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Parsing Geoff Petrie On The Kings' Team Needs

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In Jason Jones' Geoff Petrie Q&A published this week (and discussed briefly before the spectacle that was Monday's announcement), the Kings' lead personnel man opened up a bit about what Sacramento needs going forward.

I think we need another creator, ballhandler. We need some more leadership on the court, either by the form of maturity or addition to the roster. Certainly we need to try to improve our three-point shooting, which fell off from a year ago. ... We'll have to look to fill out our roster with another frontcourt player of some kind.

In order of mention:

1. Another creator/ball-handler.

2. More leadership.

3. Three-point shooting.

4. "Fill out for roster with another frontcourt player."

What's that mean?

1. Another creator/ball-handler.

The Kings' backcourt for next season is Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih. Marcus Thornton is a restricted free agent that Sacramento seems almost certain to re-sign. The club has a small team option on Pooh Jeter. "Another creator/ball-handler" can mean an upgrade on Pooh, an upgrade on Beno or a new starting point guard.

Remember: Paul Westphal did go with an Evans/Thornton backcourt at times. If that were the plan, you wouldn't need "another" creator or ball-handler, because you have Beno, and Petrie expressed contentment with Beno elsewhere in the Q&A. That tells me that Evans/Thornton isn't Petrie's starting backcourt. He'd either prefer Evans at small forward or Thornton as the sixth man. If Evans is the small forward, "another creator" could mean an upgrade on either Pooh or Beno -- an upgrade on Beno would effectively make Beno the new Pooh, which would be an upgrade on Pooh.

So Petrie wants a new point guard. Maybe a bench point guard, but maybe a starting point guard.

2. More leadership.

The Kings have one real veteran leader: Francisco Garcia. Samuel Dalembert is in the mix there, but listing leadership as a target tells me the team won't be afraid to go after an older player in free agency or trades. I don't often consider players older than 28 to be eligible to be in the Kings' blueprint. Petrie's indicating that he might feel differently.

3. Three-point shooting.

This is a no-brainer, and -- under our discussion in point No. 1 -- could fit under the point guard "creator" spot or the small forward opening. It's good to see three-point shooting will be a priority.

4. "Another frontcourt player."

This is maybe the most interesting line for me. Of course, reading into Petrie too literally is dangerous -- he's not reading his blueprint in public in May. BUT ...

In saying that the team needs to add "another frontcourt player" to "fill out the roster" -- that looks like an assumption Dalembert will be back, which I had considered a bit of a leap. Sam will be one of the top center free agents, but there will be at least one and probably two younger, better options on the market: Marc Gasol and Nene. Gasol will be a restricted free agent, and Nene has a player option for $11.6 million. They will cost a pretty penny. But each is, again, better and younger than Sam. Petrie wouldn't show his hand if he were hoping to chase them, but I'm under the belief they are worth chasing a bit, especially if the team manages to land a top-2 pick and can address either point guard (Kyrie Irving) or small forward (Derrick Williams) there. (Actually, the "another creator" spot can be filled no matter where the Kings pick. Someone like Kemba Walker and Brandon Walker should be available at No. 5.)

But the way Petrie's quote reads: he's looking to replace Darnell Jackson (who could be a restricted free agent, if the Kings extend a small qualifying offer -- which they might, because it's not tying up much salary). Petrie obviously likes the three-man big rotation of Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson. And I don't blame him; it's the best big rotation the Kings have had since 2004. But wouldn't Marc-DeMarcus-JT be even better? Or a Nene-DeMarcus tandem?

We'll see how it shakes out. But it appears now that Dalembert and Thornton will be the immediate free agent priorities, followed by blank-filling in the backcourt and wing.