Don’t look now but we’re officially a few hours away from Sacramento Kings basketball and the start of the 2009-10 NBA season. So how about we figure out how the Kings Power Rankings shake out as we get ready to start the latest 82-game campaign?

1. Kevin Martin |
Reason:
If Tyreke Evans and Jason Thompson can be big distractions for the defense and allow Kevin Martin to get even more room to work, It would not shock me to see him flirt with a True Shooting Percentage of 70 during the first month of the season. A little defense against big time opponents would be nice too.


2. Tyreke Evans |
Reason:
He has impressed in the preseason, especially when going against big-named point guards like Deron Williams and Steve Nash. Kevin Martin is holding the keys to franchise for him until he’s ready to hop in the driver’s seat. And with Blake Griffin missing the first six weeks of the regular season, the Rookie of the Year trophy is his to take. Just need to start of with some good wins.

3. Jason Thompson |
Reason:
This seems like the perfect time for Jason Thompson to start off on a tear. He’ll have a smaller, weaker frontcourt going against him in OKC then try to prove he can hang with the big boys against Tim Duncan and David West on the road before coming home to battle to very beatable teams in Memphis and Atlanta. I expect a double-double from JT over these first five games.

4. Sean May |
Reason:
Sign a non-fully guaranteed contract in order to get your career back on track? Check. Drop 40 pounds in order to prove your committed and make your contract completely guaranteed this year? Check. Do whatever the coaches ask of you without complaining, play solid defense, and try to be the consummate professional on and off the court? Check. Sean May has earned his starting position for opening night.

5. Spencer Hawes |
Reason:
Coach Westphal is sending a message early by showing guys like Spencer Hawes that his minutes and starting position has to be earned. While it was classified as a “misunderstanding,” I assume the Summer League pass didn’t win coach over by any means. Throw in his inability to bang in the post against tougher players and it’s not all that shocking Spencer won’t be the starter on opening night.

6. Andres Nocioni |
Reason:
Here’s what he needs to bring off the bench: toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, toughness, defense, toughness, toughness, and some sensible shot selection.

7. Desmond Mason |
Reason:
Thanks to a couple of young small forwards that haven’t earned it and a freak accident in the weight room, Desmond Mason is your 2009-10 starting small forward for the Kings. All we ask from you is be a defensive leader and throw down a nasty dunk once a game.

8. Omri Casspi |
Reason:
All Omri has done is come into this team, work his tail off in practice, and make things happen on the court. His shooting has been better than advertised and his playmaking ability is still something in development but headed in the right direction. I don’t know that Omri will stay in the regular rotation on a consistent basis but you’ve got to like his chances with what he does on the court.

9. Beno Udrih |
Reason:
Beno has actually played really well and exceeded expectations as the backup point guard this preseason. His defense is decent, his passing has been nice, and he’s played well in most lineups he’s been thrown into. I think he’ll be able to settle in as the backup and provide Tyreke with some much-needed relief throughout the season.

10. Jon Brockman |
Reason:
I don’t see Brock getting consistent minutes for the early part of this season because he’s a rookie and the Kings have enough lanky small forwards to throw in the power forward position off the bench. But Brockman will be a guy that maximizes his minutes, has a huge rebounding rate, and wins over the hearts of many a Sacramentan.

11. Donté Greene |
Reason:
The defense has gotten better but the offense is almost non-existent. In fact, you have to wonder how much trust he has with the coaching staff to go out there and make things happen. I guess we’ll find that answer out when we see what his playing time is like.

12. Sergio Rodriguez |
Reason:
Sergio Rodriguez had one job this preseason: outplay Beno Udrih to earn the backup point guard position. And did he do it? Not at all. In fact, there’s no doubt in my mind Beno should be the backup over Sergio right now. Two months ago, I would have slapped myself for thinking that.

13. Kenny Thomas |
Reason:
K9 won’t be making his debut any time soon with the flu (he didn’t make the trip to OKC) and he still seems to be mired in a lack of playing time or being taken seriously as a professional power forward. Honestly, he probably could really help the thin frontcourt of this team but he’s never going to get a chance to do so – at least not a consistent one.

14. Francisco Garcia |
Reason:
I have a rule — whenever you nearly end your season by a freak accident involving free weights, an exercise ball, and non-bionic wrist bones, you’re dropping to the bottom of any power rankings list for a single team made by a blogger. That’s my rule.

There are the first rankings for the season. Feel free to leave your comments below or send them to me via email (zharper@cowbellkingdom.com).