Do the Sacramento Kings have the worst roster in major pro sports?
According to rankings in the Oct. 31 issue of ESPN The Magazine, yes. They do. But they’re not the worst franchise in North American pro sports – that would be the San Francisco 49ers, who rank dead last in the 2016 Ultimate Standings.
ESPN’s annual survey ranks all 122 franchises in the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and NHL.
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The rankings are derived from responses of more than 72,000 fans to a questionnaire grading their home teams on 25 criteria, which ESPN grouped into seven categories. Overall, the Kings ranked 113th, down 17 spots from last year. Read the full analysis on the Kings here.
ESPN has the Kings 122nd in the players category, a ranking which it says is based on “effort on the field, likability off it.”
“Here’s what has gone wrong with the Kings: instability at head coach (105th in these rankings), locker room arguments (the roster comes in 122nd), trade rumors and disdain within the team’s brass (ownership is 109th). Most notably, there were reports last season that Sacramento’s minority ownership wanted to overthrow majority leader (Vivek) Ranadive,” writes ESPN The Magazine’s Anthony Olivieri. “Their reasons? Friction between departed head coach George Karl and star DeMarcus Cousins, about whom trade rumors have been swirling for years, and the lack of support around the talented but volatile Cousins.”
What’s going right in Sacramento? Just look downtown on game nights.
“This month, Sacramento opened a state-of-the-art arena, the Golden 1 Center, which cost an estimated $556.6 million and helped the Kings’ stadium experience ranking jump 26 points to 76th – one of the team’s best rankings this year.”
As bleak of a picture the rankings paint for the Kings, the assessment of the 49ers is worse.
“For a franchise with as much history and tradition as the 49ers, it’s hard to believe they’ve sunk to this level – dead last among 122 professional sports teams,” according to ESPN staff writer Nick Wagoner. “It’s the result of a lack of on-field success, the dysfunction that led to the departure of coach Jim Harbaugh (and the uninspired choice of Jim Tomsula as his replacement), and the overwhelming cost to watch it all unfold at Levi’s Stadium. They dropped 76 spots in last year’s rankings, and now, down 19 more, bottom out this year. At least now there’s nowhere to go but up.”
How other regional teams ranked overall: Giants 18th, Sharks 30th, Warriors 33rd, Raiders 85th and A’s 115th.