2012-13 SACRAMENTO KINGS SEASON PREVIEW
For the sixth straight season, the Kings suffered through another losing year during the 201-12 season, finishing at 22-44 and 14th in the Western Conference. The season saw the departure of head coach Paul Westphal, and the new tenure of current coach Keith Smart. As slowly as they started off the year, the Kings improved as the year went on and there is certainly plenty of talent on the roster that could be a solid foundation for the future. Ultimately, the Kings have a number of bright spots and a few areas where they will need to see major improvement to take the next step toward playoff contention.
The offseason allowed the Kings to add depth in key places along their roster, including the signing of point guard Aaron Brooks, who spent time with the Rockets and Suns last season. The team also swung a trade with Toronto for small forward James Johnson, who is expected to become an immediate starter and improve the team's scoring attack. However, the Kings' biggest move may have come during the draft when they landed one of the best players in the draft, forward Thomas Robinson from Kansas. He should provide an immediate boost to the depth at the position and imposing size for the Kings in the paint.
With all of the moves the Kings have made in the offseason, they may have a chance to field a pretty potent starting lineup. At point guard, Isaiah Thomas was a welcome rookie surprise during last season and has quality backups in Brooks and Jimmer Fredette. At shooting guard, Tyreke Evans can shift back and forth between both guard spots, while Marcus Thornton provides a great change of pace behind him. At forward, Jason Thompson and James Johnson should see significant time, as they ease Thomas Robinson into the lineup. Perhaps the team's strongest suit is at center with Demarcus Cousins. The 6'11" is a major presence underneath the basket and could have a few All-Star appearances in his future.
In Keith Smart's first season at the helm, the Kings will have to continue to show progression on both ends of the court. Only time will tell if the players will buy into Smart's system and find cohesiveness, but the team certainly has plenty of talent to build on for the future and has made great strides in the offseason to finally get back to postseason contention.
SACRAMENTO KINGS FRANCHISE FACTS:
Location: Sacramento, California
Stadium: Sleep Train Arena
Conference: Western Conference
Division: Pacific Division
Rivals: Los Angeles Lakers
Notable Players: Nate Archibold, Oscar Robertson, Maurice Stokes
Sacramento Kings Championship Titles: 1
Sacramento Kings Conference Titles: 0
Sacramento Kings Playoff tickets
Sacramento Kings Season Preview History
SACRAMENTO KINGS EXPERIENCE:
The Sacramento Kings can trace its roots all the way back to the Rochester Royals, which was a member of the National Basketball League from 1945 through 1949 until it joined the newly formed National Basketball Association. Although California already has four professional basketball teams, the Kings have proven to be one of the most successful franchises, making multiple postseason appearances throughout their history.
The first incarnation of the franchise only existed in Rochester until 1957 when it moved to Cincinnati where the league thought the club had a better chance of seeing consistent success. Despite the NBA's hunch, Cincinnati did not turn out to be a profitable market. The Cincinnati Royals held out until 1972 when the team headed to Kansas City. It was here that the NBA thought that the franchise would have a permanent home, but a new fan base seemed to be growing for the game in Sacramento. Due to a failing market in Kansas City, the NBA made a decision to try to give the franchise another winning chance in Sacramento, where it has remained since 1985.
Despite all of the moving, the Sacramento Kings have made great strides in developing as a franchise. In the ‘90s, the Kings were a dominant force in the Western Conference, and much of it was due to star players like Chris Webber. Between 1998 and 2005, Webber helped the team make several appearances in the postseason. He was a five-time NBA All-Star and was named Rookie of the Year upon entering the league. As a further tribute to his contributions, the team retired his number 4 jersey.
The Kings' best season came in 2001-02 when they finished 61-21. The team continued its winning ways by seizing the Division Championship in 2002, but failed to win the Conference Final, despite showing great promise and bringing aggressive play to the court. They fought a long battle against the Lakers, taking the series to seven games.
The Sacramento Kings have an esteemed history as one of the most dominant franchises in the Western Conference. Although this has been an uphill battle, the squad has shown progress over the years by bringing in talented players, including Marcus Thornton and J.J. Hickson. Paul Westphal also joined the Kings as their new head coach in the 2009-10 season, bringing with him decades of expertise on and off the court.