When the NBA season tips off, there will be 450 active players among the 30 teams in the league.
According to Sports Illustrated, the best 100 play on teams outside of Sacramento.
The magazine recently released its “Top 100 Players for 2019” and not one King was “seriously considered” for this year’s list. Nos. 1-10 were published Thursday, with Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James taking the top spot.
George Hill, who signed as a free agent from the Utah Jazz during the 2017 offseason, made the 2018 list at No. 63. Hill played 43 games for Sacramento and was traded before the deadline to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This year, the only Kings player to even be mentioned was Buddy Hield. The shooting guard made the list of snubs — and the team received a bit of shade over it.
“Kudos to (general manager) Vlade Divac: The Kings not only failed to land a single player in the Top 100, they failed to have one seriously considered,” SI’s Ben Golliver wrote. “Unless Marvin Bagley III hits the ground running, De’Aaron Fox takes a massive leap forward or Bogdan Bogdanovic suddenly learns how to play competent defense, Hield (13.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.9 apg) is the most likely King to make next year’s list.
“The 24-year-old guard hasn’t yet played well enough to justify the DeMarcus Cousins trade, but he ramped up his scoring, 3-point shooting and efficiency in his second season. Next up on the list of necessary improvements: getting to the line, developing an in-between game, consistently making plays for others and holding his own while defending starting-caliber guards.”
Among the snubs, 25 players who just missed the Top 100 list, are a handful of former Kings, including Hill, Indiana Pacers guard Tyreke Evans, Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, Denver Nuggets guard Isaiah Thomas and Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside. Also on the list is Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who signed to a four-year, $78 million offer sheet from the Kings this summer, but it was swiftly matched by Chicago.
There are two former Kings on this year’s Top 100 list. One is Miami Heat forward James Johnson at No. 86. He was mostly a reserve during his one season in Sacramento, starting just 11 of his 54 games in 2012-13. The other is Cousins, who signed with the Golden State Warriors this offseason. The big man comes in at No. 68 following an All-Star season with the New Orleans Pelicans which ended in January due to a left Achilles tendon tear. He was ranked 12th on the 2017 list during his last season with Sacramento before being traded right after the All-Star Game.
Along with Hill last year and Cousins on the 2017 list, here are some Kings players named since 2014, the first year the magazine introduced the list:
2017: Forward Rudy Gay (80)
2016: Cousins (14), Gay (52)
2015: Cousins (27), Gay (67)
2014: Cousins (53)