COACH: Reggie Theus | 2007-08: 38-44
Sacramento Kings

Martin is poised to shed his anonymity.
Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images
Second-year Kings head coach Reggie Theus has to be careful not to pull a Rick Pitino when addressing his oh-so-young squad this season.

You can almost hear him now:

Ron Artest isn’t walking through that door! Mike Bibby isn’t walking through that door! Shareef Abdur-Rahim isn’t walking through that door …”

No Reg, they’re not. The three players on the Kings’ 2007-08 opening day roster with the most experience, career accomplishments and name recognition have all fled Cow Town like stragglers from the herd. But fortunately for Theus, he’s still left with a nice collection of malleable spring chickens to work with.

Who cares if they’re virtually anonymous to the average fan.

They are led by Kevin Martin who has a name that makes you think Coldplay and a game that makes you think cold-blooded. The 6-7, 185-pound shooting guard is one of the most proficient scorers in the league thanks to a wonky, yet reliable J and a knack for getting to the charity stripe where he hit .869 of his attempts last season.

He’s flanked by Brad Miller who casual observers might remember for his flameout on U.S.A. Basketball’s 2006 World Championship entry followed by a nightmarish 2006-07 season when his production dipped across the board. Just like Knight Rider, 90210 and NKOTB Miller is on the comeback trail after putting up a solid campaign last year and taking Spencer Hawes under his wing.

After Martin and Miller, the Kings’ collective Q-Rating takes a major hit.

Their next three best players statistically speaking are Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia and John Salmons whose names, if you're like me, make you immediately think of Sacha Baron Cohen, a Major League Baseball relief pitcher and a lawyer in a John Grisham novel, respectively.

That’s not to say they can’t play. Udrih is a crafty point guard who can control the tempo and has decent court vision; Garcia was awarded a five-year, $30 million deal this summer by the Kings’ brass for his progress and Salmons is the living definition of “solid” with his does-a-little-bit-of-everything numbers and ability to play three positions.

This group of unknowns and underrateds was able to claw its way to 38 wins in the deeper-than-the-Mariana-Trench West last season. If its young talent progresses sooner rather than later, Theus’ squad just might see that number rise.

Hawes, along with rookies Jason Thompson and Donte Greene, are all 6-11 or taller and all carry the reputation of giving opposing defenses all they can handle with their versatile games. Hawes is the wide body with the soft touch, Thompson’s the wide body with the rough touch and Greene’s the long body with the touch from long range. If they can all reach their potential, Sacto will have a frontcourt of the future worthy of sharing minutes with K-Mart and the rest of the guards.

The door is closed on the past. All that’s left in Sacramento are a bunch of guys whose future looks bright.

-- Dave McMenamin

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Hawes
Top 10 picks just aren't what they used to be.

If you were picked in the top 10 in the past, that usually meant you were a contributor from jumpstart. Minutes, production, recognition ... the whole shebang. But now? You can be one of the first 10 guys to shake David Stern's hand on Draft night and spend your first year "developing."

Spencer Hawes only averaged 13.1 minutes per game last season and put up 4.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while he was out there. His free throw shooting (.655) was pedestrian and his three-point shooting was even worse (.190). He showed flashes of what could become in April when he closed out the season by hitting double-digit scoring in six out of his last eight games.

If Hawes can hurry up his learning curve -- maybe throw it in the microwave instead of the broiler -- he has the ability to start showing up on top 10 highlight packages ... and justify his selection as a top 10 pick.

-- Dave McMenamin

THE STAT
5 The number of different cities (Rochester, Cincinatti, Kansas City, Omaha, Sacramento) the franchise has played in since their origin in 1945.
There isn’t much here to get excited about.
The better players like Bobby Jackson (a nice but not outstanding point guard), Brad Miller and Kenny Thomas are on the downside of their careers.
The young guys, led by Kevin Martin, truly one of the better young players in the league, aren’t enough to move this team to the next level.
With Artest gone and Abdur-Rahim retiring the Kings are looking to their youth and a style change to excite their fan base.
Players like Spencer Hawes, Jason Thompson and Beno Udrih are being counted on to carry this team behind Martin. Sorry, but that’s just not enough ammo even if they can push the possession total to over 100 per game.
Salmons and Garcia are nice players but role players nonetheless.
It will be interesting to see how patient the Maloofs will be if the team doesn’t play well early. Theus could be one of the first coaches to get the ax.
-- NBA Scout
Martin’s rise from obscurity to elite status continues to amaze. He proved his breakout 2006-07 season was no fluke, with another 20-plus point, 4.5-board, 2.1-assist and 1.0-steal campaign. The only guards to outscore Martin on a points-per-game basis: Kobe Bryant and Allen Iverson.

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NBA.com Fantasy Index

Record: 29-53, 13th in Western Conference
Playoffs: No postseason
Scoring Leader: K. Martin, 22.0 PPG
Rebounding Leader: B. Miller, 9.5 RPG
Assist Leader: B. Udrih, 7.6 APG

Simulated Season Details
PLAYER/2007-08 STATS PPG RPG APG
PG Beno Udrih 12.8 3.3 4.3
SG Kevin Martin 23.7 4.5 2.1
SF John Salmons 12.5 4.3 2.6
PF Mikki Moore 8.5 6.0 1.0
C Brad Miller 13.4 9.5 3.7

G Bobby Brown -- -- --
F-G Francisco Garcia 12.3 3.3 1.6
F Donte Greene -- -- --
C Spencer Hawes 4.7 3.2 0.6
G Bobby Jackson 7.7 2.5 1.9
F Jason Thompson -- -- --
F-C Shelden Williams 4.0 3.2 0.3
G Bobby Brown Free agent
F Donte Greene Trade
F Jason Thompson Draft
F Ron Artest Trade
G Anthony Johnson Free agent
PPG Kevin Martin 23.7
RPG Brad Miller 9.5
APG Beno Udrih 4.3
SPG Ron Artest 2.3
BPG Brad Miller 1.1
Points Scored 102.53 (8th)
Points Allowed 104.79 (24th)
Field-Goal Percentage .464 (10th)
Opponents' FG% .466 (23rd)
Rebounding Diff. -1.82 (23rd)
TV: News10, CSN-Sacramento
Radio: KHTK 1140 AM
Web: Official site
Local Coverage: Sacramento Bee