It's been part of the territory since really 2006 to watch the losses pile up when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. Though things will likely turn around over the next few seasons, it's been a tough pill to swallow for fans and players; especially players who have been a part of those teams for extended periods of time.
There is no better example than Jason Thompson right now, who has been with the franchise for six seasons. We pointed out last season how Thompson's frustrations with the situation are warranted and the fact that he has had some 60 different teammates and five different coaches in Sacramento. So it will be a good thing when the 6'11'' power forward moves on to another team, which, in my opinion, is only a matter of time.
It would be nice if the longest-tenured King had at least a few fond memories of winning since he got here, but he doesn't. All of the losing (the Kings have a 144-332 record over Thompson's six seasons) sounds like it has made him lose his love for the game. News 10 interviewed the big man at his JT Elite Basketball Skills Camp in Rocklin this week.
"It's tough, in every level I have been in, you win, you're successful and not to have that same type of feeling after year six, it's tough. So when I get back to just having love for the game man and just love doing what I do, then everything else will come into place," Thompson said.
While he could maybe be more professional about not airing his grievances with the situation through the media, it is somewhat refreshing that he his honest about it.
"It's one thing to smile and kind of fib about enjoying it. Obviously, this is great man, and when I was a little kid growing up I wanted to be in the NBA and that's all great and dandy, but then eventually, when you are getting paid to do something you love man, and it's intense, you want to win," Thompson told News 10.
Now, let's not throw too big of a pity party for Thompson because he has his faults: the lapses on defense, the inconsistency on offense and the complaining to the refs (something he is pretty unapologetic about when asked). Those are all things that he can't blame on losing, but they are things that can make a team lose.
A few years back, I spoke to Thompson's college coach at Rider University, Tommy Dempsey. Dempsey said that Thompson needed to add more consistency as a shooter and in his face-up game. On a nightly basis, he needed something to hang his hat on, the coach said. But that still hasn't really happened and it may have impacted how high Thompson's ceiling is. Playing alongside DeMarcus Cousins hasn't exactly been beneficial for him though, considering Cousins needs space to create down low and Thompson isn't, by any means, what you would call a stretch four.
Thompson visited the Sacramento Sports Annex Podcast on Wednesday and said he was a "good force in this league" early in his career, but after all of the player and coaching changes started happening with the team, it made it difficult for the Kings and him as a player to succeed. But he is ready to take his game to the next level and believes he has a lot left.
"I still think the sky is the limit for me, I still have more potential in me and years in my prime, so if it's still going to be with Sac or if it's going to be with someone else, people will be able to see it," Thompson told the guys at the Sports Annex.
He does hustle and he can rebound, which is always valuable around the league. Much like Isaiah Thomas, Thompson also has repeatedly been able to beat out players who have tried to run off with his starting position. He admits that his heart is in Sacramento and to his credit, he has been active in the community with things such as his skills camp.
So while this is a call for the Kings to trade Thompson (we pretty much already know they plan to if they can - they tried last season, after all), it is more of a hope that he lands in a good spot and is part of a deal that makes him and the Kings better in the long run. His contract, which is worth around $19 million over the next three seasons, will make things a little difficult, but there are teams with title aspirations that could use the services of a rotation power forward like Thompson. The Los Angeles Clippers, for example, could be one of those teams considering they are in need of someone to back up Blake Griffin, especially if Glen Davis doesn't re-sign.
With so many power forwards currently on the Kings roster, Thompson knows something has to give.
"Not unless one of us is going to play the three and I'm not trying to do that," Thompson jokingly told News 10. "If I was a betting man, I'd say that there's only a few people on less than one hand that probably is on the Kings next year."
Thompson is hosting another basketball camp for kids from first to 12th grade in August. More information can be found here.