Despising the Kings Is the Easiest Job in Sports
I hate the Sacramento Kings. God, I hate them so much.
“But, Mr. Rebuild,” you say. “You said you’re a Warriors fan! Shouldn’t your hatred be reserved for the Cavs? Russell Westbrook? James Harden?”
No. Those guys are awesome. Yes, it was immensely satisfying to watch the Warriors make an absolute mockery of everything the Cavs stand for in the Finals. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed watching Harden and Westbrook flame out of the playoffs so fantastically after sharing the spotlight all season long.
But I have a deep respect for greatness like LeBron, Russ, and Harden. I root for those guys to succeed to keep the league exciting and give the Warriors a run for their money.
In order to understand why I hate the Kings so intensely, you need to understand something about me. I’m a Warriors fan third, and an NBA fan second.
First and foremost, I am a DeMarcus Cousins fan. I love Boogie with everything that I have. And the Kings absolutely fucked him.
The conversation around my favorite NBA player has gotten strange ever since he was unexpectedly traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. Even though everyone knows the Kings are just as incompetent as the Knicks, if not worse, people suddenly started talking about Boogie’s tenure there differently. “He didn’t even make the playoffs once,” they say. “I mean, I know it’s the Kings, but… everyone can make the playoffs at least once.”
If Boogie had been able to carry any Sacramento team he played with to even an eighth seed, it would have been one of the greatest individual accomplishments in NBA history.
No group Boogie was a part of would have been able to muster 15 wins without him. It is one of the most shameful and egregious runs of roster-building in NBA history. The idea that Boogie was holding those sad excuses for NBA teams back from the playoffs is nothing short of a joke.
Okay, I apologize. I had to get that out there. I’m not crazy. I understand that Boogie is not perfect. He is a diva, he gets himself thrown out of too many games. He has had really bad relationships with players, and coaches, and executives. He hasn’t always given effort on defense.
But the best player he played with in his unfortunately long tenure in Sacramento was Rudy Gay. Do you know what Rudy Gay’s legacy is? Actively making his teams worse despite putting up big stats.
Who else did Boogie play with? Rookie contract Isaiah Thomas, Kosta Koufos, Rajon Rondo, Tyreke Evans, Arron Afflalo, John Salmons, Quincy Acy, Jason Thompson, Aaron Brooks, and Toney Douglas. I’m not cherry-picking bad players. These are the highlights.
Because of this complete misery, the Kings picked in the lottery a lot. While they had Cousins on the roster, they drafted Jimmer Fredette, Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore, Nik Satuskas, Willey Cauley-Stein, and Georgios Papagiannis in the lottery. None of these players did anything for the Kings, and none of them have developed into high-quality players elsewhere either.
During Cousins tenure, the Kings made two of the worst trades of all-time — making it somewhat poetic that they would end his tenure with another. The Kings put Cousins out of his misery by trading him for Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, and the 10th pick, which they eventually turned into Justin Jackson and Harry Giles. Evans and Galloway both promptly left Sacramento the first chance they got.
This was not good value for the Kings. I don’t care what Jimmy Butler got traded for, I don’t care what Paul George got traded for, I don’t care about the Kings keeping their lottery pick.
Fuck the Kings, man.
Anyway, now that Boogie is gone, they’re of course starting to make some nice moves. Selecting De’Aaron Fox at number five overall in the 2017 draft was their first good pick since… hey, look, it’s Demarcus Cousins almost a decade ago!
I’m torn on some of their other decisions. I really like the idea of trading the number 10 pick for number 15 and number 20 from Portland for a team in Sacramento’s position, but I also think Malik Monk — Fox’s teammate at Kentucky — might end up being one of the three best players from this draft class. But the draft is a crapshoot, and scooping up a player with upside like Harry Giles at 20 is pretty smart.
They spent kind of an absurd amount of money on George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter. I like the idea of having some veterans around to help out, especially for a team that has had such bad culture problems. It’s just a lot.
The bigger concern is Thursday’s news that Kings Vice President Scott Perry will be leaving to become the GM of the New York Knicks. (By the way, the NBA should make a rule that the Kings and Knicks are only allowed to deal with each other until they both get new owners. It’s only fair to them.)
Normally, a Kings executive leaving is not a big deal because Kings executives are usually stupid. But the Kings hired Perry 53 days ago. He literally was the Vice President of a basketball team — a professional basketball team — for less than two months. Then they gave him permission to interview with another team, and he left.
Those 53 days also happened to be the first time since 2002 that the Kings have made anything close to a series of good decisions, or even passable ones. Were those decisions directly due to Perry’s influence? Or did Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadive just have some personal vendetta against me, or Boogie, I guess, and took an oath to make exclusively bad decisions in order to tank his career?
It’s hard to say. It’s easy and pretty logical to give Perry credit for the Kings surprising competence so far this summer. But his previous tenure was with the Orlando Magic, a team so stupid that they should be allowed to deal with the Knicks and the Kings too.
So there is a pretty obvious chance that he is going to stink it up with the Knicks. That will still prove nothing about Perry, because all the blame will correctly go to human bedpan Jim Dolan. If the Kings fall apart, it will also tell us nothing about Perry because that is what was always going to happen anyway.
Because as LeBron’s approaching departure from the Cavs proves, incompetence will always be punished in the NBA. In the MLB, you can sign a bunch of aging players to massive, stupid contracts and still get one World Series out of them. Or you can be like the Red Sox and salary dump your awful contracts to the Dodgers and then bounce back and immediately win a title the next year while the Dodgers shit themselves in the playoffs over, and over, and over.
In the NBA, the Knicks, and the Kings, and the Magics (Orlando, not Johnson) of the world don’t seem to prosper. I tend to root for the lower-class of the NBA to turn it around and make things interesting. The Warriors did it after all, why can’t the Kings?
Because they fucking suck, that’s why. As much as I hate Dolan, I’ll root for the Knicks to succeed. Same goes for the Magic and the Timberwolves. I will never root for the Kings, because Boogie will never get those eight years back.
Lucky for me, the Kings will continue to make rooting against them very easy.