Sacramento Kings

Martin appeared in 45 games for the Kings this season.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
2005 DRAFT SELECTIONS
No. 23
CURRENT FREE AGENTS
Erik Daniels (restricted)
Maurice Evans (restricted)
Eddie House (unrestricted)
Bobby Jackson (team option)
Cuttino Mobley (player has right to terminate contract)
Darius Songaila (player option)
RECENT DRAFT SELECTIONS
2004: 26. Kevin Martin, Western Carolina
48. Ricky Minard, Morehead State
2002: 28. Dan Dickau, Gonzaga
58. Corsley Edwards, Central Connecticut State
2001: 25. Gerald Wallace, Alabama
55. Maurice Jeffers, St. Louis
2000: 16. Hidayet Turkoglu, Turkey
45. Jabari Smith, LSU
By Bill Evans

When the 2004-05 season began: There was little question the Sacramento Kings would continue to enjoy success in 2004-05, but were they still contender for the NBA crown? Coming off of a 55-27 season, the Kings brought back nearly the entire cast – minus free agent Vlade Divac and expansion draft casualty Gerald Wallace – for another run at the elusive West crown.

What happened? The Kings willingness to replace Divac with younger free agent Greg Ostertag provided some foreshadowing for those paying close attention. Geoff Petrie’s decision not to bring back Divac was prescient, as Divac, who started 454 of the Kings 458 games the last six seasons, appeared in only 15 games for the Lakers in 2004-05.

Recognizing that other key figures on the Kings roster may have passed their prime, Petrie commenced an overhaul that would jettison two talented and popular members of the Kings nucleus while they still had value on the trade market.

Doug Christie had started all but four games for the Kings since joining the team before the 2000-01 season. Nevertheless, the 34-year-old shooting guard were shipped to Orlando in January for Cuttino Mobley, 29, a talented scorer with deadly three-point range.

One month later, Chris Webber, the player most synonymous with the team’s turnaround, was dealt to Philadelphia at the trade deadline for Corliss Williamson, Brian Skinner and Kenny Thomas. Nearly 32, with a history of recent injuries, Webber was dealt for three players 6-7 or taller, all of whom are younger.

In six months, without enduring a painful, rebuilding that would risk alienating the fan base, Petrie had fashioned an experienced team built around Brad Miller, Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby that had no player over the age of 32.

Despite lengthy injuries to Miller (26 games), Stojakovic (16 games) and Bobby Jackson (57 games), this team won 50 games despite finishing the season with eight players who weren’t on the roster the previous season. The sixth-seeded Kings lost to the Sonics, 4-1, in the first round of the playoffs.

What now? It would seem most of the heavy lifting has already been done in Sacramento, where Jackson is the only principal not under contract for next season. Bibby, 27, Stojakovic, 28, and Miller, 29, are all in their prime.

Whether they opt to bring back Jackson, 32, or address the need with the 23rd pick, the Kings do need to find some depth at the point guard position.

They also could add another big body or two to an undersized team that has only three players 6-10 or taller; two centers and Stojakovic. The players who vie for time at the power forward are all in the 6-7 to 6-9 range.