A new era of Sacramento Kings basketball has arrived.
With fresh ownership in town, finally cementing the Kings place in Sacramento, excitement is building among the passionate fan base. Two up-and-coming basketball minds have already joined the franchise. Mike Malone, a defensive minded assistant from the Warriors, was the first addition, taking over as Kings head coach. After an extensive search, Pete D’Alessandro was named Sacramento’s general manager.
A firm structure is finally in place. Now it’s time to take the next logical step — reshaping a roster that finished 28-54 and missed the playoffs for the 7th straight season. The first chance to do so will be at Thursday’s draft, where the Kings hold the 7th and 36th picks.
Predicting which direction the Kings will go in the draft has always been tough. Former GM Geoff Petrie was a secretive leader who often strayed from conventional wisdom to make his preferred pick. Sacramento fans are expecting much of the same this year, as new GM D’Alessandro will have been in office less than two weeks by the time the draft rolls around.
Because the blueprint for D’Alessandro’s vision of the Kings has yet to be revealed, Sacramento could go any number of ways in the draft. Nobody, outside of perhaps center DeMarcus Cousins, is assured a roster spot. That puts every position in play when the 7th pick comes up.
The common sentiment in NBA circles seems to be that the draft is seven players deep and the Kings will simply choose whoever slips. That could be Trey Burke, a talented point guard who would be trusted to lead Sacramento’s new brand of basketball.
However, despite the lack of leadership in recent weeks, the Kings have brought in a number of prospects who figure to be in play at No. 7. Shabazz Muhammad, who could fulfill the team’s lengthy desire for a small forward, and Cody Zeller, a possible complement to Cousins down low, visited Sacramento and make sense for the Kings.
Still, expect the unexpected. D’Alessandro is part of a new wave of general managers focused on statistical analytics. Nobody quite knows what that means, but if the new GM sees a player that fits his model, he won’t be afraid to pick him, even if it seems like a reach to outsiders.
Either way, Kings fans are overjoyed. The old regime is gone, and Thursday’s draft marks the official start of Sacramento’s roster revival.