It's time once again for our annual series "30Q" in which we answer 30 questions over the course of September as we get ready for the upcoming season.
Every year we go into a new Kings season with high hopes and expectations that this is the year that things finally turn around for the franchise, and every year, almost like clockwork, something goes terribly wrong that leaves us with a sour taste in our mouth by the time the season is over.
The last time that Kings fans likely felt genuinely good about a season was probably after Tyreke Evans’ rookie year. It looked like we had a new young star to build around and it could only get better from there. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be the case.
So that brings us to this upcoming season. The team will be playing in a new building, with a lot of new faces on the team after yet another summer of change. Dave Joerger’s in charge now, and right now he’s saying all the right things. But we’ve been promised the world before, and I’d say after almost a decade of losing, Kings fans are a bit more wary now.
So what’s it going to take to leave me feeling good about the team come April? A trip to the playoffs wouldn’t hurt, although that’s still incredibly unlikely (even Joerger isn’t promising that). While I don’t necessarily believe that getting to the playoffs just to get to the playoffs is a worthy goal in and of itself, it is the goal that this team has seemingly set for itself for the last few years, so for once it’d be nice to actually see the team at least get close.
Development from the young guys would be nice as well. Willie Cauley-Stein had a solid rookie season last year even though he wasn’t totally on board with George Karl’s coaching style. The Kings added even more youth this year with at least three rookies probably making the final opening night roster. If just one of them can show some potential to be a contributor down the road, that’s a win. Heck, if Joerger can somehow manage to finally harness some of Ben McLemore’s potential, that’d be nice. He won’t have to be proving himself as a starter anymore either as the Kings brought in Arron Afflalo.
Most of all though, I think Kings fans simply want to avoid drama. Every year it’s one thing or another, usually centered around DeMarcus Cousins. Last year it was Cousins and Karl, the year before it was Cousins and the Front Office after they fired Malone. That desire to avoid drama is one of (but not the only) the reasons that many Kings fans were extremely put off by the additions of guys like Matt Barnes and Ty Lawson to the roster. Kings fans are tired of seeing their team dragged through the mud in the national media, and the worst part is, most of the time the criticism isn’t unfair. This team has been a mess for a long time now, and it’s about time they started cleaning up their act.
If we can get through a season without any major disasters, and the team improves to boot? That’s not necessarily a cause for celebration, but it’d probably be good enough for me and many others to breathe a sigh of relief and hope that this non-stop rollercoaster ride is starting to even out.