With five games remaining in the Kings' regular season, which means they are a virtual lock to secure one of the top four picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, Geoff Petrie and staff members these next few weeks will be off scouting, working out players, and traveling overseas. Before the Kings-Lakers game earlier tonight, Petrie told me he planned to attend the Euroleague Final Four in Berlin May 1-3, but believed he was traveling overseas about a week earlier. I am absolutely certain that, among his many duties, he will be gathering information about Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, the teenage whiz who also unfortunately happens to be under contract to DKV Joventut. We can keep hearing that Rubio is trying to buy out his contract and enter the NBA, but we'll see.
So let's get started ...
Here are the players I believe would most benefit the Kings, in order. (This week, anyway):
1. Blake Griffin. Oklahoma
2. Ricky Rubio. DKV Joventut
3. Jonny Flynn. Syracuse
4. Tyreke Evans. Memphis
Back in the building
Kings co-owner Joe Maloof, who missed the Vlade Divac retirement ceremony because he was bedridden with a bad back, attended Tuesday's game with his brother, Gavin, and his mother, Colleen. "Back, hips, knees, they're all related," said Joe Maloof, shaking his head. He underwent double-knee replacement surgery in October and is still hobbling along
Final thoughts on Kings-Lakers
* It was interesting to note that the crowd began favoring the Lakers about the time the Kings subs reverted to their usual one-on-one, my turn, your turn style of offense, in sharp contrast to the play of the starters in the fast-paced and entertaining first period.
* The Kings' futility from three-point range was ghastly, especially that of the reserves. Donte Greene was 1-for-7, Bobby Jackson 0-for-4 and Rashad McCants 0-for-3.
* I spoke with Luke Walton for a few minutes after the game, and asked how his father - Hall of Fame center Bill Walton - was feeling. Luke said his dad, who had surgery to fuse vertebrae in his lower back a few months ago, remains pretty immobile. He's only allowed to walk around the house for brief periods. Yet, attesting yet again to Vlade Divac's reputation within the NBA, when I left a message for Bill last week, explaining that I was writing a series of articles and columns about Vlade, he called early the next morning, and said he would be delighted to talk about Divac. He then proceeded to go on and on about Vlade's extraordinary court vision and passing skills. Here's wishing Bill the best. I covered him when he played for the San Diego Clippers - at a time when he attended Stanford Law School during the week, and played for the Clips on the weekends, when his ailing feet permitted - and he was always a classy, cooperative person.
* After a shaky start to the season, and a lengthy slump following Reggie Theus' dismissal, Francisco Garcia is finishing strong.