Kings Mail of the Week

Once a week, I’ll be posting a reader email that I think is particularly interesting, funny, smart, or nefarious. There will be fake prizes that I’ll pretend to give to the winner.

Now kissing up to me is not going to get you to win this dubious and much sought-after honor by any means. If you’re ripping me or what I do in a smart or funny way, that could win you the gold. If you have an idea and share it and I think it’s hilarious, stupid or brilliant, that could also get you a win. It’s strictly up to my discretion.

So to kick off the Kings Mail of the Week, I thought I’d award reader Bruce with a copy of the movie Class Act in memoriam of Kevin Martin’s old high top fade. Bruce emailed me about him figuring out who the best draft pick in Kings history was. Here’s his email:

Here is what you can do with a Kings media guide, a computer spreadsheet, and a long plane flight. I prepared a chart showing the Sacramento era Kings draft picks, and who they got traded for, sort of like a series of “begats” out of Genesis.

What the chart shows is that Billy Owens was the best Sacramento era Kings draft pick.

Not because of what he did on the court. Owens, the 1991 pick, held out. He was the best because he got traded for Mitch Richmond, the first Sacramento King All-Star, who in turn was traded to get Chris Webber, the foundation of the great turn-of-the-millenium Kings teams.

Eighteen years later, that pick is still represented on the roster, in the form of Kenny Thomas, who was part of the 2004 Webber trade. If the Kings work a trade with a team that wants to pick up Kenny’s fat expiring contract heading into the 2010 free agent season, the Billy Owens legacy could continue for years to come.

The Kings have the same problem in the draft everybody else does—you want to make sure you don’t pick a bust (Exhibit A: Pervis Ellison), but if there is no Tim Duncan or LeBron available, you don’t know if you are getting a player who is going to be great, and you only win championships by having great players.

The Kings desperately need to get great players, and the draft doesn’t have anyone who is obviously great. Blake Griffin has skills, an NBA body and a tremendous work ethic, so he might get there, but he is not great on day one.

The good news is, Giffin is being drafted by the Clippers, so he will be available via free agency or trade in a few years, since the reason God created Donald Sterling was so that the other NBA owners could beat him up and take his lunch money.

The Kings have drafted only one player who became an All-Star, Peja Stojacovik.

Clearly, for the Kings, the important thing is not who they draft, but who they get in trade for who they draft. Here are the trades that built the quality Kings teams:

    • Owens for Richmond for Webber
    • The flashy but defensively challenged Jason Williams, chosen in 1998, was traded for the productive but defensively challenged Mike Bibby.
    • Corliss Williamson, chosen in 1994, was traded for Doug Christie.
    • Hedo Turkoglu (2000) was traded for Brad Miller, when the Kings needed a center in the post-Vlade era. That spot now is occupied by Andres Nocioni, who is probably the most hard-nosed player on the roster, so we might still see production out of that pick.

One other interesting Kings trade: Travis Mays, who was traded for fan favorite Spud Webb, who was traded for…..Billy Owens.

Now, I’m not that smart so I haven’t figured out to post this chart in a viewable manner. But it was a nice show of progression of each draft pick and what it eventually yielded. It’s really hard to argue. The only one who can possibly overturn Billy Owens is Hedo Turkoglu because Nocioni’s contract could be a part of a nice trade someday.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the spreadsheet.

Anyway, nice work, Bruce. You won the first Kings Mail of the Week post and your imaginary copy of Class Act should be there shortly.

You have any submissions, criticisms, or things to say, send me an email to zharper[at]cowbellkingdom[dot]com.

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