Here We Whimper?
Is this really what we fought to keep this spring? Is this why we dished up more hoop heart and dedication than Sacramento has seen in nearly a decade?
Is this why we had the rallies, the signs in our homes and businesses, the cheerleading, and above all, the renewed hope?
Two things right off the bat. One, I hope I’m wrong about this. Two, I don’t claim to be an expert in the X’s and O’s of basketball, and I know even less about scouting and player development. I’m coming from the perspective of an average fan here.
But it’s average fans like me that the Sacramento Kings are banking on to fill Power Balance Pavilion’s seats next year, and looking ahead, to hopefully fill the seats at a new arena in Sacramento.
Here’s a memo to the Kings from the average fan: You blew it.
You blew it big time.
Let’s examine what transpired in this trade. First, the Kings gave up Beno Udrih, shipping him over to the Milwaukee Bucks. No real surprise there; although he was a scrappy and intermittently fiery player, he never quite lived up to that contract year a few seasons ago where he was looking like the next (insert player name here).
What did we get back? John Salmons.
Hey, there’s not much of an issue with that on paper. He had some fine years in a Kings uniform, when his line would seemingly read 20 points every night like clockwork – although his production has been noticably down in the couple of years since being traded to Chicago along with Brad Miller.
But regardless of his point production, we already traded him away once, and now he’s back? He will always be a part of Sacramento Kings history that the majority of fans will only be able to remember as the post-Webber/Bibby/Peja/Vlade years, the teams that gradually pulled us father and farther away from that trip to the NBA Finals that at one point in time was only two quarters of free throw-shooting Hell away.
He’s not the veteran saving grace of a franchise in desperate need of a spark. He’s a been-there, done-that.
The Kings ended up with pick number seven in the NBA Draft, falling victim to a tussling bucket of ping pong balls that never really seems to float in our direction. So what did they do? They moved down.
Is that what a city and its team on the brink need? To move down?
And who did they move down as part of a three-team trade to get? Jimmer Fredette.
He’s the guy who went by only one name during the NCAA Tournament (Cher, Madonna or Seal-style), was the coolest thing associated with Utah since Keanu Reeves in “Point Break,” took more shots than a frat boy on his 21st birthday…and is widely regarded as the biggest question mark in this year’s draft.
Hey, Petrie & Co. We didn’t need a question mark. We needed an exclamation point.
It gets real simple real fast: As a professional sports franchise looking for a new home, you cannot ask for a new floor if you demonstrate absolutely no steadfast, shout-it-from-the-rooftops commitment to put a winning team on that floor – and to do it now.
Sure, Fredette has a ton of potential, but he’s a gamble. It’s very possible we’re looking at the next Adam Morrison here, but without the ‘stache. That still equates to a potential career modeling warm-ups on TNT for 41 minutes a night.
We knew it was going to be a tough year, and arena talks have been heavy since the Kings announced they would stay at least one more season. But, lockout issues aside, this draft was Sacramento’s first real crack at getting on-court matters back on track, a night to make “Here We Stay” really mean something.
It wasn’t a night to roll the dice and gamble.
The pit boss of public opinion will tell the Kings that they currently have about as much credit with the house as George W. Bush at a Greenpeace convention.
Let me reiterate that I really hope I’m wrong about this. I hope that once the season starts, Jimmer and Salmons 2.0 come out blazing, and I get served a nice fat helping of crow, stuffed with purple cabbage and seasoned with Steph Curry.
But the fact remains that the selection of “Jimmer” and the trade that led to it was a "wait and see" move. It was a "time will tell" draft day deal.
Waiting is something the Kings don’t have the luxury of doing right now, and time is one thing they don’t have a lot of.