Sacramento Kings sign guard Ramon Sessions (Yahoo Sports)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings have signed guard Ramon Sessions.

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Sacramento Kings Find Free-Agent Steal with Ramon Sessions Signing

The Sacramento Kings opted to work out a sign-and-trade that sent former point guard Isaiah Thomas to the Phoenix Suns rather than pay him the four-year, $27 million contract he ultimately commanded.

And while the addition of Darren Collison goes a ways toward offsetting that loss, the organization remained in need of backcourt depth—particularly after agreeing to trade 15-year veteran Jason Terry to the Houston Rockets.

With the 2014-15 season suddenly around the corner, Sacramento has taken action.

Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports that, “Free-agent guard Ramon Sessions has reached agreement on a two-year, $4.2 million deal with the Sacramento Kings, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”

The deal—which, as Wojnarowski notes, uses the biannual exception—is a low-risk venture for the franchise.

Sessions remains a capable rotation player and has proven throughout his seven-year career that he can start in a pinch. The 28-year-old averaged 12.3 points and 4.1 assists after splitting time between the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) and Milwaukee Bucks.

After playing his first 55 games (and the 2012-13 season) in Charlotte, Sessions’ playing time swelled to 32.5 minutes per contest in 28 games with Milwaukee, yielding a corresponding spike in production and efficiency.

Given the right opportunities, the Nevada product has certainly had his moments.

The Kings reportedly view Sessions as a combo-guard.

USA Today‘s Sam Amick notes that he, “will be used at both the point guard and shooting guard positions,” a testament both to Sessions’ versatility and the extent to which Sacramento may view him as an integral part of the rotation.’s Brett Pollakoff went so far as to suggest that, “It could easily be argued that Sessions is the best point guard on the roster, and deserving of a spot in the team’s starting lineup.”

Though Collison—who’s scheduled to make $16 million over the next three seasons—figures to have a better shot at that starting job, the point remains that Sessions probably won’t have to beg for playing time. The last two summers’ lottery picks—Ben McLemore and Nik Stauskas—should see plenty of minutes at shooting guard, but Sessions’ experience makes him an attractive option at both backcourt positions.

Reserve point guard Ray McCallum—taken with the 36th overall pick in 2013—is entering just his second season.

As The Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones notes, “The Kings were looking for a veteran ball-handler to go with Collison, because McCallum is still a young player, and the only other option to run the offense might have been rookie Stauskas.”

So there’s a very real need for someone of Sessions’ pedigree.

To be sure, Sessions won’t radically alter Sacramento’s fate. This is still a team coming off of a 28-win season. It’s still a team that gave up 103.4 points per contest last season, ranking 23rd in defensive efficiency according to Hollinger’s NBA Team Statistics.

The 6’3″ Sessions affords head coach Mike Malone some valuable size (and skill) at the point guard spot, but he certainly won’t reverse the club’s fortunes single-handedly.

If we’re being honest, there’s a reason he was still available this late in the offseason despite being in the prime of his career. While the Houston Rockets were reportedly interested in acquiring him from Milwaukee via sign-and-trade, the market for Sessions’ services has been anything but robust.

He’s not a top-shelf defender, and his inability to stick with a franchise for any extended period of time has to make you wonder. 

A career that’s spanned five different teams and a variety of roles on and off the bench has yet to translate into a long-term home. That once seemed bound to change when Sessions was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012.

After 23 regular-season games and mixed postseason results, however, the two sides parted ways when Sessions opted to pursue a more stable situation elsewhere.

“It was one of those situations I looked at like, ‘If I do come back what if they trade me?’” Sessions told Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears after signing with Charlotte. “There were talks about getting Deron [Williams]. They always wanted the bigger-named guy. What if I get traded to a team and it’s my contract year?”

Ultimately, Charlotte wasn’t the answer, and Sessions was traded in February along with Jeff Adrien to Milwaukee in exchange for Gary Neal and Luke Ridnour.

