attention on him, his production went down across the board, most noticeably in his FG%. He also lost a bit of his aggressiveness, taking less shots at the rim and more jumpers.
Thankfully, he is now pain and Plantar Fasciitis free since returning from injury. Tyreke has started to look much more like the rookie we all fell in love with, and a lot of hard work this offseason could help him make the kind of leap other third year guards like Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook did. The worst case scenario however is that we have an OJ Mayo situation on our hands, but I don't think that's the case. Reke is a special talent, and I look forward to seeing what a healthy Reke brings to the table next year.
3. Carl Landry Was Not What We Thought He Was
After last year's trade for Carl, many of us, myself included, thought it was highly possible that Landry could be our Power Forward of the future. That simply was not the case. While Landry was still a solid scorer, his already awful rebounding plummeted even further to be among the worst on the team, guards included. He took more jump shots than ever before and his efficiency hurt as a result. It became exceedingly clear that Landry, while a good player, was not part of this teams future, especially with the acquisitions of DeMarcus Cousins and Samuel Dalembert. I'm glad Carl landed in a good situation in New Orleans. Best of luck to him in the playoffs and during his upcoming Free Agency.
4. Terrible Start to the Season
Before the season, many of us hoped that this team would be able to take advantage of one of the easier schedules in the league for the first few months to get off to a good start. When the Kings started 3-1, their best start in years, I was thrilled, thinking that finally this was our year to come back. But it was all downhill from there as the Kings dropped game after game, winning just 3 of their next 25 games. 2010 was not a good year for Sacramento. Things turned around a bit after the New Year, with the team doubling their win total in January alone, but that terrible start was a season killer.
5. Hassan Whiteside's Non-Season
When we drafted Hassan Whiteside at #33 this year, this was my exact reaction on the Draft Thread:
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL... We just drafted Thabeet, with the 33rd pick. And an offensive game.
I LOVED the Whiteside pick. Coming out of College, this guy was an elite shotblocker and he had a better offensive game than I thought. During the draft workout that I watched him at (with other guys like Udoh, Aldrich, Orton, and Ryan Richards) he was the guy I came away most impressed with.
Summer League only added to my hype watching him get up so high to block shots that he blocked them with his wrist. But then he got injured and missed most of preseason, barely getting any time with the team. His only action all season was a 2 minute stint in the opener in which he had to leave with 2 quick fouls.
He was sent to Reno, and while he started out well, and was leading the D-League in Block Rate, he slowly but surely started to see a big minutes decrease, with more hints of the attitude problems that caused his draft stock to drop in the first place. With Hassan not even getting playing time in the D-League, the Kings called him back up so they could work with him.
But even that was short lived as Hassan injured his knee and would need surgery, keeping him out of practice for the rest of the year and possibly even into next year. I have lost much of the hope I once had for him. We'll see what happens next year.
6. Antoine Wright/Luther Head
Neither of these players were meant to be anything more than a stopgap option in the backcourt, but it still stung that the Kings chose not to go after a more solid option in an offseason where they had plenty of cap space and there were quality FA signees to be had at those positions, like Anthony Morrow, Ronnie Brewer, Tony Allen or Dorell Wright. Those players signed for decent contracts and would've filled a need here. Neither Wright or Head lasted the season with the Kings.
7. The Small Forward Position
If anything emerged as a big weakness this year, it had to be the Small Forward position, especially after the acquisition of Marcus Thornton solidified our backcourt. Before the season, the SF position was up for grabs between Omri and Donté. One finished season later, and we still have no answer at the position. Omri failed to improve on the defensive end, and his FG% took a bit of a hit, and Donté had a bad offseason training to be a PF when he should have instead been working on his shot, resulting in his 3P% dropping by 8% and FG% by 4%. Cisco has been our most consistent performer, but he shot his lowest percentage from the field and downtown in 4 years, as well as missing significant amount of time due to injury.
Something has to change, and it likely won't rely on these players getting better, but instead a new player coming in.
