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Chainmail: Answering your questions about the Sacramento Kings

You asked, we answered! Thanks to everyone who submitted a question!

Welcome back to the Chainmail mailbag! We had some fabulous questions this week, so thanks to everyone who submitted a query. Let's hop right in!

From Kosta: Without sports, what do you entertain yourself with? How do you fill the void?

Tim: As any other parent out there knows, my kids take up most of my freetime when I'm not working my full-time job. I have an 18 month old who's starting to speak, as well as a 4 year old who demands that he battle Bowser (that's me) as Mario (that's him, wearing a legit Mario hat) every spare second of every day. Aside from that, helping to run the site and publishing 3-4 articles per week takes up another good portion of my time. Once my wife goes to bed around 9:00pm, I pick up the old PS4 controller and play Warzone or The Last of Us 2 until it's far too late into the night.

Will: Before quarantine I had this list in my head of books and movies and shows that I needed to watch before I died, the ones that I would get around to when the time was right. I took COVID-19 as a sign that I should probably start going down that list. I invested in a projector a few years back, so every night I pick a film I’ve never seen and wished I had and I throw it up across 200 inches on my wall. I take walks a few times a day, rearranged my home a couple of times and am slowly bribing the dog I adopted a year ago into liking me. I’m also in the middle of editing and adding to a collection of my writing for a novel that has a very soft deadline of this winter at some point, but that is moving at a much slower and less entertaining pace than everything else.

From RORDOG: If you had a time machine and could send college Boogie back in time to get drafted by the Kings in 1997. His skillset is the same, but the environment in which he develops as a pro are obviously different. This also sets off a chain reaction in which Vlade never signs with the Kings, but everything else roster-wise stays the same. Do the early 2000 era Kings win a championship with Back to the Future Boogie at Center?

Tim: I don't really see how you can argue against the Kings winning a championship that season. Taking Vlade's 2001-2002 season and comparing it to Cousins' fifth year, which would be his adjusted season if he were drafted in 1997, isn't particularly fair in most areas. Using a per possession calculation to account for the differences in pace, DeMarcus averaged 26.6 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists per 75 possessions, compared to just 13.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.7 assists for Divac. An argument might be made in Vlade's favor because of the ability to run the offense through him in the high post, but Boogie actually recorded the higher assist percentage as well, 20.4% to 14.8%. A glance through the other assorted numbers gives DeMarcus the advantage in almost every other area, from PER to TS% to Box Plus-Minus to Value Over Replacement Player. As legendary as Vlade was in his playing days, there's not really any debate that Cousins was the more talented contributor in his time in Sacramento.

Of course, most of those numbers have to do with one side of the court, and Vlade Divac was one of the stalwarts to take on Shaquille O'Neal, but DeMarcus wasn't exactly afraid of contact on the defensive end of the floor either. He likely would struggle with foul trouble in a series against the Lakers, and that's exactly why you have a guy like Scot Pollard on the team to absorb some of that physicality and those infractions. And finally, DeMarcus Cousins likely would have never tipped that ball to Robert Horry.

Will: I’m a little confused here when you say there is a chain reaction in which Vlade never signs but that everything else roster-wise remains the same? Do the Kings trade for Chris Webber in 1998 if they have young Boogie on the roster? Do they see Webber and Cousins as different enough to justify having them both? If we are simply switching the Vladefather for Boogie, I think the Kings win 73 games at some point during that run. Demarcus picked up a ton of ticky-tack fouls in his run with the Kings and the NBA allowed more of that stuff to slide in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Boogie was certain not afraid of big bodies and I could see him being mouthy enough to get into Shaq’s head a bit. Pete Carrill and Rick Adelman working with C-Webb and DMC in the high-low game would have been the stuff of legends, if those two were willing to share the limelight. However, if we’re talking chain reactions here, I don’t know if the Kings trade Richmond and Otis Thorpe for Webber if they have Demarcus waiting in the wings. Maybe Webber throws an even bigger fit of going to the Kings so Sacramento tries to swing for Shawn Kemp, Antonio McDyess or get in on the Jerry Stackhouse trade; all guys who were sent packing in the ‘97-’98 season.They’ve already drafted Peja by ‘97 and when Peja finally gets his NBA legs under him in 2000, it would be Boogie’s 4th year in the league at that point, which means those two go into their prime together. Depending on the other moves of prime Geoff Petrie, I bet the Kings still end up contenders, with less of a peak and a longer window for success. 

From MaybeNextYear: How do you define "success" in Orlando? Is it simply playoffs or bust?

Tim: From a team perspective, yes. While it won't be an easy path to the postseason by any means, this will be the best opportunity that the Kings have had to break the playoff drought in 13 years. If you can't get it done, you failed. It's really as simple as that to me. The only exception I'll make to the standard is if the Kings have multiple key guys get hurt or contract COVID-19 and have to sit out games.

