2013-14 record: 28-54, did not make playoffs.
Draft picks: No. 8.
Top talent: C DeMarcus Cousins, PG Isaiah Thomas, SF Rudy Gay, SG Ben McLemore, F Derrick Williams.
Notable free agents: Thomas (restricted); Gay (player option); G Jared Cunningham, C Aaron Gray.
I love the Sacramento Kings.
There. I said it. And I apologize for nothing.
And I think the Kings are close to very good things. Or at least a-lot-better things. The Kings have a fantastic fan base and play in a city that cares deeply for the franchise. They deserve success.
They also have some real young talent in Cousins and Thomas. I think Cousins is the most well-rounded offensive center in the league. He's up there, skill-wise, with other talented bigs -- power forwards like Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.
It's true that Cousins has a little bit of an edge to him. That's OK. I like that. As long as he keeps it in check, it's a good thing.
As for Thomas, he's more of a scorer than a true point guard. That's OK, too. It works here. It works with Cousins (and Gay). The Kings should work to keep Thomas -- a restricted free agent. The same goes for Gay (assuming he opts out of his contract). They have their own "Big Three." It's important to keep them together.
Of course, there's also all that talk about the Timberwolves and Love. He's supposedly available. Yahoo Sports has reported the Kings are willing to trade for him, even if he doesn't sign a contract extension or commit beyond next season first. My sources have said the same.
I'd be OK with that if I'm a Kings fan. Just don't trade Cousins. With Cousins and Love, I could play point guard and we'd win 50 games. (OK, maybe 45ish.)
But the bottom line is the Kings have lots of reasons to start feeling good. They can keep their core of Cousins, Thomas and Gay, continue to watch McLeMore develop (I'm a fan), and bring in another young talent with the eighth overall draft pick.
Or they can mortgage the farm for a season of Love, then hope he re-signs because they're winning. Or they can trade the eighth pick ...
Well, you get the idea: Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro has options. He has a supportive ownership group, a respected coach in Mike Malone, and a roster full of assets.
I love the Kings, and if you love the NBA, you should at least be able to appreciate them. Good things seem to be on the way.