Sunday Musings: Who’s got it better than the Kings?

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“Who’s got it better than us?”

Remember that mantra from Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers just two seasons ago?  Now that franchise can’t get out of its own way.  They have a beautiful new stadium that still can’t figure out its turf issues.  The team has an incredible 12 player arrests since 2012.  Aldon Smith is gone after being picked up for his third DUI in three seasons.  He added a few other charges when he was arrested for the fifth time while under contract for the 49ers on Friday.

Who has it better than us?  Everyone.  Every other sports franchise in the world of professional sports has it better than the 49ers and it’s not even close.

Why does this matter to the Sacramento Kings?  Because they are the current poster child for disfunction and they aren’t even in the same zip code as these clowns in the crimson and gold.

While the Niners were busy losing Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Anthony Smith and Chris Borland to retirement and Mike Iapati, Michael Crabtree, Chris Culliver, Parrish Cox and Frank Gore to free agency, the Kings have been under the microscope.

I understand that we are comparing the NBA and the NFL, but even punter Andy Lee is gone as Trent Balke and Jed York have completely destroyed a proud franchise in just a couple of months.

Who’s got it better than us?  The Sacramento Kings have it better, Niners fans.

San Francisco isn’t the only local professional franchise to make cosmic gaffs over the past year.  Billy Beane and his obsessive tinkering dealt away Josh Donaldson this past summer.  The former Athletics hot corner is pacing to win an MVP for the Toronto Blue Jays and was under team control for another three seasons in the hole that is the O.co.

When compared to what is happening around them, the Kings almost seem stable.  Can you imagine that?  A team that jettisoned two head coaches in the past season, traded away half its roster and removed most of its front office is light years ahead of its neighbors down the road.

The disparity between the haves and have nots in a 90-mile radius is shocking and we haven’t even mentioned the perennial loser in the silver and black.

Is it possible that the Kings are ahead of three of the five other professional franchises in the Sacramento and Bay Area region?

It’s not only possible, it’s 100 percent accurate.  While the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors are world champs, everyone else in the region are colossal chump.

The Kings can’t hide from their record.  Since last appearing in the playoffs way back in 2006, the team is 244-478.  Three relocation attempts didn’t help the business side, but after years of instability, the Kings now sport a star 24-year player and a future Hall of Fame coach.  They may be working out their differences, but they aren’t even in the neighborhood of what is happening down highway 80.

This is an extremely important season for the Kings.  They are on the cusp of moving out of the rebuilding stage and into the growth phase as a franchise.  They are now a little over a year away from moving into a brand new state of the art arena that will completely reinvigorate the core of Sacramento.

There couldn’t be a better time for a franchise to reinvent itself.  The Kings are still struggling to shake off the myriad of national narratives, but they haven’t had an arrest to speak of in years.  Their star is quirky, but not a criminal.  They have two potential Olympiads and on paper, they are improved greatly over what we have seen in the past.

Vivek Ranadivé is eccentric, but he is willing to spend not just on the team, but on an incredible new home for the franchise. There is hope where there wasn’t before.  Plenty of professional franchises have it better than the Sacramento Kings, but it could worse.  Much worse.  San Francisco 49ers worse.

In the world of professional sports, the Kings appear to be on the rise.  They have major room for improvement, but you can see it happening now.  There are still a lot of questions that have to be answered.  Coach and star must work it out.  Ben McLemore must take another leap and Rajon Rondo needs to return to his All-Star form.  It’s a tall order, but nothing like what we have seen in the past from this franchise.

As the Kings prepare for the 2015-16 season, they do so with the understanding that they are further along than they have been in nearly a decade. Compared to their local contemporaries, they are trending the right way.

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James Ham

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