Player of the Year:
21.3 PPG, .450 FG%, .361 3P%, 4.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.7 STL
When the Kings traded for Marcus Thornton, most of us were intrigued. But I don't think any of us expected this. Ever since his arrival the team has been playing much better, he has hit numerous shots in crunch time, and carried the team to victory on more than one occasion. He was known purely as a scorer in New Orleans but he's shown he's been able to do it all, from rebounding to passing, and he's even a better defender than he was made out to be. Acquiring Marcus balanced the roster; This team needed a perimeter scoring threat so that teams wouldn't just clog the lane against Tyreke and DeMarcus. Marcus brought that consistently and much more. He is without a doubt the best scorer on the team and a must-keep piece for the future.
Comment of the Week:
GIF of the Week:
Highlight of the Year:
Last Week's Winner: andy sims
Samuel Dalembert and Chuck Hayes Performance Art Theatre Presents:
TWO GIRAFFES FUCKING
Last Week's Runner-Up: kfipp
Sammy: "Right foot on green?! Are you f’ing serious!? Wait, why is no one else playing twister?
Lottery Projection and Draft Prediction:
Final Lottery Position: 5th
Chance at #1 Pick: 7.6%
Draft Prediction #1: If the Kings get into the top 3, they will keep the pick and take one of Kyrie Irving or Derrick Williams.
Draft Prediction #2: If the Kings do not move up in the draft it is my belief that they will trade the pick for a proven player, probably at the SF position.
And Nostradumbass's Predictions:
40-42 for the year so not a good year for Nostradumbass, who would have been 58-24 by simply predicting a loss for every game, but where is the fun in that?
And now the moment you guys have been waiting for, the 2nd Annual StR Greenies.
1. The StR Fanpost (Drama) of the Year:
Little Boys, Big Sacramento Kings Dreams by Stefanie Norlin-Lund
This post says all I want to and more about why I want to keep this team in Sacramento. For many of us, this is so much more than just basketball.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Ron by rbiegler
Biegler hits this one out of the park, with his best post to date. That's saying something.
2. The StR Fanpost (Analytical) of the Year:
Why Martin For Landry Was a Fair Trade by SPTSJUNKIE
While some (myself included) still feel that the Martin for Landry trade was terrible (in and of itself, not taking into account the fact that we ended up with Marcus Thornton), SPTSJUNKIE does a great job analyzing why the trade might not have been as lopsided as it seems and I have to give credit where credit is due.
Big Men Scoring Vs. Assist Rate by HighTops
Coach Tops does it again with some great analysis on how the Kings don't feed their big men down low for easy scores nearly enough.
3. The StR Fanpost (Game Recap) of the Year:
Our friend Muff tells us about his meeting with Bill Walton, great champion.
17,890 people at the Honda Center for the NCAA Tournament and who do I bump into? by SactownheartOChouse
Any story where you meet and have a converstation with Geoff Petrie is a great story in my mind.
4. The StR Fanpost (Comedy) of the Year:
Carl Landry: World Traveler by Aykis16
Tyreke Evans: Spokesperson for Mercedes Benz* by Slam_Dunk
Some quality satire here by SD.
5. The StR Game Thread of the Year
"The Shot" 12/29/10 v. Grizzlies (Venomy Snicket sneaked in a not "Green'd" comment a month later at the very end. Go in there and ruin his fun by making it "Green")
6. The Xinyue75777 Troll of the Year
This award goes to the commenter who only has one purpose and fulfills that purpose like no other.
And the Greeny goes to:
Nobody... NOBODY knows exactly what the Kings need to do better than cowboyron.
Step 1: fire westfall
Step 2: Trade Cisco for someone who shots
Step 3: Rise the Hot Hand!
He has a blog, which I will not link to for fear that someone may actually click on it. He's alternatively pessimistic and elitist. Nobody's viewpoint but his is right. Check out this thread for Ziller's epic smackdown of said troll.
7. The Comment of the Year
This award goes to the most profound, or funniest comment of the year.
