Posted by: Kingsguru21 | June 26, 2009

Toughness is the word of the day

Tyreke Evans. Omri Casspi. Jon Brockman. All are labeled as tough/physical presences. For a team that needed some of that, I don’t know that I much give a shit that I was pissed off. (How much rational thinking do you think I would do if I was so obsessed about how much I hated the Evans pick that I paced the 10 feet between my door & chair–I live in a glorified cardboard box– and was practically foaming at the mouth about how much I hated the pick? I did this for a good 15 mins.)

Sufficiently calm, now, I can see why the Kings did this. It is, after all, easy enough to understand.

There are plenty of teams that don’t win with “pure” point guards, but if you want one, the Kings got one too last night. He’s even Spanish. Just not Ricky Rubio.

For whatever it’s worth, I like the pick up of Sergio Rodriguez. I think Rodriguez has the chance to get better as a player, but quite honestly, I think it was done for financial reasons. I think the Kings saw a chance to pick up some cash for a player who wouldn’t be on their team long term along with they didnt’ have to give up a valuable part of their core.

Getting money to pay Rodriguez, Brockman’s and another potential player’s salary is hardly a risky move right? Especially when you don’t need to pick Brockman at the 31st overall pick. (Pendergraph probably makes quite a bit of sense in Portland actually.)

Another forgotten point in all of this is how much Casspi’s buyout with his Israeli team, Maccabi Tel Aviv, will cost. I imagine that detail will come out in the next few days. That would be worth getting the extra cash from Portland also.

That’s all assuming the Kings got 3 million in cash (which I’m hoping for their sake they did) because when you add up how much the 3 above mentioned player’s salary in, the Maloof’s still make some money. In a season where they lost a lot of money, every bit very much helps.

Which brings me back to Sergio Rodriguez. What can he do? He can push the pace and is creative in the open court. He’s also excellent at penetrating in the halfcourt. The problems? Everything else.

I don’t expect much from Sergio, but he’s not to blame for any problems next season. He’s just a short term solution that likely won’t mean as much to the Kings in the long term. (I think it’s very similar to the deal that brought Sergei Monia to the Kings.)

After all, the Kings have to have 13 players, as per the CBA, and why not take money on to pay that player. Especially when the team trading him is paying it for you. (That’s what happens when you’re trying to clear cap room like Portland is. I imagine something is being mentioned about Darius Miles as well. But that’s going to be a long term solution rather than one that impacts them in the next 5-6 days.)

Speaking of funny, read this bit by Chad Ford:

I thought the Kings ultimately would do the right thing and take Rubio, but instead they take Evans. He’s not a point guard. But he’s a physical combo guard who knows how to get to the rim. He can’t shoot much and isn’t super athletic, but he’s big and strong and he’ll make an impact right away. This was a short-term pick. It will look good early, but I wonder how it will look in five years.

I don’t think it takes much to point out how pissed I was. I was under the impression that Evans was more limited, but that might have been personal bias on Ford’s part.

Everything Ford up there says is true, but really, what teams automatically win with pure PG’s? Orlando doesn’t have one in Jameer Nelson. Houston ditto. Does LA even have a “PG”? Does Rajon Rondo qualify? What about Cleveland?

I think I’ve made my point.

I don’t believe in pure PG’s, or whatever, but at the same time I did believe (and still do to an extent) that Evans worth is in his own scoring ability. What separates a scorer from being a franchise player in the NBA is being to able create shots for himself and others in a variety of ways. Clearly the Kings believe that is the case with Evans. Otherwise, why pass up players who probably fit a whole lot better?

Evans probably can play better in the open court than i was believing anyway. Plus, he is absolutely the best rebounding G in this draft. G’s that can rebound in college can rebound at a high rate in the NBA. They usually have another name for these guys too: Superstar’s.

Is Evans guaranteed to be a Superstar? Course not. Nobody is. LeBron wasn’t. But, he is. Evans may not have the hype from day 1, but neither did Chris Paul. I think Evans will be okay, as is Paul.

