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Royal Reading: Steve Nash reflects on playing against the 01-02 Kings

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The two-time NBA MVP recalled what it was like to play against the loaded Sac Town squad.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

There is no debate that the 2001-02 Sacramento Kings are the best team in franchise history.

Led by Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic and Vlade Divac, the Kings finished atop the NBA standings with a 61-21 record.

That squad is revered for how they played the game. The Kings style on the offensive end made them a can’t miss draw in the NBA. Head coach Rick Adelman put in a Read and React Offense which utilized the passing skills of big men Webber and Divac from the high post.

Former King Scot Pollard reflected on how much he enjoyed being a part of that squad.

“No team that I have ever been on, or even heard of had more fun beating the sh!t out of everyone in the league than we did. We knew it. We called it, “The King Show.”

Sacramento made the Western Conference finals that season, beating Steve Nash and the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the second round.

Nash joined Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on the “All the Smoke” podcast and recalled what it was like playing against the 01-02 Kings.

“The passing of Vlade and C-Webb was unbelievable for two big guys,” Nash said. ”It allowed them to play the game in a way that was so rare and so difficult to defend. That ball just moved and guys would space the floor ... “Peja {Stojaković) obviously was maybe their best player at different times during that run, and Christie was almost impossible to figure out.”

The two-time NBA MVP also mentioned how loud the fans were at Arco Arena, where the Kings went 36-5 that season.

Sacramento ranked second in points per game, third in offensive rating and sixth in defensive rating, per basketball reference.

The 01-02 Kings were ahead of their time. The game has changed and basically the entire NBA runs a system where sharing the ball is the focal point of the offense, as opposed to the isolation heavy schemes we saw in the early part of the century.

Questionable officiating cost that squad a championship. The infamous Game 6 loss where the refs gave the Los Angeles Lakers 27 free throws in the fourth quarter alone will go down as the worst officiated game in NBA history. Former NBA ref Tim Donaghy said the NBA instructed officials to extend the series to seven games, because it was in the league’s interest. It is an allegation former NBA commissioner David Stern has denied.

It is good to see this team is still remembered for all of its accomplishments.

What is your favorite memory from the 01-02 season?


Onto some more links:

The Kings have Alex Len, Harry Giles and Richaun Holmes splitting minutes at the center spot. With Len and Giles being free agents after the season, Sacramento may look at adding another big man going into next year. Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports says Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen may not be an ideal fit on the Kings.

The Kings took to Twitter to ask fans to share some of their favorite memorabilia. Fans responded with everything from bobble heads to kicks. Check out some of the responses on the Kings website.

Buddy Hield has been a popular choice for hypothetical trades Sacramento can make to upgrade its roster. Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report proposed an interesting deal with the New York Knicks that would see the Kings get a young big man in exchange for Hield.