It wasn't that long ago that the only embarrassing thing about the Sacramento Kings was how often Doug Christie did that ridiculous hand signal to his wife. For Kings fans these days, watching the Christies' reality show would almost be preferable to focusing on how the team has performed in recent years, both on and off the court. Arco Arena used to mean raucous crowds swing cowbells around like Will Ferrell, rooting on one of the most dynamic and unselfish offenses in modern history. Now their home's called "Power Balance Pavilion" -- which would matter more if the Kings didn't want out of there so badly. Now crowds are sparse and the Kings have the third-worst average attendance (and record) in the NBA.
While defense is known to win championships, it's a group of "Ds" that have sunk the Kings.
Geoff Petrie's been around a long time, and he had quite a run throughout the '90's and early 2000's. But check out the Kings' first rounders from 2002-08:
2002: Dan Dickau (28)
2004: Kevin Martin (26)
2005: Francisco Garcia (23)
2006: Quincy Douby (19)
2007: Spencer Hawes (10)
2008: Jason Thompson (12)
Besides Martin, who was moved to Houston last year in a trade that looks worse by the minute, that's a lot of wasted draft picks. I'd mention all the second round picks from those years, but nobody's heard of any of them.
Something about playing, coaching, even owning a team in Sacramento is causing people to drink. Even worse, they're also getting behind the wheel. In the last five years, Eric Musselman, Andres Nocioni, George Maloof, Antoine Wright and Mario Elie have all been arrested for DUI.
(2009-10 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans has never been caught driving under the influence, although the video of his reckless driving episode before this season has garnered over 600,000 views on YouTube.)
You can't blame the Kings for taking DeMarcus Cousins with the fifth pick overall in the 2010 NBA draft. With his size and skills, his ceiling was far higher than anyone else available. However, after run-ins with everyone from coaches to trainers, and now highlighted by a fight with teammate Donte' Greene that led to what was in effect a one-game suspension this past weekend, many have doubts whether Cousins' production is worth his erratic demeanor. The talent is there, but with so much negativity in Sacramento these days, are the Kings even in a position to get the best out of Cousins?
David Lee Decides Rebounding Might Be A Good Idea
- After perhaps their worst loss all season (a 112-88 loss in Phoenix) where David Lee only grabbed 3 rebounds in 25 minutes, the $80 million man grabbed a season-high 19 boards in their 100-94 win over Oklahoma City Sunday night. After the win he mentioned to reporters that, "The part of my game that I can continue to work on to help our team is the rebounding thing."
- Lee averages 9.6 rpg while playing just over 36 mpg this season, after averaging 11.7 rpg last year and 11.8 rpg in the 2008-09 season with similar playing time.
- After winning five in a row after the All-Star break, the San Jose Sharks dropped two close ones in a row at New Jersey and Florida. Their marathon SAP Open road trip ends on Tuesday in Nashville ... then it's a much-anticipated clash with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. It'll be interesting to see if Logan Couture can do anything to cause Bruce Boudreau to drop 15 f-bombs in a minute, like he did on 24/7.
- Since I just mentioned the SAP Open, if you didn't see Milos Raonic's victory over Fernando Verdasco Sunday night, you missed the first of what could be several ATP Tour victories for the 20-year-old Canadian. While he stunned Verdasco with his massive serve, defeating the Spaniard in straight sets, after the match Raonic displayed confidence and a pretty keen storytelling ability. In response to a question from Raj Mathai about composure, Raonic told a story about how his lack of composure in an Australian Open match led to his coach threatening not to accompany Raonic to San Jose. Apparently Raonic learned his lesson.
- While Raonic's upset run was shocking, I was still disappointed Gael Monfils dropped out of the tournament with an injured wrist. I saw his exhibition match against Pete Sampras; tennis needs more showmen like the lanky Frenchman who slides around all over the place.
- Pitchers and catchers reported on Valentine's Day. Just a love letter from Major League Baseball. With the NFL and NBA on the road to messy work stoppages, the 2011 baseball season can stretch all the way into 2012 for all I care.