Five questions to ponder about the 2014-15 Sacramento Kings
The regular season is a little more than a month away. But, the Sacramento Kings will begin to ramp up their preparation for it starting this week with the opening of training camp.
The team was involved in a multitude of trade talks and conversations this offseason. Up to this point however, they’ve been unable to make a major splash. With that being said, here are five questions to ponder ahead of the Sacramento Kings’ 2014-15 campaign.
Will DeMarcus Cousins become an NBA All-Star?
As a player, Cousins has improved practically each and every year of his career. Last season, he took another major leap, averaging career bests in scoring (22.7 per game), rebounding (11.7 per game), assists (2.9 per game) and true-shooting percentage (55.5 percent). Those numbers will likely improve again this year, especially considering Cousins is coming into camp in the best shape of his life.
Being a contributing member for the national team that won gold in Spain was certainly a defining moment for Cousins and his reputation around the league is better because of it. Those things plus the departure of Kevin Love from the west should make Cousins a very strong candidate for this year’s All-Star team.
Will the Sacramento Kings and Rudy Gay agree to a contract extension?
One of the major questions the Sacramento Kings faced this offseason was whether the veteran small forward would explore free agency or stay in the capital city. That question was answered when Gay opted into the final year of his contract, which is valued at an estimated $18 million. Gay is here in Sacramento for the short term, but his long-term future remains in question.
The Sacramento Kings have likely already approached Gay with the topic of an extension. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if the 28-year-old veteran decides to wait and see how the season plays out before making any commitments. It is worth noting that Gay is a loyal person; he never wanted to leave Memphis and he also hoped to make things work in Toronto. Chances are Gay is hoping for the best in Sacramento, but if the Kings don’t show enough improvement, it’s possible that the eight-year veteran plays elsewhere in 2015.
Who will start at point guard for the Sacramento Kings: Ramon Sessions or Darren Collison?
Darren Collison was brought in by management to replace Isaiah Thomas, who departed to the Phoenix Suns. Collison said that the Sacramento Kings were aggressive in their pitch and were among one of the first teams to call him when free agency began in July. However, the Kings just signed another veteran point guard last week who might be able to push Collison for minutes.
Ramon Sessions has bounced around the league throughout his six-year career. But, he’s proven to be a solid option at point in his five NBA stops. He played mostly as a backup behind Kemba Walker in Charlotte these past two seasons and could be ready to compete for extended playing time with the Kings. Collison and Sessions are comparable talents, but Collison does have the advantage of time on his side. The former UCLA point guard has already spent plenty of it this offseason building chemistry with his new teammates.
Will the Sacramento Kings trade Ben McLemore?
It seems like it was just yesterday when the Sacramento Kings drafted McLemore with the seventh overall pick in the 2013 draft. After an up and down first season, McLemore’s play left more questions than answers. It didn’t help his cause either when the Sacramento Kings decided to draft Nik Stauskas, a fellow shooting guard, with the eighth overall pick last June.
McLemore has plenty of natural talent and physical ability. But, he is a project and the Sacramento Kings may not have the time to wait on his development. With their new arena scheduled to open in 2016, the Sacramento Kings want to put themselves in the best position to be competitive sooner rather than later. McLemore is currently also the only valuable asset that Pete D’Alessandro can peddle in trade pitches. The Sacramento Kings will likely make at least one deal before the trade deadline next February and it’s possible McLemore winds up on the block.
Will Carl Landry be an impact player in Michael Malone’s rotation?
The veteran power forward was the first major acquisition of the new Vivek Ranadivé-led ownership group in Sacramento. He inked a wealthy four-year, $27-million deal in 2013, but didn’t make a dent in his first season back in the capital city. From a torn hip muscle to a torn meniscus in his right knee, Landry battled injury all season long last year. Coming into this 2014-15 campaign, his value is at an all-time low.
The good thing for the Sacramento Kings is that Landry has never relied on his athleticism to be successful. Rather, the 31-year-old veteran has made a name for himself in the NBA with his craftiness. The Sacramento Kings were in search of a reliable scoring option off their bench last season and Landry could be that guy if he returns to full strength this year.