From a less rigid approach, outside of making the playoffs, the most important thing that could happen is Marvin Bagley playing well and proving himself worthy of starter-type minutes. In many ways, I would rather the Kings miss out on the final playoff spot if it means Bagley looks like a potential All-Star.

Will: I’m more than happy calling a .500 record in Orlando a success for this season’s Kings squad. They were barely in the playoff hunt before this stuff and coming back to win half of their games after this much time off is nothing to sneer at. The real measure of success is having everyone go into the off-season healthy. Having anyone go down with COVID-19 or a major injury would be devastating and a blight on any record the Kings have to finish off the season. This season probably shouldn’t be happening and if the Kings are a team that willfully participated in it and subjected their players to a bubble/reverse bubble environment without a legitimate shot at a title, players and potential free agents might not ever forget that. Certain teams could brush that reputation away eventually, but I don’t think the Kings are one of those teams. 

From AmateurNerd: IF (the mother of all ifs) the Kings squeak into the playoffs under this year’s modified format, does it really count as breaking the streak? Compressing the entire regular season into an 8-game play-in is drastic; would a playoff berth in 2020 come with a huge asterisk and SSS (small sample size) warning? Or do we just not give a rat’s ass at this point?

Tim: Yes, it absolutely counts as breaking the streak to me. All in all, they'll have played 74 total games (64 regular, regular season games, 8 non-regular, regular season games, and 2 play-in games) if they make the playoffs, and that's about as close to fulfilling a season as you can come without actually playing the entire thing out. I don't want any asterisks or "well actuallys" or "the ninth seed doesn't count" nonsense thrown my way. The NBA provided a reasonable path to the postseason, and if the Kings follow that path and complete the journey, they made the playoffs. End of story.

Will: If the Kings can find a way to get the 8th seed, I think we should all be comfortable accepting that the streak has been broken, while also maintaining a healthy dose of “who gives a shit?”... The Kings being an 8th seed doesn’t mean that much even in a regular context, aside from extra revenue for the Kings. Once the streak is off the Kings back are they suddenly left with extra clarity on a path to a championship? Do free agents see Sacramento as a destination after an 8th seed in Orlando? The streak should be considered broken, one-hundred percent, as long as we understand that this is one solid rock in the foundation. Not a cornerstone, not some keystone, just a nice flat rock in a pile of dust and pebbles. 

From rcubed37: You have been gifted with the ability to eliminate one Kings transaction in the Sacramento era (hiring, firing, signing, trade, etc) from the history books. What do you choose?

Tim: There's no doubt that I'm drafting one of the current or future superstars that the Kings have missed out over the last decade-plus. The question is, who's the most likely to turn into that superstar in the chaos that is Sacramento? Kawhi Leonard almost certainly doesn't transform into a top-5 NBA player, Steph Curry may not get his ankles fixed, and Klay Thompson wouldn't have had a second star to transform him into one of the greatest shooters of all time. That leaves me to choose between Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic, both guards who the Kings passed on for questionable power forwards. In the end, I'm taking Doncic, who is quite possibly the most impressive young player the league has seen in decades. As a second-year 20-year old, he averaged 28.7 points, 8.7 assists, and 9.3 rebounds - only the third player in NBA history to do that in any season. For comparison's sake, LeBron James averaged 27.2 points, 7.2 assists, and 7.9 rebounds in his sophomore year. Once in a generation talents are almost impossible to come by, and Doncic looks and feels like that sort of player.

Will: Having not looked at Tim’s answers on this one, I’m going to assume he wrote about Doncic, which is the right decision. As much as I hate Pete D and a million other moves, correcting that one would make up for all the crap that has transpired in the last 15 years. *peeks at Tim’s answers right before publishing* Oh thank goodness. 

From MichaelMack: What players out there, regardless if they are going to be a FA or not, that you think should be on the Kings radar if they become available or that the Kings should inquire about, whether it be young players with upside, decent players who don't fit with their current team, or veteran specialists/role players?

Tim: Well, thanks for all of the options to choose from, Mike. Can I call you Mike? I guess so, since you can't respond. Anyway, from a free agent perspective, there are a few guys this fall (how weird does it sound to say fall instead of sumer?) who could fit in well with the Kings. Backup or third-string point guard could use an upgrade, as Yogi Ferrell hasn't been particularly effective in that role, and a couple of guys could fill that role. Kris Dunn would be my number one target, and also the most expense. He's a non-shooter who's extremely effective as a perimeter defender: essentially a younger version of Cory Joseph. Even if Kent Bazemore resigns, this roster also needs some additional size on the wing, although the options aren't going to be fantastic. If he plays well in July and August, the Kings could elect to bring Corey Brewer back on a minimum deal. Outside of Brewer, names like James Ennis, Thabo Sefolosha, Solomon Hill, and DeMarre Carroll will likely be the best that the front office can do.

