At last, our long wait for Kings basketball to return is over. The 2017-18 NBA season officially kicks off for Sacramento tonight, and with it, the start of a new Sacramento Kings era.
The Kings have once again retooled, not for the first time in the Vivek Ranadivé era. Five rookies have been brought in to go with the four from last season. Veterans with gravitas have been added to bolster the bench. Willie Cauley-Stein is officially the longest tenured King and he hasn’t even reached the last year of his rookie deal yet. The Kings have basically started back from scratch.
This is not unfamiliar territory for Kings fans. We’re used to large overhauls, especially since the end of Sacramento’s run atop the Western Conference in the early 2000s. But this time feels different. The Kings have rarely committed so fully to a rebuilding movement, and probably never like this. Vlade Divac and company have been aggressive in stockpiling youth in the hopes that some might turn out to be future stars.
In De’Aaron Fox, the Kings see a potential superstar Point Guard of the future. He’s incredibly charismatic, unbelievably fast and seems to thrive when the light is brightest.
Then there’s Buddy Hield, the sharpshooter who will always be inextricably linked to the DeMarcus Cousins acquisition. Once the best scorer in all of college basketball, Hield will be given the opportunity to show that he can do it at the NBA level as well.
Skal Labissiere, the soft spoken Haitian big man with an even softer shooting touch, is ready to show the rest of the NBA how big of a mistake they made letting him drop in last year’s draft.
We’ve got Bogdan Bogdanovic as well, who is fresh off competing (and winning) at the highest levels of European basketball. He’s proved himself to be one of the most clutch and savvy players at that level, and now he’ll look to carry over that success at the highest level.
Throw in Willie Cauley-Stein, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, Frank Mason, Malachi Richardson and Georgios Papagiannis and the Kings have one of the most intriguing mixes of youth in the entire NBA. Top it off with some veteran leadership from George Hill, Garrett Temple, Vince Carter, Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos and you have a team that seems to be handling a rebuild the right way.
This Kings team likely won’t be good, but they’ll be fun and intriguing, even in the losses. Hopefully years from now, this is the year we can point back to fondly and remember the first moments of something that became great. It all has to start somewhere, and the Kings at least for the moment, seem to be on the right track.
Have a great season everyone. Go Kings!