New General Manager, Monte McNair, has made some solid additions in his short tenure. He signed Glenn Robinson, Hassan Whiteside, and Frank Kaminsky all to one-year, veteran minimum deals as well as locked down De’Aaron Fox with a max extension. McNair also added talent on draft night, stealing Tyrese Haliburton at the 12th overall pick and selecting Robert Woodard and Jahmi’us Ramsey in the second round. With the roster filled out, the team is, dare I say, deep. So, why is there so much talk about tanking?
Sure, the upcoming draft class is stacked with the likes of Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, and others, but the team may very well have the firepower to make a playoff push.
Hear me out:
The Kings added two quality players in Hassan Whiteside and Glenn Robinson. Whiteside is coming off a season where he averaged 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and led the league in blocks with 2.9 per contest.
Whiteside might slow down the pace for a fast Kings team, but Sacramento still has last year’s starting center, the sprightly Richaun Holmes, who can keep up with the guards. This is the definition of depth because Walton has the luxury of plugging either of these diverse players in at center depending on the situation at hand.
Glenn Robinson is coming off a season where he averaged career highs in points, rebounds, and assists, while knocking down triples at a 39% clip. He will prove to be a great backup to Barnes and a solid contributor off the bench.
I have high hopes for Haliburton. I’m not expecting him to be Rookie of the Year, but rather a mature rook who can run the second unit. Haliburton has a great basketball IQ and is an extraordinary passer, making him perfect for such a vital role right off the bat. Playing next to CoJo, Robinson, and a mix of bigs, the rookie has plenty of talent around him to get the ball to.
I feel like a broken record when I note that the 2018/19 season wasn’t that long ago, but it’s as if the memories of Kings fans were wiped clean after one injury-ridden season, albeit a bad one. Fox is only getting better, Buddy’s drama has subsided and the pressure of the scoring load will decrease with a healthy squad, and Marvin Bagley, when healthy, is an easy 17 and 10 type player.
We have grown so accustomed to losing that we think if we’re not a Finals-seeking team we should tank and grab the next talent that will lead us to the promise land. But with the way the draft works and the crapshoot of talent, we shouldn’t be overlooking this team so much.
The West is tough, but with the new playoff play-in tournament at the end of the season, Sacramento might be able to squeeze in as the 10th seed. Although the 10th seed might not seem like a lot, it will give Fox, Bagley, and Buddy some playoff experience and prove to upcoming free agents that the Kings have something brewing in Sacramento.
If all else fails, and the Kings play poorly, McNair at least set the organization up to gain some value for this roster’s talent— by signing players to one-year, veteran minimum deals, they can be traded easily to contending teams for compensation in the form of draft picks or young talent
Nothing is for certain, though. The Kings have, frankly, sucked for so long that it’s hard to have the clarity to tell whether or not this team is the one, out of the last 14 years of playoff-less basketball, to break the drought. However, you can’t count this team out before they’ve even been given a chance.