Kings Overall Team Grade
From a pure talent standpoint, Sacramento ended up with two of the best players in the 2010 NBA Draft. However, there is no bigger risk/reward draft than taking Cousins and Whiteside who are probably the two most immature players and biggest question marks in the draft. Five years from now, the Kings could look like absolute geniuses for these two selections or they could look like a team that drafted two disasters. I love that they rolled the dice. It's not like any other player available was going to make a franchise-changing impact like these two guys possibly could. (Grade: A)
5. DeMarcus Cousins, C, Kentucky
From a talent standpoint, Cousins is up there with Wall and Turner. We all know about his maturity issues and that will be the ultimate factor in determining how successful of a pro he is. I will say this, Tyreke Evans and Cousins in back-to-back drafts is exactly what a re-building franchise needs. Let's just hope Cousins figures it out. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)
33. Hassan Whiteside, C, Marshall
I mean, why not? Right. This is an absolute great value. Talent-wise, he could be a top 10 prospect if he puts it together which of course is a HUGE if which is why he falls into the second round. By the way, Cousins and Whiteside are two of the most immature players in this draft and they end up on the same team. That smells like trouble. Nevertheless, terrific risk this late. (Pick Grade: LOVE IT)
2009-10 Season Summary:
The Kings suffered through their fourth straight losing season, but showed improvement in the second year of their re-building project. That improvement can be attributed to the arrival of the next big thing; Tyreke Evans (allow me to say "I told you so" as I have been high on Evans since seeing him in person at the 2008 McDonald's All-American Game.)
Evans joined LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as the only players in the NBA to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, and has stud potential written all over him. In the process of Evans taking the reigns as the face of the franchise, Sacramento decided to deal Kevin Martin partly due to the fact that they didn't think Martin and Evans were the perfect fit in the same backcourt. Martin was practically given away though as the Kings received Carl Landry and cap space in exchange.
Sacramento also found a steal in Omri Casspi whom they took with the 23rd pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. Caspi has the makings of being a solid role player in the NBA. On top of that, Donte Greene made strides in his second season in the league, proving to be a threat from the outside. Second-year post player Jason Thompson also remains a steady force down low with his rebounding, but Spencer Hawes took a step backward in his third season in the league. With Evans on board though, the Kings have their alpha dog of the future. Now they need to find the right pieces to surround him.
Kings sign G/F Antoine Wright to 1-year, league minimum deal
Kings sign PG Pooh Jeter
Kings acquire PF Darnell Jackson and future 2nd round pick from Bucks for PF Jon Brockman
Kings acquire C Samuel Dalembert from 76ers for F Andres Nocioni and C Spencer Hawes
NBA Offseason Needs:
1. A running mate for Tyreke Evans- Evans is going to be a stud in the league. No question. He has the build of a shooting guard but needs the ball in his hands due to his ability to attack the basket so is really more of a point. The Kings didn't think he and Martin were a long term match as the backcourt of the future and even though Beno Udrih is a serviceable player who bounced back nicely after a miserable 2008-2009 campaign, Sacramento must find someone who can grow alongside the former Memphis Tiger. Since Evans struggles with his shot, that person must move well without the ball and knock down open looks from the perimeter so Evans can utilize his stellar drive and dish ability.
2. A defensive presence down low- The Kings have a lot of depth at the forward position but lack a true defensive presence. Landry and Brockman are physical and solid rebounders but undersized. Thompson has size but is not a real shot blocker and Hawes took a step back this past season. Sacramento needs to bring in a big who can play behind Thompson or maybe at times alongside him, and patrol the paint and cause some ruckus on the glass. Look for Sacramento to possibly address this need with their likely top five pick and possibly draft DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors.
3. Stick to the game plan- Sacramento has a ton of cap space this off-season and knowing the Maloof brothers, they will want to spend it. However, it is unlikely that the Kings will be able to lure any of the marquee names to Sac-town due to their re-building mode. The franchise has done a nice job of ridding itself of terrible contracts and must spend their money wisely this summer. They cannot afford to blow a hefty chunk of change by overpaying a mediocre talent just because the cap space is burning a hole in their pockets. The Kings are better off building their team with young talent and saving the cap space for next summer or to possibly acquiring a nice asset at the trade deadline rather than throw a five-year $60 million deal at someone like Raymond Felton.