Mitch Richmond is doing his part to help the Kings improve, even though he long ago stopped playing for the team.
The Hall of Fame guard was at Sleep Train Arena on Thursday as part of the Kings’ Legends Night promotion that brings back former players to be honored by the franchise.
Richmond works as a scout for the Kings and, in addition to promoting the Hall of Fame, he’s “just trying to find talent.”
“I always say the draft is 50-50,” Richmond said. “Sometimes you want to get a guy who can help you right away.”
That would be ideal for the Kings, who have lost 10 of their past 11 games and have the fourth-worst record in the Western Conference.
Sometimes a draft prospect who might have the best career might not be ready to help immediately.
“It might take them two or three years or it might take two or three games; some guys you’ve just got to wait on,” Richmond said. “But you know if their work ethic is there and they’re putting in the time and they want to get better; that’s the best thing you can ask for from a kid.”
As for this season’s Kings, it hasn’t been easy for Richmond to watch them head toward another losing season. Richmond knows the frustration, having played on many teams that didn’t make the playoffs during his time in Sacramento.
“Struggles are struggles,” Richmond said. “We have to find a way to get through it. We have stick together, try not to make any more mistakes and continue to keep moving.”
Richmond likes that the Kings are bringing back so many former players this season. Brian Grant, Richmond’s former teammate, also attended Thursday’s game.
“I think it’s great,” Richmond said. “I think they’re doing a wonderful job in trying to let some of the new fans recognize some of the other guys that played here before they knew them or before some of these fans were born.”
Another legend – Boston Celtics great Bill Russell watched Thursday’s game courtside next to Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive.
Russell is also a former Kings coach, holding that role for 58 games during the 1987-88 season, going 17-41.
Russell is best known for his time with the Celtics, where he won 11 NBA championships in 13 seasons and is still regarded by some as the best defensive center in NBA history.