The Sacramento Kings currently have nine players under contract for next season; this does not include team and player options that have not been exercised.
Of those nine players four of them are power forwards; nearly half of the current team is ready to play next to DeMarcus Cousins next year. Between the four players they will make a total of $21 million, while only averaging six points and five rebounds a game between them.
Needless to say the Kings might have four power forwards on the roster, however, they do not have one guy who they can consistently count on to play the position well. Let’s examine each of the power forwards by looking back at the past season and where they fit into the Kings plans moving forward.
Thompson started the most games last season for the Kings at power forward, he actually started 57 straight games during the season before being moved to the bench towards the end of the season.
He ended up starting 61 games, while he played in all 82 games for the second straight year. Thompson’s minutes decreased from 27.9 minutes in the 2012-13 season to only 24.5 this last season. Then his points per game decreased as well, from 10.9 to only 7.1 last year. He still shot the ball just better than 50 percentfrom the field, but his free throw percentage dipped from 69 percent to only 58 percent.
Needless to say Thompson did not play well enough to keep the starting job all season, and for this reason he did not play as much as he has in past seasons.
During the season Thompson had a theory on why he has not been able to be a consistent player year in and year out.
He said “For me, it’s kind of the same stuff that happens every year – new coach, new system, and new players. It’s kind of tough because usually the most consistent players and teams have guys that have been together for a long period of time and around the same system.”
This was all said when Thompson was playing for a new head coach. Then the Kings made two trades during the season, one which traded away four players and brought in three new ones. In addition the whole season Thompson was rumored to be on the trading block, with many believing he would be traded before the trade deadline. All these changes and rumors cannot make it easy to be consistent every day. In the NBA, that is how the great players separate themselves from the good players, blocking out the outside distractions and focusing on the task at hand.
Thompson is just not on that level, and most question if he can play next to Cousins effectively, this is a question that the Kings need to ask themselves.
The Kings extended Thompson in the summer of 2012, therefore, he is on the books for three more years at more than $6 million per season. The contract was a big reason the Kings were looking to move him during the season, besides his poor play. In addition Thompson is not happy with the all the changes he has endured over his six seasons in Sacramento.
For these reasons I believe the Kings will move him in the offseason. It will be interesting to see if a change of scenery could be what Thompson needs to get back to the player people thought he could be coming out of Rider six years ago.
Evans started the season with the Brooklyn Nets, playing sparingly during the first few months of the season and, towards the February trade deadline, not playing at all.
Then the Nets needed to upgrade their bench offensively and traded for Marcus Thornton by sending Jason Terry and Evans to Sacramento. The trade seemed to give Evans new life as he started playing right away; his first full month with the team he averaged 21.4 minutes.
Evans never averaged more than 15 minutes during the first few months of the season while playing in Brooklyn. On March 11 he started at the power forward spot and played well next to Cousins. Evans has always been known for his hustle, defense, and rebounding, he was able to make an impact right away helping the Kings play with more passion.
Evans played 29 minutes on March 29 at the Dallas Mavericks and had 18 rebounds, two steals, and six points. These games are typical when Evans is getting regular time, during the month of March he averaged 8.2 rebounds per game in those 21 minutes he was playing.
The Kings have Evans on the books next season for $1.8 million, the last year of his deal. Evans will be 34 years old when the season begins. He is a good veteran to have on the team to come off the bench. He is not a starter, never has been and should not be next season.
However, the Kings should keep him around to come off the bench and help some of the younger players.