Last week the guys over at Blazers Edge have been doing a really cool series in which the writers drafted an 8 man team using only players that have played for the Trail Blazers, and more importantly, only factoring in the years they played in Portland. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we are also going to be conducting an All-Time Sacramento Kings draft with 8 of our writers this week. At the end of the week it will be up to you guys to vote on the best overall team.
First, let's set the ground rules.
1. Our GMs are Blake Ellington, Kevin Fippin, Greg Wissinger, Robby Biegler, Bradley Geiser, Adam Beddawi, Bryant West, and me.
2. This draft will go 8 rounds with each GM drafting 8 players as they see fit, trying to make a cohesive team with those players.
3. The draft is snake format, so the person with the first pick in the first round also has the last pick in the second round, etc. The draft order as decided by a list randomizer is Blake, Greg, Kevin, Brad, me, Robby, Adam, and Bryant.
4. You can select any Sacramento Kings player (not Kansas City, Cincinnati, Rochester) and only the player's years in Sacramento will count when judging teams. So for example, Ralph Sampson would be a great pick if you took into account his years prior to Sacramento, but his time in Sacramento was markedly worse.
5. By unanimous agreement among the drafting GMs, Spencer Hawes is disqualified from being drafted.
The draft has already taken place, but we will be revealing two rounds a day from now through Thursday. On Friday we'll hear once more from our GMs as to why you should pick their team as the best and then you will vote. So without further ado, let's start with Round 1!
With the first pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Blake selects Chris Webber.
I am going to go with Chris Webber. It wasn't easy mainly because of the complete player Richmond was. His defense is what really made me hesitate on the Webber pick. But during his Sacramento years, Webber was a nightmare for opposing teams and a stats machine - 27 points, 11 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.7 blocks in 2000-2001, I'll take it. Webber needed the right players around him for it all to work mentally though so I will need to think about that moving forward, especially because my fellow drafters aren't exactly going to let me recreate those 1998-2004 teams.
With the second pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Greg selects Mitch Richmond.
With Webber off the board, it's a no-brainier to select Mitch Richmond. I'm glad Blake had to make the tough choice.
With Richmond I get a complete two-way player to build around. Great defender, gifted passer, ability to creat a shot, a shooting threat to stretch the floor. Hopefully I can give him a better supporting cast than he had during his tenure in Sacramento.
With the third pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Kevin selects Peja Stojakovic.
With Webber and Richmond off the board things get a bit trickier. I could probably get away with going one of a few different directions here but I can't pass up the chance to grab a pure shooter and veritable scoring machine like Peja Stojakavic. In addition to his ability to shoot the leather off the ball, Peja brings great size, underrated court vision/passing, and the ability to rebound at the SF position (ranks 6th all time in Defensive Rebounds).
He's not the two-way player Greg is getting in Mitch Richmond. Nor is he the "Stat Machine" Blake is getting in Webber. But Peja is special in his own right. At 6'10, with one of the more unorthodox releases in the NBA, Peja had the ability to get his shot off over anyone in the NBA. The ever-present danger that Peja might plunge a dagger into their face at any given moment led most defenders to overcompensate when defending him, thus allowing him the ability to cut to the basket with impunity and score on a variety of assisted baskets around the rim.
Bottom line: I need a player I can build around and a three time All-Star and one time MVP candidate (2004) isn't a bad place to start.
With the fourth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Brad selects Ron Artest/Metta World Piece/The Panda's Friend.
With my pick I went with Ron Artest. While Ron may not be part of what we call the glory years, his talents can get lost between crazy name changes and sideshow activities. If we are going by talent alone though, Ron was easily one of the most talented players to put on a Kings uniform. Prime Ron Artest could give you 20 a night, hit a jumper (though certainly not at Peja clips, muscle his way inside, and shut down the other teas best player. If we are talking both sides of the court, Ron may be the most complete non-big man to put on a Sacramento Kings uniform The Ron we got with Adelman even let us from a dire position where playoffs looked hopeless to a playoff berth (that may have gone much better if Ron wasn't randomly suspended). We got some off court issues with him, but if we are drafting on Talent, Number 93 is one of the most complete basketball players we have ever seen put on a Kings uniform.
With the fifth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Akis selects DeMarcus Cousins.
I'm going DeMarcus Cousins. I also considered Reggie Theus, but Cousins in my mind is the only one left that is a potentially franchise level talent that I could build around. Last year in just his 4th season he took a huge leap in terms of production (on both ends of the court), and my goal will be to surround him with veteran players and role models as well as shooters who can take advantage of his post presence and passing. Aside from Webber and Richmond, he may be the most talented player to have played for the Kings, and his best years are likely still ahead of him.
With the sixth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Robby selects Vlade Divac.
I was hoping Cousins would fall to me because I assumed someone would take Vlade. So, even though it's the least sexy pick possible, and even though I'd rather say fuck it and take White Chocolate, Vlade is the right answer and so it will be mine. He was probably more important to those Kings' teams than Webber. In fact the '03-'04 season would argue he was definitely more important to those Kings' teams than Webber. He's one of maybe 2 Kings where you say "forget about the stats" think about everything else. Think about how his electing to come here changed the collective psyche of this team and fan base. Think about how, all the Princeton personnel be damned, that offense can't exist without Divac. Think about how much of a presence he was in Sacramento in the locker room and off the court. Think of the smoking. Think of how those Shaq-Vlade matchups defined those Laker series. Think about how the Maloofs' treatment of him at the end was probably the beginning of the end of goodwill between Maloof and the fan base. But then, think about the stats, and wow, he's one of 6 players, along with Jabbar, Duncan, Shaq, KG and Hakeem, to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, and 1,500 blocked shots (hat tip Wikipedia). And he did that while still being better in the league than just about anyone at making other players better.
