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2014-15 End of Season Roundtable Discussion

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Sactown Royalty crew has come together to discuss the season that was, in all its misery and suffering.  We discuss the highlights, lowlights and much more.


Best Moment of the Season (On-Court):

  • This is a tough one given how disappointing this season was.  But for me that early season five-game winning streak was probably the best thing.  I remember when we were 4-1 heading into Phoenix I felt more invested in the team than I had in years.  The games felt like they mattered once more.  I saw Interstellar that night, and yet there I was, that guy in the movie theater constantly checking his cell phone to see the score updates.  After the movie I rushed home to watch the recorded version of the game.  The Kings were 5-1 and I felt rejuvenated as a fan. - Akis
  • Yeah, definitely the first 15 games of the season. Omri fixing Cousins' head band and getting the no-look fist bump in return, Cuz protecting Malone from getting tossed, the team showing desire at the defensive end of the floor. I was all but ready to mea culpa on my annual prediction of a 33-49 record. - section214
  • Definitely DeMarcus early in the year holding back Mike Malone. It was great to see DeMarcus Cousins flipping the script and having his coach's back after all the narratives stating otherwise. You could tell that it was going to be the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship... - Bradley
  • Omri Casspi fixing Boogie's headband. From that day forward, Bromri Casspi was born, setting the standard for bros everywhere. But seriously, I think the fact that the team never quit on each other despite the entire season's worth of hell is something commendable on its own. That moment showed the type of camaraderie these guys genuinely have with each other and still do to this day. - Omer
  • Something old and new: DeMarcus Cousins holding Michael Malone back from getting a technical foul and George Karl getting a technical foul on Cousins' behalf later in the year. Both of these moments make for interesting bookends for this confusing season. They are also a reminder of Cousins' goal of getting five technical fouls this season. He finished with 14...still an improvement! - Blake
  • I could pick one of the early November games when times were good, but instead I'll pick the February 8th contest against the Suns in which the bouncing buzzer beater from DeMarcus Cousins handed the Kings a much, much needed victory. Sure, they'd let Phoenix come back from 14-down in the 4th quarter, but considering how Cousins went off to the media after the WIN (it was the "How you gonna stop God's plan?" game) I'm very glad that shot went down. Boogie didn't need any more letdowns that month. - Bryant

  • I'll take those first 15 games. That was the best I'd felt as a Kings fan during games in such a long time. I can't pick one play or one moment. It was all so strange and wonderful. - Greg

Best Moment of the Season (Off-Court):

  • The signing of George Karl.  It came too late to make a difference, but Karl has Hall of Fame credentials and is the most established coach the Kings have ever hired aside from Rick Adelman.  I don't like the process that got us here, but I have a lot of faith in George Karl's ability to coach and transform bad teams into good ones. - Akis
  • Shovels in the ground! As a native Sacramentan, the building of the downtown arena is highly emotional for me. I only wish that Tower Records was here to see this (sniffle). - section214
  • Bringing back Vlade Divac. As much news that has focused on alleged negatives, I for one am thrilled to have Vlade back with the organization. It just feels right having the big fella there, whether on the court or in the front office. - Bradley
  • George Karl's hiring. Two months in Corbin's Dungeon was really wearing thin on the players and fans alike. I still remember that weekend like it was yesterday, constantly refreshing my Twitter feed to see any new developments. That weekend actually was almost as up-and-down as the season itself with all of the rumors, Cousins' name getting involved, etc. But coming out of it with the prize of a Hall of Fame coach makes it just another ugly footnote. - Omer
  • All of the progress made on the downtown arena (including the groundbreaking ceremony). It has gone from this in August.

