Pete Chilcutt "laces ‘em up" prior to a Sacramento Kings game, circa 1993.
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Greg Kite was the poor man's Joe Kleine. Chew on that for a minute.
section214: I've mentioned this before, but my dad used to say, "Son, you can either strive to be the best that you can be, or just surround yourself with people that make you look better by comparison." This theory is proven at number 32, where Francisco Garcia "bests" such "competition" as Johnny Rogers (one of the few Kings that I do not remember at all), Greg Kite, Jawann Oldham, Tony Dawson and Mike Higgins (these two logged a combined 11 games for the Kings in 90-91), Pete Chilcutt, Kevin Salvadori, and Rodney Buford. Well played, Cisco. Well played, indeed.
Greg Kite came to the Kings in a trade for Joe Kleine. Kite went from being 1st round washout for the Celtics to gritty bench player for the Kings, while Kleine went from being 1st round washout for the Kings to gritty bench player for the Celtics. Circle of life.
Pete Chilcutt was "soffffffft" a decade before Kevin Martin became a King, but Chilly married a Kings cheerleader, so he probably could give a flying fig that we were not enamored of his perimeter ways.
Kevin Salvadori played 39 games over a 2-year career, all for the Kings. He averaged 6 minutes, 1.1 points and 1.2 rebounds per game. He was the human victory cigar for a team that went 61-103. Hail to the "v!"
Aykis: Nine players have worn the #32 but Francisco Garcia has been the best of them, by far. This probably speaks more to the awfulness of everyone else that has worn the number than the merits of Cisco himself.
Francisco is currently the longest tenured King, and our team captain for the last couple years. The young guys like him, and credit him as a great veteran presence, on and off the court. Unfortunately, a lot of that has been off the court due to various injuries he's suffered throughout the years.
Cisco can be both awesome and infuriating at the same time. He'll make a huge shot one play, then turn it over the next by trying to do too much. On defense he'll make a spectacular block or steal, only to pull up from 25 feet with 20 seconds left on the shot and miss in a close game.
Speaking of blocks, Cisco is unnaturally good at getting them for a 6'7, sub-200 lb guard-forward. In fact, he ranks 8th All-Time in the Sacramento-era for blocks, and only 6 more needed to overtake Wayman Tisdale for 7th. Unofficially of course, he also is 2nd to Mitch Richmond in three pointers taken with his toe on the line.
In addition to playing center for the Kings, Mikki Moore was also a huge San Francisco Giants fan.
betweentheeyes: Brian Grant. The musketeer from Xavier was a surprise pick and was a player you had to root for. He played gritty and hard and worked himself into a very effective ball player. He got his money and his fame with the dreadlocks, but he got his start in Sacramento.
Aykis: Brian Grant was Geoff Petrie's 1st Sacramento draft pick and he was a good one. He could score, rebound, and block shots. Unfortunately a promising career was derailed by a big time injury in his third and final year in Sacramento. He still went on to have a solid career even though injuries cut it short. Grant recently came out about having Parkinson's disease. I had a great aunt who had Parkinson's disease and it is not an easy thing to live with. Thoughts and prayers with him and his family, and hopefully a cure will be found in his lifetime as more and more people become aware of it.
The only reason I remember Michael Bradley is that he was in both the trade that sent Doug Christie and Chris Webber out of Sacramento. Michael Bradley was the Harbinger of Doom I guess.
Mikki Moore was brought in to shore up our frontline. I had trouble writing that with a straight face. Moore made his money from playing with Jason Kidd. In his one full year here, his numbers actually weren't far off from his time in New Jersey, which kind of surprises me. I seem to recall him as being worse than his numbers here indicate, but I think this comes from me remembering the bad times of 2008-09.
Now we have a new #33 in Hassan Whiteside. His presence on the team means no further additions are needed. We're set.
section: This was a tough decision for me. Thorpe averaged 19 and 10 over his best two seasons with the Kings, but he would drive me crazy, putting up an animal-style double double one night, and following it up with 5 and 3 the next. Grant was more consistent, but Thorpe was probably a hair better overall. Grant was the first "big one" to get away during the Petrie era, as he fled for Portland upon the expiration of his 3-year (rookie) contract with the Kings. In retrospect, the Kings were smart not tie themselves to the 7 year, $56m deal that he ultimately signed with the Blazers.
Jim Les was the Kings first real 3-point threat. Remember, the 3-ponter did not really come into vogue until the early 90's, and Les shot almost 42% from beyond the arc during his four year stay in Sacramento. He was a little too small and too slow to log big minutes, but as a distance shooting marksman, he really introduced the beauty of the 3-ball to Kings fans.
Mikki Moore is the poster child for the Kings slide down the mountain side. A player of Moore's talent would have been seen as a nice bench addition for the golden years Kings, but as a sometime starter for a team trying to cling to NBA relevance, he was nothing more than an overpaid journeyman, and one with arguably the worst hands ever seen on someone not named Kwame Brown. I loathe Mikki Moore not for the player that he was, but for the time that his presence represents.