Sessions has come a long way. He was drafted with the 56th overall pick in 2007 and spent time in the NBA Development League with the Tulsa 66ers during the 2007-08 season. 

Just remaining in the league is an accomplishment in its own right. Nothing has come easily for Sessions.

But as early as 2008, he dropped 24 assists in a game with the Bucks. In 2009, he scored a career-high 44 points in an overtime loss against the Detroit Pistons. Later that season, he posted his first triple-double (which included 16 assists) against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Those are signs of undeniable talent, and finding the right team fit may very well pave the way for similar results.

Is Sacramento that fit?


Malone has cultivated some much-needed stability and toughness, perhaps laying a foundation for the kind of defensive transformation that might finally elevate this team into the playoff picture for the first time since 2006.

Center DeMarcus Cousins has matured before our eyes and will be coming off of a successful tour with Team USA at the FIBA World Cup in Spain. Kings teammate Rudy Gay joined him in Spain and will look to build upon last season’s solid debut during his first full season in Sacramento.

And promising youth abounds. Beyond McLemore, Stauskas and McCallum, 23-year-old forward Derrick Williams is still looking to vindicate his selection as the No. 2 overall pick in 2011 (by the Minnesota Timberwolves).

Again, if we’re being honest, things could go either way for the Kings.

This could be the season they turn the corner, perhaps doing their best impersonation of last season’s surprising Phoenix Suns. But it could also be just another step in what’s become a protracted rebuilding process.

Either way, Sessions should have every opportunity to prove he belongs.

While he may not be an overnight sensation in Sacramento, there’s little doubt he’s the kind of bargain that could make a front office look good. 

And as an affordable last-minute addition, he certainly won’t make this front office look bad. 

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Sacramento Kings sign Casspi, Hollins

Sacramento Kings sign Omri Casspi, Ryan Hollins



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Sacramento Kings sign Casspi, Hollins (Yahoo Sports)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings have signed forward Omri Casspi and center Ryan Hollins.

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Sacramento Kings to retire Stojakovic’s jersey (Yahoo Sports)

MIAMI - JANUARY 22: Peja Stojakovic #16 of the Sacramento Kings grabs a rebound against the Miami Heat on January 22, 2006 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Sacramento Kings are planning to retire Peja Stojakovic’s No. 16 jersey.

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Early Predictions for Sacramento Kings’ Starting Lineup Next Season

As things currently stand with the Sacramento Kings, much is still up in the air with the team’s starting lineup. 

We know DeMarcus Cousins will be the starting center. Darren Collison is the only real option to be the starting point guard to open the season. It’s also clear Rudy Gay will be a starter, but where he plays is still up in the air. 

The good thing is Sacramento has some depth on the team and a few players with the versatility to play multiple positions. That’ll give head coach Michael Malone the flexibility to tinker with things during training camp and preseason until he finds what fits best. 

The downside, at least for our purposes, is that it makes predicting the starting lineup a difficult task. Still, using the knowledge at hand and some educated guessing, here’s an early prediction for the Sacramento Kings’ starting lineup next season.


The Prediction

Point guard: Darren Collison

Shooting guard: Ben McLemore

Small forward: Rudy Gay

Power Forward: Reggie Evans

Center: DeMarcus Cousins


The Reasoning

Point Guard

There are only two realistic options to start at point guard for the Kings: Collison and Ray McCallum. In actuality, though, Collison is the only one who has a shot to start the season as the starter. 

The Kings didn’t sign him to a three-year deal and let Isaiah Thomas walk only to have the point guard come off the bench. Plus, Sacramento pretty much told Collison he’d be the starter when it signed him back in July.

Not to mention Collison is the more experienced player at this stage of the game. 

McCallum showed some nice things as a rookie—especially at the end of the season, when he averaged 13.5 points and 6.8 assists over the final 12 games—and during summer league, but he needs more experience before he can be counted on as a long-term starter at point guard. 

Other than those two, there’s nobody else on the team who could fill in on an extended basis. Shooting guard Nik Stauskas can play some point guard, but it will only be for short stretches of time. Ben McLemore isn’t suited to be a point guard, either.

