Kelly Dwyer is one of the best basketball writers on the planet. Not on the internet. On the planet. He analyzes the game and league as good as anyone. So when he writes something, I take notice because I feel like it not only makes me a better writer but it makes me a better basketball fan. You can learn a lot reading from his mind.
Today, he figured out the 10 best teams of the decade that didn’t pull off winning an NBA championship. As soon as I saw the headline, I scrolled down until I saw the words “Sacramento Kings 2001-2002,” expecting to see them as the top team on the list. But they’re not. They’re the second team on the list behind last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers team.
Now personally, I disagree with KD’s assessment. It doesn’t mean he’s wrong; I just think the Kings were the best team of the decade to not get the job done. Here’s what he had to write:
2. Sacramento Kings, 2001-02
This team deserved a championship so much that Ralph Nader thought he’d lend a hand in helping them out. The Kings were absolutely jobbed by the referees in a Game 6 loss to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals, a series of calls so bad that Nader thought he’d do a little work on Sacramento’s behalf. Honesty compels me to mention the fact that the Lakers were also jobbed a bit in Game 5 of that series in Sacramento, and that the Kings did have a Game 7 at home in their favor to make things right.
They blew that one, though, even as it went to overtime. It tends to mar an otherwise sublime season that saw seven Kings average double-figure points per game (with two, Chris Webber(notes) and Peja Stojakovic(notes), averaging well over 20 per), alongside the sixth-best defense in the NBA. But, you know, maybe if Vlade hadn’t of flopped so damn much …
Also considered: Sacramento Kings, 2002-03, Sacramento Kings 2003-04.
I don’t think last year’s Cavs team could have taken the Kings to a sixth game. I think the Kings were so good and dominant on both ends of the floor.
But I love the recognition that he gives to this team. Even as a Wolves fan, I remember watching this team play and marveling at how easy the game of basketball was for them. They were nearly a perfect team in every aspect of the game.