By Demario Phipps-Smith @DemarioPSmith on June 24, 2014
As bad as the Sacramento Kings have been in the past, 2014 looks to be hopeful. Although the roster is far from complete, there are steps the Kings can take in order to rise in a difficult Western Conference in the upcoming season.
Akin to the more famous man who bares his name, Isaiah Thomas is a bit undersized for his position. But he is also pretty great at scoring like the Isiah Thomas enshrined in the NBA Hall of Fame. The Kings’ Thomas is an interesting case because he fills the team’s scoring needs well, but he doesn’t fit their aesthetic needs. Every team in the association is after a 6-foot-4 attacker who can also pass when necessary.
Sometimes young guys need a little push. Ben McLemore didn’t live up to his high billings leading up to the 2013 season but not for lack of opportunity nor talent. I’m not sure if the Kansas prospect is better than Tyreke Evans, but the Kings' brass took a chance on him. Whether or not he’s an actual cornerstone piece has yet to be seen, but the Kings can make some noise in the west if the team is willing to do so with or without McLemore.
The Kings have a talent laden roster for the first time in years. Rudy Gay recently signed his player option so they have the lengthy scorer for at least another year. If Sacramento can get the isolation specialist to incorporate more of a team oriented mentality into his game, they can better use DeMarcus Cousins and the other scorers on the team. Elfrid Payton would be a fitting candidate to distribute the ball for the Kings next year.
Cousins is best suited scoring the ball in the paint -- not so much defending it. He is a gifted scorer on the block, but he isn’t really athletic enough to be a defensive anchor. If Sacramento can land a defender in the mold of a Hasheem Thabeet, it would allow Cousins to play more of the power forward position where he is much bigger than his opposition.
As a team, the Kings shot just 33 percent from beyond the arc in 2013. This was just one of the many reasons why the Kings finished just a game in front of the Los Angeles Lakers without their heralded superstar Kobe Bryant. Sac-town will need to add shooters, either through the draft or in free agency in order to compete on a respectable level. Nik Stauskas is an option via the draft, but playmaking should be a priority over other areas of need.
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