Pictured above - Heart, soul, dignity, professionalism, talent, humility, intelligence, work ethic and class.
section: Corliss Williamson is one of my top five favorite all time Kings, joining Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber, Bobby Jackson, and a certain individual whose number comes right after this one. As I wrote in episode no. 4 of this series, "As I've noted before, Williamson was the first Sacramento Kings draft choice to profess enthusiasm over the prospect of coming to Sacramento, which was a much bigger thing back in the day than it is even today. The Big Nasty was also up to taking the shot with the game. Prior to his arrival, no Kings draft pick wanted the role of taking the big shot when all five opponents were covering Richmond. Not Brain Grant, not Walt Williams, not anyone. Corliss was up to the task. And he netted us Doug Christie in trade, and he went on to win 6th man of the year for a world champion Detroit team, and he came back to us (under another number) and was a pro's pro. Love me some Corliss Williamson."
Michael "The Animal" Smith was one of the first cult heroes here in Sacramento. Smith was a 2nd round pick in 1994, selected after Brian Grant but before Lawrence Funderburke. In his third season he averaged 9.5 boards a game, and had proven himself to be a player that could not be intimidated. Alas, the Animal also shot under 47% from the during his time in Sacramento, and Kings fans got to the point where they would stand and scream and attempt to will his free throws into the basket (or at least towards the rim), with ARCO rocking with delight on those rare occasions where his shot found the inside of the net.
Tony Massenburg ranks with Jason Hart as my least favorite Kings of all time. Here's a guy making seven figures at the tail end of his career, and he pisses and moans about the minutes that he's not getting on a championship contending team. Masshole.
Ricky Berry's death was really the first time that the sports fantasy that was Sacramento Kings basketball and the harsh reality that is life intersected. A lot of the innocence that went along with being a Kings fan back then was lost the day that Berry killed himself. Much more tragically, the life of a seemingly nice person ended. StR member RapnRodney put it best: "I was fortunate to live next door to Ricky when he moved to Sacto. Although it was brief it was a memorable time. I was in college and in my early 20's. My parent's house in Carmichael was next door to where Ricky and his wife lived. I remember when I was in the backyard and he leaned over the fence (he was quite tall of course) and asked if he could borrower the paper. Of course I ran in the house and got it like it little kid. His wife was very sweet and they both were VERY shy. I remember going to their house for a BBQ (they didn't seem to have many friends around). Ricky was playing video games (most kids didn't do that back then). and his wife was cooking. We swam in the pool and Ricky would go to the deep end and do a handstand and his feet would be out of the water. It was a nice trick. I was shocked when I heard the news. My Mom was bombarded by reporters when she arrived home, not knowing what happened. The tragedy to me is that the weekend before he took his life, I was with him and his wife and nothing seemed to be amiss. Any quirky behavior I noticed was written off as shyness or being uncomfortable in their new surroundings. I will always cherish the few fond memories of Ricky and his wife, cuz that is all I have. R.I.P. Ricky."
Aykis: Ricky Berry was the first to wear the number back in 1989. He had a decent rookie year, particularly from the three point line, where he finished 7th in the league in accuracy. Unfortunately that promising start became perhaps the biggest tragedy in the Sacramento-era as he took his own life the following summer.
Michael "The Animal" Smith was the original Jon Brockman, always hustling, a good rebounder (particularly on the offensive glass) and a decent defender as well. You can't ask for much more from a 2nd round pick.
We already talked a little bit about Corliss since he also wore the #4, but he spent most of his time in the #34. He came back to Sacramento in the Webber trade and he was a class act the entire time as a bench veteran. If we could have a guy like Corliss on the bench right now I think our team would be better off for it.
Jason Thompson's chapter in Sacramento history is still being written. JT was by far the biggest surprise of the 2008 draft (Check out 2008's StR Draft thread if you want a laugh), but I think it's worked out well. Jason is never going to be an All-Star, but as a rotation big he's valuable. He can rebound, pass and shoot. His defense has also improved since he's come into the league. With the acquisition of J.J. Hickson this summer, it'll be up to him to solidify his spot on the team, because I'm not sure the Kings plan on keeping both after this year, especially if they sign another big man this summer.
bte: Amber shades and a load of man - Antoine Carr. Past his prime with the Kings but gets my vote over the Kings first Sacramento draft choice.
Aykis: Antoine Carr came to the Kings in a trade for Kenny Smith, and while he was here he was very productive, arguably the best player on the team. He was kind of like Carl Landry, a very talented scoring forward, but a pretty bad rebounder. He was a much better passer and defender than Carl is though. For some reason the Kings traded him for Dwayne Schintzius. I don't know the details as to why, but just looking at the numbers? One of the worst trades I've ever seen.
I'll leave Joe Kleine to section.
section: Yeah, Carr was the best player at this position. But the folks in section 215 never created a drinking game around Antoine Carr. And Joe Kleine is the only Sacramento King that I met on numerous occasions, as we both worked out at Carmichael Athletic Club (it was always fun adjusting the equipment back to normal proportions after Joe used it). And Kleine was just a great, great guy. He was dealt a bad hand, as he would have been warmly received as a non-lottery pick that provided toughness off the bench. But as the 6th pick in Sacramento's first draft, he became known as NaKarlMalone. He did his best with what he had, but it wasn't enough. That said, he always understood and accepted his lot, never made excuses, never shut himself off. A true pro, and a helluva nice guy, which is why he is (other than The Simpson's Mr. Teeny) the only avatar that I have ever had here at StR.
Aykis: Thanks for reading. Join us this Friday for our Blue Plate Special: All-you-can-eat Mancakes.