The Sacramento Kings have been a mess for quite some time, and could seriously use some revamping. Luckily, some fresh faces have taken over the Kings, led my new majority owner Vivek Randive and head coach Mike Malone. For the first time in a very long time, the Kings may be heading in the right direction.
With that said, a shift in culture is definitely needed if the Kings want to succeed in the future. Over the past several years, Sacramento has been home to some of the most talented young players in the league, but they’ve failed to develop them appropriately. The Kings have had multiple high draft picks which didn’t pan out as they would’ve hoped, which ultimately caused them to create a locker room full of selfish players. Tyreke Evans, who was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 2010, was once viewed as one of the most promising players in the league, but with the lack of consistency in the program, he’s fell into obscurity. DeMarcus Cousins is another player who has a ridiculous amount of upside, but his attitude issues often overshadow his skills on the court. And we can’t forget about Thomas Robinson, who the Kings selected 5th overall in last years draft, was shipped to Houston in exchange for Patrick Patterson, which obviously makes it even more crucial that Sacramento picks the right guy on June 27th.
Catch my drift?
Sacramento has a stigma of over valuing talented players over high character players, but that could potentially change in a couple weeks. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo is viewed as the hardest working player in this years draft, and if he’s on the board, Sacramento must acquire the former Hoosier.
Although Oladipo isn’t as polished as some of the other top prospects, his athleticism, tenacity on the defensive end of the floor and overall willingness to improve, has caused his draft stock to skyrocket. Oladipo had shown significant improvement over the years during his time at Indiana, which is something some players on the Sac-Town roster have failed to do. Oladipo saw a progressive increase in virtually every major statistical category from his freshman season to his junior year at Indiana, which is an evidence of his willingness to improve.
Oladipo’s field goal percentage increased from 47% in 2012 to nearly 60% this past NCAA season. He was also criticized for his inability to shoot the ball from distance, but he increased his three point percentage by 24% last season. In fact, Oladipo shot better from beyond the three point arc than Kansas’ Ben McLemore, who is widely considered the best shooter in this draft class. Is he and will he be a better shooter than McLemore at the next level? Probably not, but his consistent improvement has clearly placed him head-to-head with all of the other top shooting guards.
If anything, the Kings need new guys in the locker room to change the losing culture. Oladipo has all the tools to become a successful player in the NBA, and I have no doubt in my mind that he’d likely become every Kings fan favorite player. Sacramento needs a guy like Oladipo, and even though I’d be surprised if he’s on the board when it’s the Kings’ turn to pick, they must try to land a guy of his caliber.