If ESPN believes the Sacramento Kings rank dead last in a survey of 122 professional teams, then it’s clear to me ESPN has lost its mind. How can Sacramento rank lower than the Charlotte Bobcats? Worse than the Jacksonville Jaguars? You have got to be kidding me. How can this be?
Well, the ESPN survey took into account fan experience and ownership, as well as a team’s chances of winning a title. When you put all of that together, it creates a pretty complete picture of why Sacramento ranked last. The dead last vote is a bigger insult, than last year, when they ranked. The team obviously failed in all three of those categories, especially ownership.
That previous ownership ran the team into the ground and pocketed the money that came from a loyal, raucous fan base. That fan base soured on the team ever since the debacle with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Kings never recovered from that series, and completely blew up the team for worse.
It cannot be stated enough that the Maloofs were terrible owners. They held Sacramento hostage as it secretly (and publicly) entertained offers from cities like Virginia Beach, Seattle, Las Vegas and Anaheim (twice).
The fans have every right to be mad, but those days are over. New GM Pete D’Alessandro has exhausted all of the Kings’ money to build a decent roster depth-wise. That kind of foundation bodes well for the team moving forward.
Owner Vivek Ranadive is highly regarded as a tech whiz, and will most likely improve the fan experience this year and beyond heading into the team’s new arena, set to open in 2016. Head coach Michael Malone has these guys working hard. Practice has become a revelation, as multiple players have taken to involuntary conditioning this offseason.
While I can’t vouch for the title chances of the Kings, the team has made the right moves moving forward. It is highly doubtful that the team will finish last next year with new ownership running the show. While I don’t doubt a low ranking, I can say there’s plenty of teams worse off than Sacramento. Maybe Chris Hansen could fund a recount.