Change is a scary thing. But for the Sacramento Kings, it was completely necessary. After winning just 28 games last season and ranking dead last in almost every defensive category, the new ownership group gutted both the front office and coaching staff and the change didn’t end there.
While he didn’t land a franchise changer in free agency, new general manager Pete D’Alessandro made major changes in the team’s rotational make-up. Greivis Vasquez, Ben McLemore, Luc Mbah a Moute and Carl Landry are all part of the Kings’ core of eight or nine players and more changes are always possible.
What does this mean for the rest of the team? No one knows, but in lieu of increasing the talent level with one individual, D’Alessandro has improved the overall quality of the team with multiple pieces.
A true point guard in Vasquez will hopefully lead to improved passing. It will take time for McLemore to acclimate to the NBA game, but he is a true shooting guard with elite athleticism and shooting skills. Mbah a Moute is the best wing defender the Kings have had on the roster since Ron Artest was traded and Landry is one of the best sixth men in the league.
The Kings are banking on improvement from their young players – DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmer Fredette and Patrick Patterson. And they are hoping for solid production from veterans Jason Thompson, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Travis Outlaw and Chuck Hayes.
The coaching staff is focused on defense and has a track record of doing more than just talk. The ownership group is engaged and willing to spend and D’Alessandro has been turning over almost every stone in the country looking to improve this team.
But is it enough? With 14 men under contract, the roster is close to intact. Barring a major trade or an outright buyout of a contract, this is pretty much the team coach Michael Malone will walk into the season with.
It’s early, but it’s prediction time. Love them or hate them, will the changes made so far this summer equate to wins?