After being maligned for questionable draft picks and free agent signings throughout the last few seasons, it finally seems like the Kings are changing the franchise’s image in the national media’s eyes.
It started with a draft haul of Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, North Carolina small forward Justin Jackson, Duke power forward Harry Giles and Kansas point guard Frank Mason III. Draft analysts across the country gave the Kings high marks for their draft performance.
The praise from the national media kept coming after the Kings’ recent free agent signings. First the Kings signed point guard George Hill to a three-year deal worth $57 million, according to the Bee’s Jason Jones. Then, they signed power forward Zach Randolph to a two-year, $24 million deal.
The Kings and eight-time All-Star Vince Carter agreed to a one-year, $8 million deal on Thursday, contributing to the Kings’ effort to rebuild the franchise’s culture.
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Many national analysts viewed the Kings’ signings favorably. Here is a sampling of what they said:
George Hill: B
Zach Randolph: C
Vince Carter: B
“The Kings made it a clear objective to go out and get some veterans to help their kids along for this coming season, which got another strong boost with the addition of Carter Thursday. Carter, Zach Randolph and George Hill gives Sacramento’s kids some quality vets on which to lean.”
“Handled properly, though, this isn't a crummy situation. Sacramento forfeited cap flexibility and, maybe, a couple losses to keep a notoriously out-of-control house in order. This is a pretty level-headed approach by its own standards.”
“At the end of the day, the youth movement will be served in Sacramento in small bits and pieces. More importantly, it’s being done right with these veteran additions. With a bit more of the old Memphis grit-n-grind spirit, the Kings are that much closer to their next goal: the Western Conference Playoffs.”
“But for the first time in a long time, there's a direction for the Kings. If they've nailed any of their draft picks, they can let them grow under some solid veterans, and by the time Hill and Randolph and co. are out of the picture, those young players may be ready to take over and perhaps attract real talent to come play with them.”
“Look: I get assuming everything the Kings do is dumb. They've earned skepticism. These signings, including Thursday's one-year deal for Vince Carter, are not dumb. You cannot rip the tanktastic Sixers for failing to surround their baby bigs with a veteran point guard who could, you know, set up the offense, and then rip the Kings for signing Hill.
These deals may thread the needle in bringing veteran mentors who won't produce enough wins to derail the tank, or clog Sacto's cap sheet beyond this season. The Kings are still going to be really bad.”
“ Sacramento needs to get its house in order before its money really spends. Teams are only taken seriously when they prove they have something to offer. The Kings, for the time being, are still the franchise that cycled through coach after coach, antagonized Isaiah Thomas, botched its teambuilding for a decade, and bailed on DeMarcus Cousins.”