What I do know is that the Kings placed a premium on physical defense and rebounding. (It’s one reason they didn’t pick Derrick Brown. If he was a bit better at rebounding, I think they would have absolutely taken him instead of Casspi. But, that’s me. And, Brown might turn out to be better than anybody thinks.)

The Kings got tougher, more athletic, and faster. They didn’t necessarily gain all of those things in one player, but stopping Evans in the open court will be very difficult. He was described as a “freight train” by Gavin Maloof. LeBron James is often described the same way. The difference is Evans isn’t anywhere the same level of leaper LeBron is.

As far as handling the ball and running the PG, one thing that does get overlooked (and I think his supporters may not have realized it) is that Evans has been a PG his whole life. It’s the only position he played in High School and in college (effectively).

As far as Casspi and Brockman’s potential to contribute, I do think that Casspi is less likely to be a contributor right away. First, you have Garcia, Nocioni, Greene, Thompson among others ahead of him. I do think that Casspi needs to improve some of his shooting to get more court time, but that isn’t terribly difficult to demand of a young player. Evans and Brockman needs to improve their shooting as well.

I think Brockman will likely get more time to begin with because he’s tough and can rebound. These are the things the Kings need, and likely Brockman will get minutes because he can hit a perimeter shot when he gets his chances. Plus, if he finishes at a high level inside, I think he’ll make it easier for Westphal to keep him on the court. He’s a lunch pail/hard hat type of guy. So is Casspi interestingly enough, and both can prove to be valuable to this team long term.

Casspi was born to play in the open court. Brockman, I think, will have some adjusting to it, but I think he might be able to do it. How well he’s able to get up & down may determine his long term ability to stay in this league and provide value to the Kings.

I do have to give a hat tip to the Kings organization. It’s easy to see why they took Evans, and ignored people (like me and Chad Ford–gee, whose employing whom here?) who criticized the pairing. It’s also easy to see why the Kings believe so heavily in the 3 guys they picked, and maybe why getting a pure PG wasn’t that big of a deal with Rodriguez around.

The Kings got 4 players out of 3 picks. For a team with 8 guaranteed contracts (5 of whom have the potential to be valuable core players, or are already), that isn’t a bad haul in one day’s work. It’s why you do the scouting to begin with.

Salary cap note: The Kings were able to do this deal because they had a trade exception left over from the Ron Artest deal. But, they wouldn’t have been able to cover the salary if they hadn’t done it before July 1st. So, by doing it yesterday they were able to cover the trade exception and help Portland create salary cap room. Talk about smart. The Kings don’t even need to renounce that trade exception now. (They would had have to done so in order to the cap room.)

As far as the salary cap, and what kind of moves can be expected in free agency, I think a lot of this depends on how much cap room the Kings could have. Taking on Rodriguez’s salary (about 1.5 million) was not a way to create more cap room.

But, with the draft picks (and I’ll include and break this down in a minute) and Rodriguez’s salary, the Kings weren’t likely to have much cap room to begin with. In fact one of the biggest waste of argument’s, and fallacies, is that the 2010 FA market can help a lot of teams. Unless you’re grabbing one of the big name guys, and I don’t see how the Kings are more appealing than every big market with cap room (which may happen), than it’s pretty futile to expect a team to sign a player to a contract without having the market advantage to do so. Plus, it’s very expensive.

The cheapest way to build a team is with young players. The Kings just got 4, and have 5 elsewhere on the roster. Isn’t that a way to build a team responsibly? Me thinks yes.

These are the 8 players that are on the roster next year in terms of salary:

Kevin Martin: 9,680,170
Kenny Thomas: 8,775,000
Andres Nocioni: 7,500,000
Beno Udrih: 6,031,800
Francisco Garcia: 5,800,000
Spencer Hawes: 2,332,800
Jason Thompson: 2,035,920
Donte Greene: 870,000

Due to salary scale (and the 20% that Evans will almost certainly get), this is the 4th overall pick money Evans will get: 3,008,400. When you add the 20% in, it will amount to 3,610,080 for Evans this season. Casspi will cost about 972,500 (assuming the Kings don’t up or downgrade his salary which they can do by 20% in each case), and Brockman will likely get a 3 year deal salary scale similar to players in his position (which starts about 450K or so).