Was he a franchise level talent? Probably not. Could you build around him? Shit yeah.
With the seventh pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Adam selects Mike Bibby.
I'm going with Michael Bibby here, although I know we're at the part of the draft where everyone's seriously considering building their team around White Chocolate. Bibby was the most galvanizing player on that 2002 WCF team, stepping up in big moments against the Lakers when it appeared other players weren't up for the task. He's also the franchise leader in assists, third in all time three pointers made and fourth in win shares while enjoying his entire prime in a Kings uniform. With Bibby I have my lead guard, go-to player and we'll never need to worry about being down a nail clipper.
With the eighth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Bryant selects Reggie Theus.
I'm surprised Theus fell to the end of Round 1, honestly. In five seasons with the organization (two in Kansas City, three in Sacramento) he averaged 18.8 points and 8.1 assists a contest on 47.7% shooting. He's fourth all time in Kings assists and 12th in assists, despite only playing those three full years in the City of Sacramento.
He never became a consistent three point shooter so his offensive game may have struggled in the modern day, but there isn't anyone left on the board who I'd feel comfortable building an offense around. His turnover rate is less than I'd like for a top scorer (he sits at 2nd in the Kings history book in turnovers), but his complete offensive skill set is too good to pass up at this point.
With the ninth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Bryant selects Wayman Tisdale.
The best 2nd fiddle you could ask for alongside Theus. Wayman was the face of the franchise in his 5.5 years in Sacramento, averaging 18.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. Tisdale's also arguably the best low post presence left on the board; in Sacramento history, he ranks fifth all time in field goals made and sixth in rebounds.
He was the best player on a bad team, and he'd have been better served if he'd played with a real talented scorer for longer than two years (Mitch Richmond showed up in 1992, while Tinsdale only lasted till 1994). Here I can pair him up with a Theus; as long as I add a consistent shooter later, I'm very happy with my 1-2 offensive punch.
With the tenth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Adam selects Brad Miller.
I'm taking Brad Miller and just surrounding Miller and Bibby with 3&D guys and shotblocking. We're running high pick and rolls and dribble handoffs until the D's head is spinning. And probably giving up as many points as we accrue.
With the eleventh pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Robby selects Jason Williams.
Jason Williams. And I'm already 2/5's of the way to this cover...
That's as far as I'm going to get, of course, and it's the two worst defenders on there, but seriously, are any of us going to end up with a good defensive team? This is the Kings we're talking about.
With the twelfth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Akis selects Doug Christie.
I'm taking Doug Christie so that Brad can't take him and start a defense crazy team. Plus I like the fact that he can handle the ball, defend, spot shoot, and provide veteran leadership. Christie is the all-time leader in steals in Sacramento Kings history, and while he's mostly known for the defense he brought, he was an incredibly versatile player. A lot of people forget how often he actually played Point Guard in Sacramento's lineups, especially with how good Bibby was off the ball.
With the thirteenth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Brad selects Bobby Jackson.
I am having hard time picking between Isaiah and Bobby here, but seeing as he is my favorite King of all time, and I think he had a better over all game, I am going to go with Bobby Jackson. Statistically if you look at it Isaiah has Bobby beat, but Bobby was able to play off the bench welll, obviously, but he could be a starting floor general on a winning team when Bibby went out, and we didn't skip a beat. While Isaiah has the numbers, Bobby's dynamic game, and higher IQ make me side with Bobby.
With the fourteenth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Kevin selects Brian Grant.
Knowing i'll get to pick again soon gives me the ability to go after a player a little earlier than I'd normally like and there are a few positions where the pool is little deeper than others. At this point i'm going to go after a player who give me some toughness, rebounding and defense, as well as the ability to score in the front court.
His career stats won't jump out at you, but an injury shortened 3rd season seemed to derail some of his development and rob him of some of the grace and athleticism we saw from him in his first two seasons in Sacramento. Even still he managed to transform himself into somewhat of a rebounding specialist later in his career.
Also... he's one of my all-time favorite Kings. I'm taking Brian "The General" Grant with my second pick.
With the fifteenth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Greg selects Isaiah Thomas.
There were a couple of directions I could have gone with this pick, but I'm rolling with Isaiah Thomas. I don't think he'd last around the turn, and I'm not willing to risk it. There are several good guys to be my third option still left on the board.
Richmond's defense should more than cover Isaiah's defensive struggles, and Isaiah is immediately the best back court partner Mitch has ever had in Sacramento.
With the sixteenth pick of the Sactown Royalty All-Time Kings Draft, Blake selects Kenny "the Jet" Smith.
With Christie and Panda off the board there isn't a lot of hope for my defense here. I thought about Tyreke Evans for his defense, but what position will he play????? So nah. With Webber pretty much in control of the front court, I figure I better fill out the point and the three. All of the top point guards are off the board but I feel comfortable going with Kenny "The Jet" Smith here. He averaged 15.3 points and 7.1 assists in his two and a half seasons with Sac, to go along with 1.3 steals and 2.5 rebounds. And hey, he also went on to win two titles with the Rockets. Webber was on Inside the NBA with Smith too so that HAS to help ... (Strong consideration to Spud Webb)
Here are the teams so far:
Team Blake: Chris Webber, Kenny Smith
Team Greg: Mitch Richmond, Isaiah Thomas
Team Kevin: Peja Stojakovic, Brian Grant
Team Brad: Ron Artest, Bobby Jackson
Team Akis: DeMarcus Cousins, Doug Christie
Team Robby: Vlade Divac, Jason Williams
Team Adam: Mike Bibby, Brad Miller
Team Bryant: Reggie Theus, Wayman Tisdale
Let us know in the comments what you think of the first couple rounds and what you would have done differently if you were one of the GMs!