That leaves only Collison and McCallum, and we already know who’s going to start between the two. 


Shooting Guard

As with point guard, the two options are pretty clear. There’s the second-year player in McLemore and the rookie, Stauskas. Unlike point guard, however, this position could go either way as far as the starer is concerned. 

At the current time, all we have to go on in comparing the two is summer league stats, as both players were on Sacramento’s Las Vegas Summer League team. 

Interestingly enough, both McLemore and Stauskas played more minutes than any other players on the team, and they were both pretty close in playing time and production. 

Stauskas played 28.9 minutes and averaged 9.9 points, 2.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 turnovers. He also shot 43.4 percent from the field and 47.8 percent from downtown. 

McLemore, on the other hand, averaged 29.1 minutes and scored 12.6 points, grabbed 4.1 rebounds, dished out 1.3 assists and committed 3.9 turnovers per contest. The second-year player also shot 44.8 percent from the field and 30.4 percent from three-point range.

As you can see, each player had his strengths. Stauskas was the better shooter and distributor while McLemore was the better scorer and rebounder. However, the reason McLemore gets the nod is because of his experience.

It showed after the first couple games of summer league, when the shooting guard started to slow things down and let the game come to him.

“He stopped trying to do too much, too quickly,” Malone said, per Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “He slowed down, attacked, shot the ball, he was under control and he played terrific. I was really proud and happy because he’s worked so hard this summer.”

The head coach was only speaking of one game, but those traits held up throughout the summer league. After only making 33 percent of his shots in the first two games, McLemore was much more efficient throughout, leading to the nearly 45 percent field-goal percentage.

Ultimately, though, the reason McLemore gets the nod is because of his NBA experience. He’s got a full season under his belt and was the starter for the second half of last year. 

There will be plenty of opportunites for Stauskas from the get-go. If either McLemore falters or Stauskas plays better than expected, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the rookie supplant him in the starting lineup.


Small Forward

Rudy Gay is penciled in as the starting small forward mainly out of necessity. You may wonder why it’s a necessity since Gay is one of the team’s best players and logged 78 percent of his minutes at the 3 last year. 

The reason is a lack of depth at the position. Omri Casspi, who has yet to sign but is reportedly still in the plans, is probably the best option other than Gay. 

Granted, Derrick Williams can play some small forward, but he only made 28.6 percent of his shots from 17 feet or further from the basket. 

With Cousins manning the post, the Kings need someone who can stretch the floor with his shooting, and Williams’ jump shot won’t do the trick. 

There is another option, which we’ll get to momentarily, of where Gay could play. Yet the most important thing is getting their best players on the floor to start the game, and having a frontcourt of Gay and Reggie Evans is better than having one of Gay and Casspi

Plus, Casspi‘s three-point shooting (career 35.2 percent) would be a nice addition to stretch the floor with the second unit—especially with players like Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Williams on the floor, who do most of their work near the hoop. 


Power Forward

Between Evans, Thompson, Landry and Williams, the Kings have four options to start at power forward. 

Despite four possibilities, the Kings really only have one. What’s meant by that is they all play similar close-to-the-basket games. With that being the case, Sacramento should go with the one who does it best. 

While Evans isn’t much of a scorer, perhaps he’s the Kings’ best rebounder. The power forward averaged a team-high 13.3 rebounds per 36 minutes last year. Of those options, Thompson is next with 9.5, followed by Landry (8.8) and Williams (6.4).

Another option, which was alluded to previously, was the idea of playing Gay at power forward. It’s something he’s done with Team USA at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, and it would help spread the floor more than having any of the other players in there.

But starting Gay at power forward would require either Casspi or Williams starting at the 3. Since there are more viable alternatives at power forward, the Kings would be better off with Gay playing on the wing. 



This is the one position that’s undoubtedly set in stone. Barring some sort of injury, Cousins will be the Kings’ starting center in 2014-15. Hell, DMC will be the team’s starting center for the three years following that, too. 