When you add in that the Kings will be also paying Mikki Moore 2 million (or slightly less depending if he signs another contract with another team), that’s what’s killing the Kings cap right now.

Side Note Alert: I suppose this all kills any chance the Kings have of thinking about Rashad McCants. I’m sure Ike Diogu could be in play, but I doubt it. Would you rather the Kings play Diogu or Omri Casspi? Yeah, I’d rather see Casspi play too. Plus, it’s probably cheaper to get a player who fills a greater need than Diogu does. Especially if you don’t see him fitting into your team long term. I do suppose it’s possible the Kings could do a S&T with Diogu, but whose gonna sign him to a big contract?

Side note over.

But, if the cap is projected to go down for the 2010 off-season, how reasonable is it really to expect the Kings to spend money?

Right now, it looks like the Kings will have roughly 35 million before the 2009 draft picks are added to salary. When you include them you will have about 41 million in committed salary just with the draft picks alone they have from 2009. If you took last year’s salary cap (about 58.7 million), and set a minimum salary cap it would be just over 44 million. The lowest salaried team was Memphis at about 54 million and change.

Get it now?

There isn’t much point to spending money before you have to. Plus, with all these young players, at some point you’re going to have to pay them, and paying extensions on young players is not always cheap. Saving a resource for another time is always a smart way to go about things. I would much rather the Kings forgo paying a big money salary in free agency to keep all their young players instead. Especially if this is anything near a young talented core as I think it is.

None of this mentions the fact that the Kings (barring a trade) will have 2 more draft picks, and if the Kings only win 25 games, you’re looking at another (potential) high impact player in what is more likely to be a much deeper draft if only because all of the players that pulled out this season will be much more likely to enter the 2010 draft.

Also, when you mention the Ron Artest deal, you could pretty much pencil in the players the Kings got in from that deal: Bobby Jackson (no longer on the roster), Donte Greene (has the talent to be a terrific core player in this league), and Omri Casspi (has the talent to be a terrific role player who can help a team in a variety of ways). That’s a great haul considering that the Kings didn’t have a great bargaining position with regards to Artest.

Plus, the silver lining is that it set this team up to be bad for the next several seasons as they were bad enough (with competition) to secure the 4th overall pick (and the 31st overall pick) in a draft where having a higher selection was far more valuable in all likelihood than not.

One can say the Kings got Bobby Jackson, Donte Greene and Omri Casspi in the deal for Artest. But, truthfully, I would look at it like this instead: The Kings got Bobby Jackson, Donte Greene, Omri Casspi, Tyreke Evans, Jon Brockman, and Sergio Rodriguez.

I like the odds of having a franchise or two altering player(s) out of 4 drafted players, and one still young 3 year veteran. Other than B-Jax, none of these players are older than 24 when they acquired them. That’s a risk you take when you rebuild. Young players are risky yes, and many of them fail. It’s also true that you can’t succeed without failing, and some risks are simply more reasonable than others.

In otherwords, I like where this team is headed (even if others aren’t) simply because they’re pushing their chips in with young players who could very well take this team to the promised land some day. It’s much easier to draft a franchise player at 4 than it is 12 or 10. It’s much easier to draft that kind of player in a deep draft with the top 4-7 pick as the Kings could easily be in a position to do next season.

Do I like where the Kings are at? Hell yes. Even if I didn’t understand it yesterday. (Which is why no-one in basketball operations is clamoring to hire me.)


  1. […] day was very different from the facts presented afterwards. It was clear that the Kings thought throughout the draft process that Tyreke Evans was a franchise level player. And, I can’t blame Geoff Petrie (or anybody […]

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