Sacramento Kings: Vlade Divac, Center (1998-04)
Over the first nine seasons of his NBA career, Vlade Divac never managed to make an NBA All-Star Team. The former All-Rookie big man was still considered one of the best at his position for his ability to contribute in a number of different ways, including a guard-like ability to facilitate the basketball.
He would shift between two teams before joining the Sacramento Kings in the 1998 offseason. To that point, the Kings were in quite the rough patch, having failed to qualify for the playoffs in just one of their previous 12 seasons.
Sacramento was in desperate need of help, and Divac appeared to be one of the men to help out. Upon his arrival, the team immediately underwent a renaissance by making eight consecutive playoff appearances, six of which came with the Serbian 7-footer in town.
Eventually, with guys like Mike Bibby and Chris Webber, Divac would help guide the Kings to their most successful stretch of basketball since moving to Sacramento prior to the 1985-86 NBA season.
That run would include three second-round appearances and two showings in the conference finals, where a controversial loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2002 had the NBA Finals within reach.
Through it all, Divac’s numbers weren’t gaudy, but they were impactful. He averaged 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, even earning his way into the NBA All-Star Game during the 2000-01 NBA season.
It’s a shame Sacramento never even made it to the NBA Finals during that time. On the bright side, for a team that had experienced very little success in the previous years, the Kings’ ascension back to relevance was a welcome sight and was made possible in part because of Divac’s contributions.