Back in the lottery after a one year hiatus is the Sacramento Kings. They have as their net GM:
Matt Cheever

Kelvin Cato

I. 	Team Needs/History

Last year was very disappointing for the Kings and their fans.  After
making the playoffs the season before, for the first time in roughly 10
years, expectations were high that the Kings were an up an coming team. 
But injuries and uninspired play left the Kings back out of the playoffs
and questioning whether it's time to rebuild once again by trading their
best player, Mitch Richmond.

In addition to the poor season on the court, there was also talk of the
team moving from Sacramento, if the owners didn't receive a loan to
refinance the debt on Arco Arena.  Luckily, that situation appears to be
solved, and the front office can concentrate on trying to improve the

The team's biggest needs are what they've always been: a point guard
with some size, a big physical center, and more athleticism in general. 
It is difficult, at this point, to project what changes the Kings will
make, because GM Geoff Petrie remains so tight-lipped.  The team's 2nd
best player, PF Brian Grant is a free-agent and needs to be re-signed. 
Beyond that, speculation has ranged from keeping the core of the team
intact, with a few minor changes, to a complete re-structuring,
involving dealing Richmond.  If the Kings want to make major changes,
they'll have to do it via trades, because they have little salary cap
flexibility this season.

II.	Players

	A.	Center

Olden Polynice:  Polynice is the best center the Kings have had since
they've been in Sacramento, which says a lot about the state of this
team.  Polynice has definite flaws.  He's moody and difficult in the
lockeroom.  And he gets out-muscled by big centers.  Also, he's not much
of a shot-blocker.  But still, he gets you 12-13 points and 10 rebounds
a night, which probably puts him in the middle of the pack of NBA
centers.  He also runs the floor very well on the break, when motivated.

Kevin Salvadori:  Salvadori, the former Carolina center, is definitely a
project.  He was carried on the King's injured list for much of the
year.  However, towards the end of the season he was activated, and
showed something to the coaching staff.  His offensive game is limited,
but he did show willingness to bang, grab rebounds, and block shots. 
He'll probably stick with the team as a third center.

Duane Causwell:  He's a F/A and definitely won't be brought back.  I'm
not sure what he did to piss the team off, but about a month before the
season ended, he was put on the injured list, and told to clean out his
locker and don't come back.  He can block shots, but do little else, but
that's probably enough to catch on with another team.

Synopsis:  Polynice is a serviceable NBA center.  The coaching staff
doesn't always like his attitude and effort, but when he's motivated he
can play very well.  The fact is, the odds of getting a top 10 NBA
center are slim, so Polynice will be brought back.  Although, I think
the team would love to add a bigger, more physical center to push
Polynice, either through the draft (Cato, maybe Foyle if he's still
around) or free-agency (I'd love for them to go after Chris Dudley, but
they probably don't have the cap room).

	B.	Power Forward

Brian Grant:  he's a F/A who needs to be re-signed.  The Kings franchise
started to turn around3 years ago when Grant and Smith were drafted. 
Grant is extremely athletic, intense and physical.  He missed virtually
the entire season with a shoulder injury, and is a huge reason why the
King's missed the playoffs.  He's good for about 15 points and 8
rebounds, but he also has the skills and potential to improve on that. 
Grant runs the floor well, has good hands and soft touch, but he needs
to work on his low post moves, and passing out of double-teams.  Also,
he's very foul-prone.

Michael Smith: the "Animal" is the heart and soul of the team.  He's a
tremendous rebounder and low-post defender.  He plays very physical and
throws his body into the stands for every loose ball.  When pressed into
starting duty because of Grant's injury, Smith grabbed 10 boards a game,
but he's much better providing energy off the bench.  On the downside,
his offensive game is limited to dunks and put-backs and he's a wretched
free-throw shooter.

Corliss Williamson:  see Small Forward.

Synopsis: if Grant re-signs, the Kings young PF's remain a big stength
of the team.  If not, Smith can take over, but they'd need to look for
low-post scoring elsewhere.

	C.	Small Forward

Corliss Williamson:  a lot of people seem to be down on Corliss, after
his rookie season was ruined by a back surgery.  But this past season,
Corliss slimmed-down, worked on his ball-handling and outside shot and
switched to SF.  After gaining the starting spot, later in the season,
Corliss played extremely well, averaging over 16 ppg as a starter.  He
needs to continue working on his outside game, but there's very few SF's
in the league that can stop him down low.  He's a big piece of the
team's future.

Billy Owens:  What can you say about Owens?  He has tremendous
all-around skills: he's a great passer and rebounder for a SF, and has a
solid low-post game.  On the other hand, he constantly sits out with
supposed "injuries" and his play is inconsistent.  One night he gets 25
pts and 12 boards, the next 5 pts and 3 boards. He is definitely on the
trade block, but who'll take his contract?

the rest:  Lionel Simmons has never recovered from his various knee
injuries.  He's still a very smart player that can help the team off the
bench, in spots.  But his lack of athleticism hurts him.  Kevin Gamble
played well, providing scoring and 3 pt. shooting off the bench, and
will likely be back.

Synopsis:  Corliss will probably be the starter and should continue to
improve.  Who knows what will happen with Owens?  The Kings could use an
athletic young swingman that can shoot the 3.  That's why they took
Stojakovich last year, but he's probably another year away from the NBA.