From a non-free agent perspective, a couple of big men could improve the talent level of this roster, all of whom were rumored to be on the trade block at the deadline. Myles Turner may be reaching an end to his career in Indiana, and his ability to both space the floor and protect the rim would solve quite a few problems for Marvin Bagley. He won't come cheap, so the Kings would have to ask themselves if losing a player like Buddy Hield would be worth that acquisition. Aaron Gordon was also reported to be available in February, and his speed and athleticism in transition would look fantastic next to De'Aaron Fox. Gordon was also a highly versatile defender in college, but he's constantly played out of position in Orlando, so if his defensive chops could return, Luke Walton could gain another stopper in his lineup. Of course, Gordon and Bagley are a horrible pairing on both ends of the floor, but I would surrender Bagley and salary filler, likely Cory Joseph, if that was satisfactory for the Magic.

Will: The two men our team should be built around, who will eventually be the focus of everything the Kings do are just old enough to legally drink in the United States. My focus would be on finding as many young guys with talent as I can get my hands on. The Kings are intent on replicating the Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler seasons, with a more horny, less psychotic head coach and a far more amenable, less talented, well-paid small forward. This early on into the millionth iteration of a rebuild and they are dead set of aiming for the middle of the pack as their ultimate success. I understand the eight hundred pound gorilla in the room that making the playoffs can be, but the goal is and should always be doing what it takes to have the longest championship window possible. Hypothetically Fox and Bagley’s talents should have cracked that window open and more players that fit their timeline and their strengths and weakness will be the ticket to letting that breeze in. 

From MaybeNextYear: If this Kings team were in a larger market (Like LA, for instance), which player would be grossly overvalued?

Tim: Probably Harry Giles. His highlight reel passes are perfect for SportsCenter and his charisma would also go over well with the Los Angeles and national media. Giles is already pretty heavily overrated by the Sacramento fan base due to his relationship with the city and passing skills, so I imagine that would only be amplified in a place like LA or New York.

Will: I’m so glad that Willie Cauley-Stein isn’t on this version of the squad because he would have easily been the answer. I shudder to think of the Caruso type hype that would follow WCS every time he played five seconds of defense or caught a lob. I honestly think I would probably be Bogi. They’d find a way to try to get some beef or rivalry going against Doncic or compare him constantly to a Petrovic or Ginobli. An LA or NYC media would certainly push him into a max contract discussion where he didn’t belong. 

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Greg Wissinger
Admin
9 days ago

I think if I could pick one redo, I’d take Lillard. As much as I loved Luka predraft and as good as he is, there’s no arguing with Lillard’s track record. Pairing him and Cousins would have made the Kings a playoff team for years and changed a lot of the misery we’ve endured over the years. Luka may be better long term, but if I could pick one I’d pick the sure thing.

Will Griffith
Admin
9 days ago
Reply to  Greg

Selfishly, I lowkey wanted to say keeping Isaiah Thomas. Really think he, DMC and Rudy find a way to make the playoffs – especially if Thomas continues to grow to his Celtics peak-self. There’s no real championship window for that team, but I’d have bet they could win a playoff series once or twice.
 

Last edited 9 days ago by WGriffith
Ican Hascheezburger
9 days ago
Reply to  Greg

1996 John Wallace is the one that got away!

Rik Smits
9 days ago
Reply to  Greg

No.
 
I love Dame, but the only kind of player that would not sink into the Kangz morass and would be able to drag this franchise to solid ground would be a generational player like LBJ or Luka. Dame is very good, but not that good.
 
This is a no-brainer (except for Vlade & co).

Rob Hessing
9 days ago
Reply to  Greg

I did not feel strongly about Lillard over Robinson at the time (it was a coin flip for me), but I sure did want Kawhi over Jimmer.

Michael McKay
8 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

My nephew was going to SDSU at the time, and I was able to see Kawhi play, I thought for certain he was going to be a King, for whatever reason.

Carl Spackler
8 days ago
Reply to  Greg

If I could pick a redo, I pick Mastrov or Burkle in favor of Vivek. Pete and Mullin are never hired. Vlade is never hired. George Karl is never hired. The front office is competent from day one. Cousins is traded almost immediately. Isaiah Thomas plays out of his mind for the Kings instead of for the Celtics. Matt Barnes doesn’t play here. None of Stauskas, Papagiannis, WCS, (most likely) Bagley, etc. We’re shaking our heads at Luke Walton’s sexual assault accusation from afar.
 
Almost all of those moves would have been better in pretty much anyone else’s hands. The only downside is that we don’t have Fox, and never had the opportunity to draft Luka, which we stupidly passed on anyway.
 

