The final theme day of the offseason for the SB Nation NBA crew is an intriguing topic: if you could add one player from franchise history to the current team, who would it be? For the Kings, I limited it to the Sacramento era: I have trouble 'claiming' Oscar Robertson, Tiny Archibald, Jack Twyman and Maurice Stokes. Once you do that, you're left with a choice.
Do you pick the best player from the past and add him to the mix, or do you look to augment the current team a different way?
Chris Webber is, in my opinion, the greatest Sacramento King. He doesn't seem like a great fit with DeMarcus Cousins, though I might be wrong about that. Mitch Richmond is a close No. 2 (and No. 1 for many). But we have Ben McLemore now, and Mitch already carried the Kings through one tough era. The team wasn't very good when he was the team's best player. Peja Stojakovic can certainly play small forward, but the Kings need defense as badly as they need shooting. And let's face it: with any one of those players in their primes, the team still wouldn't be much more than a contender for a low seed in the playoffs this year.
So I choose Vlade Divac.
He wasn't the best player in Sacramento history, but he was pretty darn good. More important, he was a unifier. I'm not the sentimental type, and I cringe at the word "intangibles." But remember how sour Webber was before he arrives in Sactown and hooked up with Vlade. Remember the rep Jason Williams had. I mean, this was a strange, strange cast of characters. And every single one of them credits Vlade with pulling the squad together and being a leader on the court and off.
Let's not forget that he was also a fine player. He was one of the league's better defensive centers in his prime, and he remains the greatest passing big man ever. (Sorry, Darko.) How good could Cousins be next to Vlade? Remember: Webber was knocking on the MVP's door for a couple seasons there. Webber deserves most of that credit -- he was an incomparable talent -- but Vlade gets some, too. Peja credits Vlade with his meteoric rise. Doug Christie, Mike Bibby, Geoff Petrie, Rick Adelman, Bobby Jackson: they all pointed to Vlade as a huge piece of what turned the Kings from a laughingstock into the envy of every fan base.
Webber, Rock, Peja or even Walt Williams might have gotten the Kings more wins next year. But adding Vlade to this mix would pay dividends for years to come. And so that's who I'd bring back.
More from Sactown Royalty:
- 30Q: Which path with DeMarcus Cousins take?
- Kayte Christensen returns to Kings broadcasts
- A list of people who will definitely not be the third person in the Kings broadcast team
- Kings and News10 Announce Renewed Partnership for 11 Games of 2013-14 Season
- 30Q: Will the focus on defense come to fruition?