    To this in April:

    Oh, and Peja Stojakovic's jersey retirement. It was great for the fans and he was having a fun time with Vlade Divac, Scot Pollard and the rest of the guys that night. - Blake

  • George Karl's hiring. I'm not one to overly fault the Kings front office for originally hoping they could wait until the offseason to conduct a full coaching search, but when the team reached Defcon 1 as quickly as they did, it was time to make the correct move immediately. Here's hoping the end of the season, no matter how messy it was, ends up being the launching point Karl needs to turn this team around.  - Bryant

  • Boogie being selected as an All-Star. I was incredibly proud of that selection. We've had our ups and downs with DeMarcus, but he's earned that selection and it was a nice bright spot during a really bad part of the year. - Greg

Biggest Surprise:

  • The easy answer is Michael Malone's firing but given that that is going to be my answer for biggest disappointment, I'll go with Ben McLemore's improvement.  During his rookie year, Ben McLemore didn't look a whole lot like an NBA player.  He couldn't buy a shot to save his life, couldn't dribble, and his defense was laughable.  He took a big leap this season, increasing his shooting efficiency by a significant amount, attacking the basket more and also playing some excellent defense at times.  He's still a work in progress but the amount of improvement he was able to show over the course of one summer was good to see and I look forward to seeing him make another leap in his third year. - Akis
  • The Malone firing. I mean, are you kidding me? 9-6 after fifteen games, and 11-13 in spite of missing Cousins for nine games. If George Karl had been immediately hired, I could have at least seen some justification in the move. But handing the reins to Ty Corbin? Seriously? - section214
  • Omri Casspi by far. I was happy to bring him back for the fact that I was always a fan of his, but outside of a couple months where he was clearly hurt, I loved everything I saw from him this year. The guy is all effort, and, while it may sometimes lead to boneheaded plays, I have a hard time getting mad at a guy who will go to battle for his team every night. - Bradley
  • Has to be Michael Malone's firing. There's really no other answer for this question. Team was 9-6 in November and Boogie was dealing with an illness, but the team was still 11-13 and there was still hope of the team regrouping once Boogie came back. Unfortunately the front office tried to fix an oil leak by tearing off the plane's wing mid-flight, sending the entire season into a tailspin. Still remains one of the most baffling front office moves I've ever seen. - Omer
  • Michael Malone getting fired, of course, but also Omri Casspi. The news of the Casspi signing over the offseason was met with a collective "ho-hum" from most Kings fans. But the six-year veteran, when healthy, served as the best player off the bench early in the season and toward the end of the year, with Cousins, Rudy Gay and Darren Collison all out because of injuries, he looked like the best player on the team. Casspi seems like a good locker room guy and enjoys being in Sacramento, so it will be interesting to see what kind of offer he gets from the Kings or any other suitor this summer. - Blake
  • Malone's firing. When I first saw the news in the early hours of December 15th, I swore I was still asleep. The impact on the players combined with the aftershocks throughout the Kings front office will almost certainly be the lasting image for this season when we look back on it in 20 years. As Akis put it, it should go down as one of the most disappointing and inexplicable decisions in the organization's history, regardless of how the George Karl era ends up. - Bryant
  • Darren Collison. He walked into a lose-lose situation and won. He surpassed even the most optimistic expectations, and proved to be a valuable player for the Kings going forward. - Greg

Biggest Disappointment:

  • The firing of Michael Malone was not only the biggest disappointment of this season, it might just be one of the most disappointing and inexplicable decisions in Kings history.  Malone had this team playing well, with a much improved defense and good team chemistry.  The players both loved and respected him and it was paying dividends on the court as well.  Sacramento's 9-5 start didn't seem like a fluke.  Then came Boogie's freak illness and the Kings unsurprisingly went into a tailspin, culminating in Malone's firing before Cousins came back.  The front office vastly overestimated the pull they had with the players and underestimated Malone's influence.  The decision completely derailed a once promising season and possibly set the Kings back even further in their quest for relevance.  Only time will tell. - Akis
  • The front office is a tire fire. The "two steps ahead" gang let Isaiah Thomas get away for nothing, fired a coach that had his team playing at level in excess of its talent, and seemingly had the organizational flow chart of a black hole. The level of ineptitude and arrogance that was on display was incredibly disheartening, and it remains the single largest concern for me as this team continues to search for a playoff hunt. - section214
  • Ramon Sessions was a huge disappointment. I was absolutely thrilled that we signed him. It was a great signing at the time, but some time between last season and this one the game of basketball became foreign to Ramon Sessions, and this new version that insisted on missing floaters, layups, jumpers, and all of the in between was born. - Bradley
  • I'm going to be unconventional and say Ray McCallum. With Ramon Sessions sucking like a vacuum cleaner as the de facto veteran backup point guard, Ray Mac didn't exactly blow down the doors when he got minutes. He was coming off of a very productive Summer League, winning Finals MVP. Yet still, I can't honestly say he was that much better than he was last year. His three point shooting disappointingly regressed, which is a must if you're going to be playing PG with DeMarcus Cousins. I want to see Ray Mac take steps to be better, I hope he hasn't peaked already as a player. - Omer
  • Ramon Sessions - the guy looked good in the preseason, but then the real games began and he turned into the 2014-15 version of Luther Head. - Blake
  • Instead of rambling about Malone some more, I'll go with Nik Stauskas' rookie season. While Stauskas was a massive surprise for this draft fan (remember, I was the one who wrote "I don't think the Kings would draft him at 8" in my draft profile last year - my services for jinxing the 2015 draft are available!), I expected the rookie to be far more NBA ready than he was. It's still too early to give up on Nik, and he did show some signs of development late in the season, but it was a dismal year all around for the rookie. He gets bonus points for embracing Sause Castillo, though. - Bryant
  • The Malone firing. Not sure how much more there is to say about it. - Greg

Best Game of the Season:

  • For me the best game of the season came very early when the Kings were in Los Angeles to take on the Clippers.  This is a game I didn't expect us to win and yet we did.  The longer the game went on and the more it appeared that Sacramento had a chance, the more I wanted us to win.  DeMarcus Cousins was going berserk and seemingly announcing his intentions to dominate the NBA and I loved it.  The early season is always full of such optimism and this win was seemingly propelling us to greater things. - Akis
  • Agreed with Akis - the 11/2 Kings-Clips game, with the 114-112 overtime win at Phoenix 11/7 a close second. - section214
  • The first StR night this year was quite great against the Spurs. It was before we knew what was to come, but it felt great to beat the Spurs at full strength, and, more importantly, hang on in the end of a close game against a team that has been great at closing games out for almost two decades. - Bradley
  • Seems like all of the happiest memories from this season are from November, but I really enjoyed the double overtime victory against Phoenix on the road in Game 6 of the season. Boogie fouled out in the first overtime on an atrocious call, but in the second OT, Ben McLemore came up huge with a clutch driving floater that he would never have been able to do last year and followed that up with a
    cold-blooded three pointer that set up Rudy Gay's go-ahead basket on the next play. There was so much going on in that game, like Isaiah Thomas' first showdown against his old teammates. That game gave the Kings a 5-1 record, easily their best start in a decade, and stamped them as the NBA's darlings. Alas, those were better days. - Omer
  • It was just another meaningless game among many this season, and it was even during the Tyrone Corbin era. Nearly a month after the firing of Michael Malone and with the season going south quickly, the Kings put on a show for the home crowd on Jan. 7, dismantling the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-83 with the type of play that got them off to the hot start in November - getting to the free throw line, playing tough defense and scoring in transition. The crowd was in to it, the players enjoyed themselves and for a moment everyone in the building forgot about the off-court drama. This also happened in the same evening, so there's that. - Blake
  • The double-overtime win against the Suns that gave the Kings a 5-1 record. Surviving without Boogie for most of the two overtimes, clutch plays by McLemore and McCallum, and finally Rudy's late heroics - that was the game where I truly believed the Kings were going to have a surprisingly good season. Of course, just six games later, that all tanked.  - Bryant
  • I'm already blocking most of the year from my memory, but I had a lot of fun watching that last game full of scrubs. - Greg

Favorite In-Game Play of the Season:

  • Boogie's game winner against the Suns.  How you gonna stop God's plan? - Akis
  • I'm going to get taken to the woodshed for this one, but Klay Thompson's 3rd quarter at Golden State on 1/23. 37 points in the quarter, not missing any of his thirteen shots. I went from being angry to laughing my arse off to admiration as the quarter unfolded, and envied the Dubs fans that were in attendance that night - what euphoria Thompson provided for the Oracle faithful. - section214
  • Seeing as I was there, and saw it live, plus the enduring love I have for Jason Ross's radio call of it, I have to go with Boogie over Jae Crowder. Derrick Williams and Rudy probably had better dunk, but being there for a game that was overall just a fun time (also George Karl's debut).  - Bradley
  • Boogie's furious dunk over Plumlee. I felt like in one play, Cousins took all of the frustrations from the front office, from constantly being overlooked, from Plumlee threatening his place on Team U.S.A. I must have watched this dunk fifty times. You just don't see anybody playing with this kind of power anymore. - Omer
  • DeMarcus Cousins had some amazing plays this season (the most impressive in my opinion came not with dunks, but when he would split triple teams with ease). However, I am going to go with Rudy Gay's Dec. 16 dunk on Serge Ibaka. Gay and the Thunder (mainly Kendrick Perkins) had had some trash-talking going on prior to this game. I was standing near the end of the player tunnel as Gay drove to the basket for this dunk. After he threw it down, he screamed into the crowd and the energy was amazing from the fans in response. Gay doesn't show a ton of emotion on the floor, but he was feeling it after that dunk over one of the game's best shot blockers. - Blake
  • I think in 20 years time, the only play I'll remember from this year was Boogie's game winner, so I'll agree with Akis. Bounce, bounce, bounce, BOOM - clutch Boogie. - Bryant
  • Boogie going coast to coast and then destroying Jae Crowder. - Greg

Player of the Year:

  • DeMarcus Cousins takes the cake no doubt.  He made the first of what is likely going to be many All-Star games this year and he also might end up making an All-NBA team before all is said and done.  He showcased a major defensive improvement, particularly early on in the season, and for the first time made his team better on both ends of the court.  Under Karl he showed the potential of what he could do offensively in his system, achieving back to back triple doubles.  In fact, he became the only person in NBA history aside from Kevin Garnett to average 20 points and have a Total Rebound and Assist Rate of over 20%.  One can't help but think that things might have gone much differently if Cousins hadn't fell ill around Thanksgiving.  It's not his fault, but it goes to show just how important he is to this team. - Akis
  • Well, seeing as how Bhullar is no longer on the roster...Yeah, it's Cousins by a wide, wide margin. For the second straight season, Cousins exceeded my friskiest of expectations. And I can't help but imagine how much better he might have been had he not been stricken early in the season with viral meningitis, and stricken throughout the season by the league's worst front office (for 2014-15, at the very least). - section214
  • It's hard to give it to anyone but Boogie. Boogie is to the point where he is just a scarily good basketball player. There are few pieces I would drop him for, and I hope (and feel) that we have many good years left with him. Boogie is the type of player that, despite our record, could win a game for us any night if everything is going right. Sure, there are some turnover issues and the occasional forced shot, but, If he isn't the hardest player to guard in the NBA, he is up there. I absolutely loved Boogie this year, and will for many years to come. - Bradley
  • Easily Derrick Willia... just kidding, its DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings relied on him more than ever before, and he responded with career highs across the board. But, more importantly, Boogie's become a legitimate defensive anchor, which is crucial for him as a building piece because its so hard to build around a defensively deficient center. I struggle to name ten players in the NBA I'd rather have than him. Here's to hoping the Kings put a quality team around him before he moves on to greener pastures. - Omer
  • As everyone knows, Boogie was a beast this season. - Blake
  • Poor DeMarcus. He both produced AND put up with so much this season - he earned his first of hopefully many All-Star appearances, and continued to show significant improvement in nearly every facet of his game. Here's hoping he can replicate that performance next year, albeit with significantly more assistance from his teammates.  - Bryant
  • Boogie. There's no debate. - Greg
Feel free to share your own contributions to the topics we discussed in the comments below!