And the Greeny goes to:
8. The StR Photoshop of the Year
This award goes to the best display of fake imagery of the year.
And the Greeny goes to:
9. The Everybody Dance Post-Game Thread Gif of the Year
This award goes to the Post-Game Thread Gif that received the most recs all year.
And the Greeny goes to (we might have to re-name this award after Chen):
10. The Best Natting Meme of the Year
This award goes to the meme that lasted the longest and was most used and recognized by StR users throughout the year.
And the Greeny goes to:
Rise the Hot Hand! started as a typo by email@example.com and has since been used probably every day on this site.
Mickey Mouse Sucks by ivan209 in this thread. Basically this meme helps vent frustration at Anaheim by showing various bad things happening to Mickey Mouse, like getting punched in the face by Doug Christie, or posterized by Tyreke Evans. Fun stuff.
11. The Dejan Bodiroga Foreign StR Commenter of the Year
This award goes to the best poster on StR from another blog, and can at times be considered one of us.
And the Greeny goes to:
Evan Dunlap, editor of Orlando Pinstriped Post. Evan has gone out of his way to help spread the "Here We Stay" word out on his blog as well as on Twitter, and for that I applaud him. Thank you Evan.
Xiane, a Houston Rockets fan and member of the Dream Shake. Xiane is last year's winner and is still a gentleman and a scholar.
12. The StR Nickname of the Year
This award goes to the nickname given to a player by StR that didn't become mainstream but still managed to become an StR favorite.
And the Greeny goes to:
"Red Flags" for DeMarcus Cousins. No single person can really take credit for this, but section214 was the first to suggest it as a nickname, back before the draft. Since then its taken off, as the new "NaPG".
The Yeti for Beno Udrih. This actually came from a thread from late last year, with TZ getting credit, but it didn't really catch on till this year. But thats because Nobody Expects the Yeti.
13. The StR Rookie Commenter of the Year
This award goes to a commenter who joined after the end of the previous season and managed to become a solid contributor and member of the StR community.
And the Greeny goes to:
kfipp (joined 2/20/2011)
Kfipp joined StR late in the season, but ever since joining he has been one of the more active foot soldiers in the Here We Stay and Here We Build movements. He also made a couple of great videos for Here We Stay Night I and HWS Night II, not to mention the countless awesome photoshops that have since been turned into signs and taken to games.
14. The StR Commenters of the Year:
This award goes to the non-editors who I feel have gone above and beyond as StR commenters and Sacramento Kings fans.
And the Greeny goes to:
1a. jjham15 for his absolutely amazing work in becoming a pro bono journalist for us. I met James for the first time this year during Kings media availability day and he was a natural. Since then he's been to every single Kings home game as a media member, has given us exclusive interviews with players and the coaches, and simply been awesome. Big ups to James for all his hard work, which he hasn't gotten a cent for.
1b. HighTops for his wonderful scouting reports before almost every game. Even when the season was spinning out of control with talk of relocation and people stopped caring about the individual games as much, HighTops was there every day with a fanpost. I don't normally comment on them, but I always rec them and thank Coach HT for his insights. Keep up the good work and hopefully we'll be able to look forward to many more.
1c. ed_m7, who has taken his job as de facto "Here We Stay" Spirit Bro to the next level. He has done an amazing job with coordinating efforts for both Here We Stay nights as well as several city council meetings. Without Ed's unwavering positivity and indomitable spirit, Here We Stay would not have been nearly as successful.
1d. Everyone who donated money, signs or effort to the "Here We Stay" movement. There are way too many of you to name, but you all should be extremely proud. Keep up the good work, because this fight isn't over yet.
On a personal note, I just want to say thank you to all of you who have read my writing, rec'd my work, and simply been awesome Kings fans. I'm truly blessed and honored, and this website simply wouldn't be the same without you.
I want to say another thank you to Tom Ziller for giving me the opportunity over these last couple years to write for such a wonderful site, and I hope that I'll get to continue to do so for many years to come.
Until next year (Here We Stay!), this has been the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.