	D.	Shooting Guard

Mitch Richmond:  The Rock is the franchise.  Richmond probably had his
best season last year, and has averaged over 21 ppg every year he's been
in the league.  He combines a powerful low-post game with a smooth
outside jumper.  Richmond also plays excellent physical defense,
frustrating his opponents by keeping them away from the basket. 
Richmond expressed some anger over his contract (he's in the same boat
as Kemp and Pippen), but under the new cba, it can't be re-done. 
There's been a lot of talk of him supposedly demanding to be traded, but
Richmond's never gone public with any such demands, and he's too classy
to walk-out on teammmates and fans like Kemp did.  So bottom line is, if
the Kings can deal him for a YOUNG player with star potential, they
might.  But odds are he'll be a King for the remainder of his contract
at least.

Synopsis:  Richmond is an All-NBA player, but the Kings don't have much
behind him.  MAR plays some off-guard behind him, but the Kings really
need a bigger PG if they want to play Rauf more extensively at the 2. 
Kings could use a young swingman, and might look for one in this draft.

	E.	Point Guard

Bobby Hurley:  Hurley's career was reborn under new coach Eddie Jordan. 
He took over the starting job late in the season, and showed a great
ability to run the team.  Hurley's at his best pushing the team on the
break, where he can display his great passing ability.  But he's also
very good at getting people the ball in the right spot in the half-court
offense.  However, his inconsistent shot is a problem, becasue teams sag
off him, and clog up the passing lanes.  Also, his size is a problem on
defense against bigger pg's.  Hurley likely will go into camp as the

Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: Rauf showed flashes of his brilliance last year, but
for much of the season, he seemed unwilling to aggressively look for his
shot, and defered to Richmond a lot.  Still, the Kings need his point
production, whether off the bench or as a starter.  He was much more
comfortable later in the season.  The Kings envision him as an
instant-offense 6th man, backing up at both SG and PG.  They'd like to
get another PG with some size, so when Rauf plays the 2, their
back-court isn't so tiny.

Tyus Edney:  Edney's a F/A who likely won't be brought back.  He
regressed last season from a good rookie year, and was burried behind
Hurley at the end of the season.  Edney's lack of a consistent outside
shot hurts him, as well as his lack of size.  Still, Edney is excellent
on the break.  He could have a long career as a sparkplug off the bench,
ala Spud Webb, but he seemed to have an attitude about coming off the
bench last year. The bottom line is, the Kings have to many small PG's,
and Edney's the odd man out.

III.	My Selection

Kelvin Cato, C, Iowa St.

As discussed earlier, the Kings could really use a shot-blocking,
physical center to come in and push/replace Polynice. Cato would fill
the bill nicely, though I'd be surprised if he's still there when the
Kings pick.

IV.	Others Considered

Olivier Saint-Jean: The Kings could use a young athletic swingman to
back up at both SF and SG.  They also need more scoring punch.  St.Jean
would fill the bill nicely.  I saw him play several times in college and
he could be the most athletic player in the draft.

Derrick Anderson:  I considered him for much the same reasons as
St.Jean.  However, St. Jean's size ranks him slightly ahead of Anderson,

Jacque Vaughn:  the Kings need a PG, and he's the next best one left. 
But he doesn't really give them the 6'4" size they need.

Danny Fortson:  a lot of people compare him to Corliss, but Corliss was
much more athletic in college.  I can't see Fortson transitioning to SF
the way Corliss is.  Which means he'll be an undersized PF, and he
doesn't have the leaping ability or skills of a Barkley or LJ, to be a
great, undersized PF.

V.	Who the team will likely take

At the eleventh pick, they no doubt will take the "best player
available," which means they'll have to wait and see who goes before. 
They'd love one of the 2 big PG's (Billups or Daniels) but they'll both
be gone.  The big centers, including Cato will probably be gone as
well.  They probably won't take Fortson for the reasons described
above.  I think that Brevin Knight will still be available, but they'll
likely pass on another tiny PG.

They'd love to trade the pick for someone who can provide more immediate
help, but if they can't, I think they'd likely be looking at a group of
swingmen, including McGrady, Saint-Jean, and Anderson.  Unless a big PG
or C should fall in their lap.

VI.	Other moves

It's difficult to speculate at this point.  F/A's include: Grant, Edney,
Causwell.  Grant needs to be brought back; the other 2 probably won't
be.  Hurley and MAR have the option to become FA's and both said they
won't exercize it.

There have been Richmond trade rumors involving Duncan and Kemp, but San
Antonio doesn't seem eager to trade Duncan and who knows what's going on
with Kemp?  The Kings couldn't restructure Kemp's deal anyway, so it's
not worth the headache.  I doubt Richmond will go anywhere.  With
Richmond and a healthy group of young, improving forwards, the Kings
could be decent next year.

As for other possible trades, they'd love to deal Owens and his bad
attitude elsewhere, but I doubt there are any takers.  Polynice couild
be dealt, if they could find a better C elsewhere which is doubtful.

As for possible FA signings, the Kings are capped out except for the $1m
exemption.  They'd love to bring in a physical backup C like Chris
Dudley, but they probably don't have the cap space available to do it,
unless they can get rid of Owens.  So depending on what they draft, or
trade their pick for, they could use that $1m on a pg with some size
(maybe Eric Strickland or Eric Snow?) or a swingman (Hubert Davis is the
only one I can think of off the top of my head.)

Before the Kings do anything, including the draft, they need to decide
what they're going to do about their 2 best players: Mitch Richmond and
Brian Grant.

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