Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

June 26, 2009
Kings war room is a peaceful place

Kings coach Paul Westphal described the Kings draft "war room" - a term I detest, by the way - as a unified, cohesive place, even as Geoff Petrie, the scouts, the new assistant coaches, etc., waited to hear what the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder were going to do with their respective Nos. 2 and 3 NBA Draft picks. I heard the Kings were particularly concerned about the Grizzlies, whose owner, Michael Heisley, makes it clear every year that he makes the final decisions, and can trump the basketball people at a moment's notice. (As I frequently note, among intrusive NBA owners, the Maloofs are in the lower echelon). But this, from the new Kings coach: "It (the draft) always throws you a few curveballs. The first 15 minutes were the toughest. We were scared to death that something was going to happen that would change the scenario that allowed him (Tyreke Evans) to come to us. We sweated every second ... The final decision is always Geoff (Petrie), with a possibility the Maloofs deciding differently. That's the hierarchy. The good thing is, we were on same page ... and Geoff is really good at (sorting) through it and getting to the core part of what the decision should be.''

Not a stats freak, but still ...

As I wrote in today's editions of The Bee, I liked the selection of Tyreke Evans because he is considered such a major talent. My feeling all along has been that the Kings should draft Ricky Rubio because they desperately need a point guard and would benefit from his entertaining, flashy style - assuming his buyout situation was resolved, of course - or go with the physically gifted Evans, who is more of a combo guard. Every NBA type I've spoken with these past few days believes Evans is going to be a big-time player. Not everyone, however, is convinced he is going to be a big-time NBA point guard. Unlike Derrick Rose, Evans' predecessor at Memphis, his assist to turnover ratio gives one pause. In 29 minutes per game, the 6-foot-4 (without shoes) Evans averaged 3.9 assists and 3.6 turnovers. He attacks the rim, breaks down defenders (see his abuse of Stephen Curry in last Sunday's workout), can post up and draw double teams, and undeniably brings a physical toughness. But the best passer on this Kings roster is Spencer Hawes, the starting center, and so far, Spence is not Bill Walton or Vlade Divac. Who sets up Kevin Martin? Finds Jason Thompson and Hawes where they are most effective? The good news is, the Kings' talent level jumped appreciably. But the personnel has to fit. It will be interesting....

What of Rubio?

Watching the young point guard's face when he fall when he wasn't drafted by the Kings at No.4 was revealing. Watching his reaction when he was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves five minutes later was almost painful. He was crushed. He (and his agent, Dan Fegan) obviously wanted things to work out differently in Sacramento. That's why you have to remain skeptical when new Wolves boss David Kahn - former owner of the NBDL Reno Bighorns, by the way - says he plans on pairing Rubio and Jonny Flynn in the backcourt. Those phone lines to Mike D'Antoni's New York Knicks are probably buzzing as we speak ....

He will be missed

Word of Michael Jackson's passing cast an immense pall over Arco Arena in the hours preceding the draft. With the televisions inside the building turned to CNN, fans, journalists, Kings employees, etc., gathered around the sets, stunned by the news, eager for more information. As a New York native who spent her teen years in Las Vegas, I remember grabbing my fake I.D. and going with friends to see the Jackson 5 at the lounge shows on The Strip. How ridiculous was this? While The Osmonds were performing for megabucks in the main showrooms at places like Caesars Palace, us poor UNLV college students could walk into the lounge shows (free of charge), sip a single watered-down drink for about $2, and spend hours being dazzled by Michael and his brothers. Sad, tragic ending for an incredible entertainer ...

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