[Editor's note: Much like the player previews, I will be previewing every Western Conference team in preparation of the NBA season. They, too, will be in randomized order. Today we tackle the Sacramento Kings.]
Overview: The Sacramento Kings were one of the worst teams in the league last season though they didn’t lack intrigue. Jimmer Fredette, selected with the 10th pick in the 2011 draft, made less than 40 percent of his looks. DeMarcus Cousins continued to puzzlingly miss a ton of shots while remaining a dominant force on the boards. Tyreke Evans pummeled to the lane early and often, turning in another inefficient season.
The team, as a whole, was the 21st efficient offense. Sure their pace was blistering, averaging 94.7 possessions per 48 minutes, but they weren’t able to convert on a high percentage of their shots. Their most promising player, rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas, was able to command the Kings’ flustering offense. Defensively, they were actually worse; only the Charlotte Bobcats allowed more points per 100 possessions.
Additions: Forward Jason Thompson was re-signed to a five-year, $30.2 million contract (the last year being unguaranteed). Thompson started 47 games for Sacramento last season, averaging 9.1 points and 6.9 rebounds.
Aaron Brooks, who spent last season with China, is the team’s only new addition through free agency though it is hard to see where he will fit amidst a backcourt containing Evans, Fredette, Thomas and Marcus Thornton. (Brooks signed a two-year, $6.65 million contract with a player option.)
Flipping Terrence Williams for James Johnson didn’t make much sense either as the current roster doesn’t have a role for the versatile Johnson. The prize of their offseason, however, was Thomas Robinson. Having played three years at the University of Kansas, Robinson is perhaps the most pro-ready player to come out of this years draft class.
Departures: The Kings retain basically the entire roster sans Williams and Hassan Whiteside, who appeared in 36 games between them last season. This is a team that was 14th in the Western Conference, ahead of only the New Orleans Hornets.
Outlook: Not particularly good. While the Hornets will improve from last season, the Kings are unlikely to make a dent in the Western Conference hierarchy. Even if Thomas develops further into the point guard they desperately need; Robinson turns out to be the optimal match alongside the inefficient Cousins; and Evans grasps the small forward position, while toning down his shot selection, the Kings will be bottom feeders once again.