NBA Preview: Kings' return to Sacramento offers good vibe
With new ownership keeping Kings in Sacramento, there is suddenly some hope. Sam Amico's first of 30 NBA team previews.
By SAM AMICO FS Ohio
Editor’s note: This is the first of Sam Amico’s daily look at all 30 NBA teams heading into the 2013-14 season.
Meet the Kings
Well, pro basketball is marching on in Sacramento. If you’re a Kings fan, that means this season has already been a smash hit.
After all, most Kings fans figured they’d be left with nothing but a vacant arena while their old team drummed up new memories as the Seattle SuperSonics.
But they’re still the Kings. And they’re still in Sacramento. And the roster still includes
DeMarcus Cousins -- the talented center who garnered little interest when the Kings lightly explored trading him over the summer.
That had nothing to do with Cousins’ ability. It had everything to do with his reputation. But new ownership pulled off an upset by keeping the Kings in Sacramento. Maybe it can do something similar in any efforts to reform Cousins.
That’s especially the case now that Cousins is clearly the centerpiece – the Kings signing him to a four-year contract extension in mid-September.
Oh yeah, they also added old nemesis Shaquille O’Neal to the new ownership group. O’Neal is 7-foot-1, weighs more than 300 pounds and has often talked about becoming a police office. DeMarcus Cousins, meet Shaquille O’Neal.
Along with new ownership, the Kings hired a new general manager in Pete D’Alessandro and anew coach in Mike Malone. Both were highly regarded assistants in their respective positions.
So there’s plenty to like about what’s happening here. The Kings aren’t Finals-bound, but they’re not Seattle-bound, either. Their title for the season has already been claimed.
Coach: Mike Malone (first NBA season)
Last season: 28-54, did not make playoffs.
Projected starters: C DeMarcus Cousins; PF Jason Thompson; SF Luc Mbah a Moute; SG
Ben McLemore (r); PG
New faces: Malone, McLeMore, Vasquez, Mbah a Moute, Landry, G
Ray McCallum (r).
For the first time since the Chris Webber-Mike Bibby era a decade ago, the Kings have some stability. Nor are they too shabby on paper, with newcomers such as Vasquez and Mbah a Moute (and perhaps even McLemore) seemingly good fits next to Cousins. But like with any new business, things take time. For once, though, the Kings could have some fun trying to get where they hope to go.