Simply put, there aren’t many centers better than Cousins in the league. He was first in scoring, second in free-throw attempts per game, fourth in rebounds, third in assists, first in steals and second in double-doubles. 

If there’s maybe one or two centers better than Cousins in the league, none of them play for the Kings. That makes him a no-brainer as the starter. 

As things currently stand, the most likely backup is Thompson. Nearly one-third of his minutes came at center last year, and that was with Aaron Gray also on the roster. With Gray now gone, that only leaves Thompson as the backup.

Of course, JT will also get playing time at power forward as well. But given so many options at that position, playing center will allow him a way to get on the court. 

There’s a chance my long lost—and much bigger—brother, Sim Bhullar, could make the team and get some time at the 5.

However, despite his immense size (7’5″), Sim went undrafted (I get to speak in the third person), so it’s hard to imagine him making the roster out of training camp. He seems more like a project player. 

If the Kings are going to take on a project, it might as well be someone like Bhullar, who could be a handful if he ever figures it out. 


Final Thoughts

This is just one prediction. The Kings could go in any number of directions. And with training camp and preseason still left to play out, there’s plenty of time for one or more players to distinguish themselves. 

In a way, that’s a nice position to be in. It means there are a few players who are capable of contributing. Yet it also means there aren’t many players, with the exception of Cousins and Gay, who truly stand out. So while Malone has flexibility on the roster, the coach may prefer less options if it meant more players were head and shoulders above their teammates. 


Unless noted otherwise, all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

Who do you think should be in Sacramento’s starting lineup? Let me know on Twitter @SimRisso

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Ranking the 10 Best Sacramento Kings Point Guards of All Time

The Sacramento Kings have a rich tradition of top-class point guards comprised of deadly scorers, ball-handling magicians and pinpoint passers. Some will likely be remembered only by true Kings fans, while others will dominate the record books for decades.

The ranking system includes players who represented the Kings at any time during franchise history, including when the team was known as the Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals or Kansas City Kings.

Players were evaluated by what they did while members of the Kings organization, not the accomplishments they had with teams around the league. They also had to play point for most of their tenure with the Kings, so hybrid guards like Tyreke Evans weren’t considered.

Those who stuck around for longer were rewarded, even if their long-term stats fell a little short of others’ spurts of brilliance.

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Sacramento Kings: Rajon Rondo Still A Possibility?

What’s Happening With Rondo And Boston? I’ve lost track of just when all these Rajon Rondo rumors began, but it was quite a while ago now. The Boston Celtics seem to have looked into the possibility of moving Rajon Rondo for the best part of a year now, but still he remains in Beantown. One […]
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Sacramento Kings: Projecting The Starting Five

As the clock continues to tick down until the Sacramento Kings’ season opener against the Golden State Warriors, it seems about time to make an early projection of how their starting lineup will look on opening night. With a roster consisting of returning veterans, talented rookies and sophomores, and a free agent acquisition, Sacramento have […]
Sacramento Kings: Projecting The Starting Five – Hoops Habit – Hoops Habit – Analysis, Opinion and Stats All About The NBA

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What We Learned About the Sacramento Kings This Offseason

Despite going into it without a ton of cap space, this offseason has been anything but uneventful for the Sacramento Kings. Between the on-court and off-court changes, there’s been a lot going on.  

There was the draft, some roster turnover through free agency and trades, an upgrade on the coaching staff and a solid showing at summer league. All of those happenings should manifest into a new Kings team once the regular season gets underway.

Perhaps just as important, if not more so given the turmoil in getting to this point, the team and the city of Sacramento have cleared the major obstacles and broke ground on a new downtown sports and entertainment complex.

But what effect will those changes have on the team in 2014-15, and how will they shape the Kings in the future?


The New Roster

Center DeMarcus Cousins figures to be the anchor for the Kings in 2014-15. After opting into the last year of his contract, Rudy Gay will be by the big man’s side as the two key pieces. Yet some of the supporting cast has changed.

