Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hardwood Paroxysm's 2008-2009 Season Preview: Sacramento Kings

We finish our previews of the Not Quite Ready for Primetime crew with the Sacramento Kings. The Kings are at a precipice. The young talent is either going to develop and they'll improve, or they'll plunge deeper into the lottery. Your opening preview is from Trey Kerby.

Cheering for the Kings seems to be an interesting situation. After moving to Sacramento, the teams were generally horrible. As in, not ever .500. Then, during the lockout season, the Kings broke through, winning as many games (27) in a shortened season as they had the previous year. Thus began the renaissance. Under the mustachioed mouth of coach Rick Adelman, the Kings became a legit title contender. These were the halcyon days of Kings fandom.

Remember please, that these Kings were revolutionary at the time. A proto-Suns, if you will. Though there are certainly differences between Phoenix and the Adelman Kings, the basic tenants remained the same: crisp, inventive passing, unselfishness, and scoring. Lots of scoring. These were fascinating teams. The sort of team that you hope your men's league team can emulate. Surprisingly though, those Kings are mysteriously overlooked for their contributions to the aesthetics of the NBA. Yes, heads will reminisce over the Kings, but you're run of the mill NBA fan ceases to remember just how enjoyable and successful those teams were. I blame Ron Artest.

That feeling of undeserved ignorance permeates this year's Kings team. Frankly, this is a team that needs more fans. Consider last year's Grizzlies. A young, talented team that had the potential to be massively exciting, while also having the potential to be massively bad, while also having the potential to somehow accidentally make the playoffs if everything went perfectly. In other words, EXACTLY LIKE this year's Kings. But the internet wave of appreciation is not following the Kings as it did the Grizzlies. This is unfortunate.

More unfortunate, perhaps, is the severe slept-on-ness of Kevin Martin. Masta Zilla made the case for Kevin this summer, and if you went in unconvinced, surely things have changed. Not only is he efficient and really, really good; Martin also has the affects that make for internet legend. He's Jordan approved, rocks a fade, and has a great story. How Kevin Martin has not become a cult figure in the vein of Gilbert Arenas can be attributed to the facts that he does not have a blog and may or may not have a personality. (Cyclical logic, sure. Would he show personality on a blog or does he have no personality, and thus, no blog? This, truly, is the conundrum of Kevin Martin's lackluster appreciation.)

As Martin – someone, please, get him a nickname; not K-Mart – goes so go the Kings. And while this is true in a basketball sense, it's even truer from an impressions point of view. Essentially, the reaction to Kevin Martin embodies everything you need to know about the Kings. People don't realize they might be missing out.

Oh, and the coach was on Hang Time. Hilarious.

IMAGE NATION by Trey Kerby


I like olives. I mean, I like olives a lot. I'll buy a jar, and expect to eat a few here and there, maybe put one on my sandwich with a toothpick like they do at the deli. And then, in less than a day, I've eaten the entire jar. It's disgusting. I know they're not actually physicall apetizing, and I know that it's not exactly the healthiest thing to ingest in large quantaties. But damn it, I like them. It reminds me of when my dad and I would eat them while watching football, aside from the screaming and cursing and involuntary naps he would take. There's a warm history there. So all in all, these are the same reasons to like the Kings. Sure, they're going to make you sick sometimes, but c'mon, they're tasty! Kevin Martin is the olive that goes in your martini for your nightcap (if you drink martinis; I used to drink whiskey, now I drink milk. Kind of like Dennis Leary). Going to bed after watching Martin sink a floater in traffic for the win just gives you sweet dreams. Brad Miller is that olive they give you on a club. Is it necessary? No. Is it clear why it's there? No. But it is. And you're glad it is. Salmons, Garcia, Udrih? They're the olives in that condiment holder at the bar for the bartender. You're not sure where they come from, and you're not supposed to have them, but you keep sneaking them everytime the bartender goes to make another cosmopolitan for the chickadee in pumps at the end of the bar anyway. And Donte Green? He's that first olive out of the jar. It could be good, it could be great. It's just an olive, but when you want one, you want one.


Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals. I mean, really, I could find about a gazillion other reasons to hate this Kings team (yeah, I'm looking at you Kenny Thomas), but this singular game, and the still lingering psychological repurcussions of this game make me hate the Kings even more than I should. After all, I have a tiny heart, so I can't let one particular hate take up too much space.

But back to the point, no one on this freaking team has anything to do with that game. No one was there. Most of the players from that team are spending their days golfing and harrassing cocktail waitresses (except for Webber, who cant ever seem to keep his grip on the club and almost always grabs a server by the backfat instead of the ass. Clutch, Webb, clutch). Regardless, this game and its utterly House of Usher-esque consequences on the Kings are still palatable even to this day. Arco still just seems a little bit darker than other venues. The purple seems to be more eggplant than electric. For god's sake, the Maloofs even have a branch of Sunset Tan in the Palms now. That is how debased this franchise has become. If you can't hate them because of Devin and Jeff, then you are not a true hater. Oh, wait, what's that? Bobby Jackson was on that 2002 WCF team? Really? Well, he has been on every freaking team in the league and will probably be eaten by Nightmare Ant by the time the season is over. If Bobby Jackson the only justification for your 6 year long goth period, then you are worse than I thought.

This Kings team deserves better. Until the fans let go of that soul crushing, embarassing, unjustified, franchise wrecking, suicide inducing defeat, the Kings will never be able to get back into the upper echelon of the West. So anytime you see a Kings fan (easily recognizable by the now outdated Shareef Abdur-Rahim jersey), tell them to give it up already. Until they realize that the worst thing about their current team is that Kenny Thomas is alive and Reggie Theus is your coach - and definitely not the '02 albatross that has left all Kings fans like some modern day Captain Ahabs and it's still massive, heartbreaking, colon disrupting aftershocks - things will NOT get better. Embrace Kenny Thomas's awfulness and let the past go. It will surprise you how good feeling this bad could be.



Player to Watch: John Salmons. Salmons had flashes last year where he was brilliant. He also had flashes where he was regretable. How he does this year could make or break the Kings since they're not exactly the deepest team in the league at this point.

Most Important Player: Kevin Martin. In case we haven't told you enough, Kevin Martin is like Band of Horses. If you're not into him already, you should be.

Worst Player: Kenny Thomas. Woof-woof. Affirmed.

It'll be interesting to see what Bobby Jackson does on a young team. If he and Miller find a good back and forth, this could work well... Donte Green is going to be spectacular at times. The kid just doesn't fear anyone. He's freaking Daredevil... Hawes is running out of time. I felt bad for how Sactown resonded to him when he got drafted, considering his talent, but he's got make good on it... Beno Udrih is in competition with Chris Duhon for most overpaid new starting point guard. Blake Griffin would would look mighty nice on this team in 12 months.

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