After his explosive rookie season, Tyreke Evans was expected to lead the team in the post-Chris Webber/Peja Stojakovic era. He managed to steal the Rookie of the Year award while Blake Griffin was sidelined with injury, and the future seemed exciting in Sacramento.
Evans’ production take a hit in his sophomore season, and this decrease continued into his third and fourth seasons. The Kings felt that Evans had given all he could offer, and they packaged him in a three-team deal:
Omri Casspi, the 23rd pick in 2009, was solid for the Kings out of the gates, and progressed into a spot-up shooter off the bench. He never amounted to the early stardom that Evans experienced, but he filled a role regardless. He was packaged with DeMarcus Cousins in the Pelicans trade a few years later. This was the trade that saw the team reacquire Tyreke Evans, as well as bring in Buddy Hield, Langston Gallowa, and picks.
Jeff Ayres was unfortunately never known for his on court play. Instead, he is remembered for changing his last name in 2013. Pendergraph is the last name of his step-father. He says he never felt a connection to the name, and change to Ayres, his biological father’s surname.
Who they missed
The Kings had the fourth, 23rd, and 31st picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. This is a very famous draft for the amount of talent that came from it. Here are some of the players they missed out on:
They certainly could’ve done better. Had they taken any one of these All-Stars, perhaps the team could’ve made the postseason. The biggest blunder was passing on Stephen Curry. The future two-time MVP could have attracted more talent to sign with Sacramento and may have led the team to the conference finals, something reminiscent of their success in the early 2000s.