The biggest change, of course, is the departure of point guard Isaiah Thomas. Thomas was arguably Sacramento’s second-best player last year—behind Cousins—but the floor general has moved on to the Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade. 

Replacing him as the starting point guard will be Darren Collison, formerly of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Collison brings a different skill set to the table than Thomas. In some respects he’s better; in other respects he’s worse. Either way, things will be different.

With his defensive acumen, the Kings will have a point guard capable of slowing down the opposition and doing so with more versatility than that shown by Thomas.

According to, Collison was an above-average defender against both point guards and shooting guards. He held 1-guards to a player efficiency rating of 12.9 and 2-guards to a PER of 11.9, where a score of 15.0 is average.

Thomas, while not a liability, wasn’t as strong of a defender or as versatile. Per, he held opposing point guards to a PER of 14.5 and, due to his 5’9″ frame, wasn’t capable of covering shooting guards.

Of course, Thomas is the better offensive player. He had a higher PER, averaged more points per game, more assists and had a higher offensive rating.

As Blake Ellington of SacTown Royalty points out, there are pros and cons in each player:

The Kings wanted more ball movement, less dribbling and to run at a faster pace. Grantland’s Zach Lowe recently pointed out that Thomas dribbled the ball nearly 200 more times than Collison did per 36 minutes last season. Lowe also pointed out, however, that the Kings played at a faster pace with Thomas on the floor last season than the Clippers did with Collison. And let’s not forget Fireplug’s very eloquent fan post about how Collison is a more willing passer than Thomas.

To help make up for some of it, there were other switches to the roster. By way of the draft, the Kings selected shooting guard Nik Stauskas.

Stauskas should help the team with his perimeter shooting. Sacramento only made 33.3 percent of its three-pointers last season. With Stauskas‘ ability to knock down open shots, that percentage should increase.

Yet the selection was also somewhat puzzling in that the Kings drafted shooting guard Ben McLemore in last year’s draft. It’ll be interesting to see if the two can coexist together or whether this—as’s Scott Howard-Cooper points out—could hinder McLemore‘s development.

Sacramento made a few smaller moves. It brought back a familiar face in Omri Casspi, who will provide depth at the forward positions, as well stretch the floor with three-point shooting.

In addition to that, the Kings traded Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw to the New York Knicks for what works out to be a second-round pick. The Kings also received Jeremy Tyler and Wayne Ellington in the deal, but Sam Amick of USA Today reported they’ll likely waive them before the season gets underway.


Tyrone Corbin Should Fortify the Coaching Staff

After years as an assistant, last season was Michael Malone’s first as a head coach in the NBA. Because of that, he wanted a lead assistant with some experience in the lead chair.

He brought in his father, Brendan, who has had multiple stints as a head coach. However, the senior Malone resigned just prior to the season, leaving his son without an experienced coach as his lead assistant.

As such, Malone made adding a coach to fill that void one of his top priorities this offseason, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:

The reality is Chris Jent, Corliss Williamson, Micah NoriDee Brown and Ryan Bowen, none of those guys had the experience my father had. … I’m not looking to hire a guy who is going to say yes to everything I say. I want a guy who is going to argue with me, challenge me, and make me the best coach Michael Malone can be, and that’s what I’m looking to do.

Malone found his man when he hired former Utah Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin as his lead assistant. Corbin has 258 games of experience as an NBA head coach, and he’s someone Malone can draw on, as he pointed out to Jason Jones:

I’m going to try to steal as much as I can from Ty and learn from him. He’s been in the same seat I’m in. I can lean on him and learn from his experiences. He’s a guy that had two .500-plus seasons at Utah and led a team to the playoffs. Just a guy who has the experience but more importantly as a coach who can help me.

Having Corbin on the bench will only strengthen the Kings coaching staff. Not only does Corbin have the experience as a head coach to draw upon, but he also played 16 seasons in the NBA, providing him a player’s perspective.

In addition to that, he was an assistant under all-time great Jerry Sloan. That brings even more credibility and knowledge that will be a benefit for Malone and the Kings.


