With training camp starting in Cleveland on October 1, Right Down Euclid will be ranking teams from the bottom to the top of the Eastern and Western Conferences. Everyday I will rotate between conferences, starting with the East teams and counting up from No. 16 all the way to the best team in each respective conference.
I will give a quick synopsis of each team’s roster, some of their statistics from last year and why I think they will finish in the position that I predicted. Agree or disagree, stay tuned to RDE to see where your team lands in the 2012 Offseason Team Rankings.
No. 15 — Sacramento Kings (5th in Pacific)
2011-12 season: 22-44 (.333), fifth place in Pacific Division (3-10)
Offensive Efficiency: 101.0 (20th)
Defensive Efficiency: 106.8 (28th)
G – Aaron Brooks
F-C – DeMarcus Cousins
G – Tyreke Evans
G – Jimmer Fredette
G-F – Francisco Garcia
F – Chuck Hayes
F – Tyler Honeycutt
F – James Johnson
F – Travis Outlaw
F – Thomas Robinson
G – John Salmons
G – Isaiah Thomas
C-F – Jason Thompson
G – Marcus Thornton
It’s bad enough that the Kings don’t even have an up-and-running online store to sell their official gear, but even with the possibility of the team being relocated to Virginia Beach, Anaheim or Seattle, their biggest concern at this point is with the roster. The guard production from Tyreke Evans, Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton last season helped the Kings finish sixth in the Association in points per game (98.8 points), but there’s a catch. So how does a team that finishes in the top 10 in points per game finish dead last in their division? Easy, they don’t share the ball.
The Kings were 26th in the NBA in assists per game, with Evans averaging the most assists on the team with a measly 4.5 assists per game. The Kings don’t have a whole lot of talent down low, so I think drafting trigger-happy Jimmer Fredette may have not been the best decision to go with in the 2011 draft. Having the seasoned Thomas Robinson fall to them in this year’s draft was very fortunate for the Kings’ frontline. Robinson stayed three years at Kansas and had a huge breakout season his junior year, averaging 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds. The Robinson-Cousins’ frontline will take some time to form, but will eventually gel the Kings one of the best rebounding teams in the league (they were 10th last season).
If the Kings stick with a three-guard starting lineup like they did most of last season, they will be moving in the opposite direction. They should use some of their over-productive guards as trade bait to try and land a traditional three player. This team is still too young and doesn’t shoot well enough (and shoots too quickly) to escape the bottom of the Western Conference. This young team has many problems, both on the court and off the court, to fix before they can even talk playoffs.