Ball Don't Lie - NBA

As we gear up for the start of the season, Ball Don't Lie looks at all 30 teams, outlining off-season transactions, projecting win totals, spinning tracks, and much, much more. It's a fun, hot mess. Well, it was a fun, hot mess. Here is our final preview, the Sacramento Kings.

Last Season: 38-44

Key Players Added: Donte Greene (trade, Rox), Bobby Brown (free agent), Jason Thompson (drafty)

Key Players Lost: Ron Artest  (trade, Rox), Anthony Johnson (free agent, Magic, again)

Kelly Dwyer's Endless Grey Ribbon: You know, I think I overshot this one.

I couldn’t even think of an album that I owned that ably reflected what the Sacramento Kings, circa 2008-09, are all about. Skeets had to help with that one. Making things worse is the team’s win total. They’re not going to win 35 games. Sorry if this screws up the fine work done by the Painted Area (you guys should know better than to listen to me), but this looks like a 30 win team to me. At best.

So, readers? Take those five extra wins, and sprinkle them on top of the win total for the teams you think I’ve shafted. Looks like the Warriors and Timberwolves are hittin’ 30!

(And you might want to take a few from Charlotte’s total. Fat jokes are never funny, so let’s not make a joke, and just say that Sean May is fat.)

Something about Sacramento’s depth, the fact that a few of their players are in their primes, and the way they tend to overachieve under Reggie Theus … it just got to me. This team works hard, it consistently worked harder than any team I saw last season outside of the eventual champs, and Reggie Theus deserves some major credit for that.

Problem is, things are going to fall back a bit this year. Last season was Brad Miller’s swan song, and he’s going to plummet back to earth (he’s only an inch off of it, at best, anyway) this season. Mikki Moore has done a good job playing well into his early 30s, but it’s time to start acting his age. Bobby Jackson? That body has to fall apart at some point, and it wasn’t as if he was great shakes last season.

There is hope for the rest of the team, though, which keeps me from thinking "22 wins." Francisco Garcia is about to enter his prime (you might not know it, but he turns 27 two months into the season), John Salmons is in his, but his production in 2008-09 might be tempered by a trade that could send him elsewhere for picks or younger talent. Beno Udrih isn’t far behind, and Kevin Martin is just a year behind Beno. These are players in their mid-to-late 20s who will be contributing quite a bit this season.

Sure, they all mostly play the same position, BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT.

And behind Brad Miller is Spencer Hawes, who should round into a consistent scoring contributor despite his youth, health concerns, and that "Free Ted Stevens" bumper sticker on the back of his F-150. Backing Moore up is Shelden Williams and Kenny Thomas, and let’s just forget that any of that ever happened.

This team will play some miserable defense, I have to say. The squad’s footspeed leaves a lot to be desired, it leaves everything to be desired really, as the young bucks (Hawes and Donte Greene) don’t figure to help in this realm much. Nearly topping that is the idea that if Salmons and Moore haven’t figured out how to hang onto ball by 2007-08 — late into their careers — what about the 2008-09 season is going to allow them to see the light?

So, this is a desultory end to a wicked-good batch of previews that Skeets put together. And it’s also a fitting end for my work (ambitious, but rubbish) on the previews, and the Kings as a team (all over the place).

Refer back to the second paragraph when you see the win total, thanks for your eyes, and enjoy the season.

Expected Record: 35-47, kind of


'Kevin, Art, Reggie & History' inspired by Tom Ziller and Matt Watson:

Real Talk, Blog Talk (aka excerpts from other blogger team previews):

Hardwood Paroxysm: "Kevin Martin is the olive that goes in your martini for your nightcap (if you drink martinis; I used to drink whiskey, now I drink milk. Kind of like Dennis Leary). Going to bed after watching Martin sink a floater in traffic for the win just gives you sweet dreams. Brad Miller is that olive they give you on a club. Is it necessary? No. Is it clear why it's there? No. But it is. And you're glad it is. Salmons, Garcia, Udrih? They're the olives in that condiment holder at the bar for the bartender. You're not sure where they come from, and you're not supposed to have them, but you keep sneaking them everytime the bartender goes to make another cosmopolitan for the chickadee in pumps at the end of the bar anyway. And Donte Green? He's that first olive out of the jar. It could be good, it could be great. It's just an olive, but when you want one, you want one."

Andre Gomes: "Jason Thompson and Donte Green (who also came from Houston on the Artest trade) will be the rookies of the team this season and both have potential to become good players. Green impressed on the Summer League by scoring 40 points on the 1st game and being the 2nd best scorer on the whole competition. On the other side, Thompson had very interesting numbers on the four seasons he had in Rider, with 16.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 1.9 bpg and he will be the future of the team on the PF position. Reggie Theus will have some young players at his disposal, in order to prepare the team for the future, as the competition in the Western conference is just too tough for the Kings to have a shot in the present. Sacramento surprised everyone last season by becoming a spoiler team in the West and once again, they can't expect more than that from this season."

Recliner GM: "The Kings are a team that consistently hurts themselves. They completely negate their good shooting and ability to get to free throw line with all their turnovers and inability to rebound the ball. The signing of Beno Udrih at the full mid-level exception was baffling. He is a shoot-first point guard with below average playmaking ability. All they did was saddle themselves with another bad contract to go along with Kenny Thomas, Brad Miller and Shareef Abdur-Rahim who are all on the books through 2010. Unless they can move these players early, the Kings will be stuck at the bottom of the West for at least the next two seasons."

Grillin' with Mikki and Donte':

Associated Wax: Bangles, All Over the Place

Michael Bay's Twitter Season Projection:

michael_bay: Ahh, oh, very good BDL, we've followed the pied piper of Snakes to the gates of oblivion and look what that's brought us! The Kings! We're finished, we're done, game over man, game over. FETCH ME MY GRAPES!
about 12 seconds ago from web

Aaaaand  ... this concludes our BDL season previews. Whew! Round of applause for KD, folks. Great stuff.

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