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Kings ranked absurdly low in ESPN future rankings

It’s an outrage, I tell ya.

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has conducted it’s annual “future rankings”(Insider), in which each team is ranked on a variety of factors to determine which teams have the brightest futures over the next three seasons. The Sacramento Kings have traditionally finished very low in these rankings, and often for good reason. This year the Kings move up in the rankings from the 30th spot last season, all the way up to...


Now before we grab our pitchforks and storm the walls of Bristol, let’s clarify some methodology. The largest factor is roster talent, accounting for expected departures. The Kings are extremely young and there’s not a lot of guaranteed talent on the roster. I think the Kings were scored too low here (25th overall, tied with Phoenix, ahead of only Chicago, Atlanta and Brooklyn).

The next biggest factors are money, where the Kings scored well, and management, where the Kings did not. Given that just yesterday I was complaining about Vivek’s continued involvement in basketball operations, it’s difficult to argue this part of the assessment.

I also think the Kings got hosed on their rating for market. Market is defined for this ranking as

Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city's desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans

We know Sacramento isn’t South Beach, and we know the team has been bad for a long time. And California taxes don’t lure anyone, but if you start to win they don’t tend to keep free agents away either. I think business and entertainment opportunities shouldn’t be a factor, because LeBron can act in Hollywood movies while playing in Cleveland. You’re either marketable or you aren’t. The Kings have one of the best arenas in the league, and fans who are known to be die-hard supporters. And yet Sacramento was ranked below markets like Orlando, Indiana, Detroit, and Atlanta.

I’m not unrealistic about the current state of the Kings. I don’t expect the Kings to be top 10 in these rankings. I don’t expect the Kings to even be top 20. But placing Sacramento’s future as the second worst in the league is insane.