Summer League Champs

The Kings did something they haven’t done in a while: They won something. Granted, it was the Las Vegas Summer League, but at least it’s a start.

In some respects, winning the league wasn’t that big of an accomplishment. The Kings had a pretty experienced roster, boasting Derrick Williams, MarShon Brooks, Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum, Quincy Acy and Jared Cunningham, all of whom had prior NBA experience.

What does make it worth mentioning, though, was the way in which the team played. It began playing the style of basketball Coach Malone prefers. Players were communicating, moving the ball, helping out on defense, which is what Ray McCallum mentioned to Jason Jones:

I think a lot of it is we’re sharing the ball, we’re playing for each other, we’re defending, and when we get stops on the defensive end, our team is very athletic and gets out in transition, and good things happen.

We’ve added a couple different sets, we’ve kind of changed the offense around a little bit, and some of the guys returning have a better understanding of coach Malone’s system. And once we get back to training camp, I think we can be fine.

Whether those things translate to the regular season remains to be seen, which is why you can’t get too high over the team’s summer league triumph. But it’s a more encouraging sign than if Sacramento won by virtue of its more experienced roster than by a fundamental change in the way it’s playing.


A New Palace for the Kings

It’s been a long time coming, but the Kings are finally on their way to getting a new arena built in downtown Sacramento. It only took relocation attempts to Seattle, Anaheim and Virginia Beach, among other smaller endeavors, to get to this point.

When Vivek Ranadive bought the Kings in the spring of 2013, it was a good sign the Kings were staying in town. However, the NBA still held the option of relocating the team if a new arena wasn’t built. With the project breaking ground a few weeks back, that looks to be a moot point.

As far as what the arena will mean for the Kings on the court in 2014-15, it probably won’t have much of an effect. The team will still be playing in Sleep Train Arena, and with the new building still in construction, it can’t be used as a marketing tool to entice other players to come to the Kings.

However, the new building will only further endear the fanbase to this team. Considering the place the Kings hold in Sacramento—as the only major league sports team—that can’t be understated.

As Ranadive stated to the fans on opening night 2013-14: “Sacramento, I have just one thing to say to all of you and let’s never forget that one thing: This is your team, and it’s here to stay.” 

With the new arena and dedicated fans, there’s now truth to the owner’s sentiments.


The Takeaway 

The Kings haven’t been a playoff-caliber team for a while—eight seasons, to be exact. They may not be very good in 2014-15 either, but it’s not for a lack of trying.

Say what you will about the team and some of the decisions it’s made, but all of them were made with one goal in mind: winning. Right or wrong, the team has no interest in gaming the system like some teams—cough, Philadelphia 76ers, cough—in order to get a top draft pick.

Even in a difficult Western Conference and with a cap situation that was less than friendly, Sacramento came into the offseason focused on reloading, not rebuilding.

Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling caught up with general manager Pete D’Alessandro following the team’s summer league title and asked him about the expectations for the Kings entering the season. D’Alessandro made it crystal clear that winning is the priority:

We want to make the playoffs next season. We want that for our fans. We’re trying to make the right moves, but aggressive moves. To me, people say, “Well, it’s the West.” But I don’t want to use the West as an excuse for anything. To me, it should be our opportunity to motivate our guys, it should be a challenge to our players: “You’re in the West, so do it in the West.”

I thought what Phoenix did last year was phenomenal; they were right there on the doorstep. So how do we get ourselves to the point where every night the game matters? That’s what we want. That’s what we want for this year.

On the surface, it may be puzzling to think the Kings drafted a shooting guard after selecting one the prior year. At first glance, the decision to swap Isaiah Thomas for a less-productive player in Darren Collison doesn’t make a ton of sense.

But everything that’s transpired has been part of a plan—even if it’s one that’s yet to be realized.

We may not know what the Kings are doing or how it will get them to their end goal, but we do know why they’re doing it. 

The Kings are simplistic in this regard—they just want to win. 


Unless noted otherwise, all stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.

What have you learned about the Kings this offseason? Let me know on Twitter @SimRisso.

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