Question: It would seem to me that if Quincy Douby is going to just vegitate on the bench that a trade would help the Kings and some other team. Why keep him if he is just a project? And if they are going to keep him, why not play him? You have no idea how this kid can light up a game.
-- Jack Ellery, New Brunswick, N.J.
Answer: There aren't all that many rookies in the league who aren't projects of some sort. And Kevin Martin is proof of why there's no reason to give up on a guy so quickly out of the gate. Martin was a non-factor as a rookie, with a glutton of veteran shooting guards in front of him. Two years later, look at what he's doing. Douby has definite skills, and he's a joy to watch shoot in practice. It seems like almost everything goes in from everywhere, which - to a certain extent - was the case with Martin and last year's draft pick, Francisco Garcia. Douby has put on some weight, too, which is a definite positive sign for his case. He's getting stronger, learning the NBA game and working hard. It's not even close to time to give up on him.
-- Sam Amick
Question: Maloofs ask the commissioner for an assist and either way, they come out looking like champs. They wouldn't be blamed if they move since David Stern and the NBA now become the "bad guys." Once again, the tone is set for Sac and its fans to step up. Either they work with the Kings and get a new arena OR the Maloofs/Kings move on to bigger and better surroundings ... with the NBA's blessing. To paraphrase Commissioner Stern: Sacramento doesn't have the type of facilities a lot of the other teams currently have. Good strategy by the Maloofs, don't you agree?
-- Daro, Rocklin
Answer: It may be a good strategy, but I think it's less a strategy on their part than it is a much-wanted breather from arena politics. The night Stern announced his involvement, I saw Gavin Maloof, who described his reaction as "I feel like a ton of bricks have been taken off our shoulders." The whole situation become overly emotional toward the end, with the Maloofs sick and tired of what they perceived as a constant bashing from the public (and mainly, in their eyes, by our paper). And I'm guessing that after six or so years of trying to do a deal with the city officials, they had lost some serious confidence in their ability to work together. What's more, there's the question of how focused and sharp they could have been on this topic with so much on their plate, from their casino to the seemingly countless forums they have a hand in. Stern offers a new face, not to mention a less-emotional and more qualified voice to represent the Kings and the NBA. If the situation was hopeless, I don't think Stern would get involved. This sort of intervention is unprecedented for him, a sign of how badly he wants the league to stay in Sacramento.
-- Sam Amick
Question: I really like Ronnie Price as a player, but he is no point guard. Why are the Kings not giving Hart who seems to be an active point guard minutes. He is the only true PG on the team. No offense to Mike, but he is a scorer first. Please give me your opinion. Is it a carryover from the Adelman error?
-- John Carter, Sacramento
Answer: Not sure what you mean by the "Adelman error," but I think the Price over Hart debate simply comes down to scoring. From president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie on down, this is an organization that sees little value in any player who can't provide some offense. Hart has some scoring ability - including a decent mid-range jumper - but he doesn't break people down like Ronnie can. What's more, it didn't help Jason's case that Ronnie has wound up to be quite a defender. When the Kings acquired Hart from Charlotte for a second-round pick, defense was the platform for his addition. He was supposed to be the perfect contrast to the high-scoring Mike Bibby. Price, though, is more athletic, can score and defend, not to mention being younger and cheaper. As you said, though, Ronnie is far from a conventional distributor, and the coaching staff has had to go to great lengths to implore him to limit his turnovers. Regardless, they feel the Price is right (couldn't resist:).
-- Sam Amick
Question:> How do the Kings play defense without a big man to anchor the defense Musselman wants? This grind-out game has worked so far for undisciplined offensive teams like the Bulls, Raptors and T-Wolves. I dont know if they can clamp down on a team like the Suns, Mavs or even the Spurs. What do you think?
-- Ed, D.C.
Answer: The Kings have been vulnerable down low for years, with people around the league ecstatic that they never found a shotblocker that so many saw as a huge missing piece. This team is no different. They cut Loren Woods, whose height (7-foot-2) had them wondering if he could fill the role in limited minutes but who didn't show enough oomph for their taste. They signed veteran Maurice Taylor, who is 6-9 and far from an intimidating defensive presence down low. Vitaly Potapenko may be able to pummel someone on their way into the paint, but he offers little in the way of vertical lift. The Kings' wingmen are going to have to get used to swinging away for weakside blocks and helping on their heels on occasion, but it won't always be enough. Brian Skinner, anyone?
-- Sam Amick