You can almost hear him now:
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