Last edited 8 days ago by Carl
Rik Smits
9 days ago

 I’m also in the middle of editing and adding to a collection of my writing for a novel that has a very soft deadline of this winter at some point, but that is moving at a much slower and less entertaining pace than everything else.

 
Oh, as an aspiring failed wannabe writer who has finished one horrible manuscript and got stuck in the middle of another one,l I tip my hat to you.
 
What is your novel about, if I may ask?

Will Griffith
Admin
9 days ago
Reply to  RikSmits

It started as a mix of separate works of memoir I did for a master’s course I was taking, some writing I’d previously done on a personal blog I have and the piece I wrote at StR about my brother and Kobe’s passing. The work ended up with a common through line about the relationships that men have with their fathers, how those relationships expand and contract over time and my own hesitation towards having children of my own. A professor and mentor of mine got a hold of me and pushed me to continue adding to the work so that we might push it onto some poor publisher somewhere next year.
 
Anything I write that isn’t Kings related is usually fairly melancholy and this one is no different!

Rik Smits
9 days ago
Reply to  WGriffith

about the relationships that men have with their fathers, how those relationships expand and contract over time and my own hesitation towards having children of my own.

That is an interesting theme, indeed.
 
I once wrote a short story about the son of William Tell, and his view on the whole apple and arrow thing.
 
The best of luck with the novel and keep us posted, if you will.

Greg Wissinger
Admin
8 days ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Fun fact: at least three members of the staff are trying to write books

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  Greg

Please don’t book

Rik Smits
8 days ago
Reply to  Greg

Tell me more.

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  RikSmits

To learn more, you have to read his book on the subject.
 

Last edited 8 days ago by Kosta
Greg Wissinger
Admin
8 days ago
Reply to  RikSmits

I’m working on a book but haven’t gotten very far. Wasn’t planning on launching a new independent site when I began writing it.

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  Greg

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!
 comment image

Kevin Lam
8 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

I guess you could say he’s…..
 
writing a Marriage Story.
 comment image?itemid=17084356

Ican Hascheezburger
9 days ago

Klam!!! LADY BIRD IS ON WILL’S “MOVIES TO WATCH BEFORE I DIE” LIST!
 
Note: It’s at the bottom of the list.
 

Last edited 9 days ago by Kosta
Will Griffith
Admin
9 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

The nurses will unplug my respirator to plug in the DVD player when it comes time to watch that one!

Rob Hessing
8 days ago
Reply to  BabyGiraffe

My wife and I enjoyed it, but with our kid getting ready to go off to college she did cry a bit near the end.

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

I loved seeing the Raven, the water tower, McKinley Park, downtown Kings mural, etc. in the movie….
 
….but what I enjoyed most was seeing your unorthodox cameo, Rob:
 comment image

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

Well, your wife can probably drive around the Sacramento Airport a few times before she sends your daughter off to college.
 
(Seriously though, that seems like a really bittersweet event in your lives. Best wishes for you daughter in her new adventures in college!)

Kevin Lam
8 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

I forget, are colleges even hosting their fall semesters? Are they going to be online? I guess that would depend on the state though.

Rob Hessing
8 days ago
Reply to  Klam

Right now Boston College is a go, and that’s where our son is slated to go. They have changed the weeks of on-site orientation into a series of Zoom calls, separate ones for students and parents. He will be there the day before living quarters move-in (scheduled to enhance social distancing), with classes scheduled to start a few days later. Assimilation will not be a gradual thing for this class – they will have to hit the ground running.

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

D’oh!
 
I wrote ‘daughter’, but I reread and you wrote “kid”. Sorry!
 
Good luck to your son at Boston College! I used to live in Boston and had visited the campus once. (Actually, I may have seen a rock concert there)
 
Have you all visited Boston already? I think it’s a pretty awesome city, full of so much American history.
 
Make sure your son brings some proper winter clothing! 🙂
 
 

Last edited 8 days ago by Kosta
Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

…PS, are you going to enjoy some baseball games at Fenway eventually?

Rob Hessing
8 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

That’s the plan. We have a daughter that’s still in high school, so my wife and son will go to Boston to get him “on-boarded” while I stay behind. I hope to go visit him at the end of his freshman year, catch a ballgame and some sights, and then come home with him for his summer break. Eventually my wife and I want to do a Northeast trip in the Fall.
 
I kind of get a break here. My wife will fly to Boston with him, and I can cry my eyes out all by myself in the car. It won’t be pretty – I’m absolutely thrilled for him but am going to miss the living hell out of him. Not ready for him to go by any means, but he’s ready and excited, and that’s all that matters.
 

Last edited 8 days ago by RobHessing
Kevin Lam
8 days ago
Reply to  RobHessing

My Mom had a similar feeling when I left for college. When my only other sibling, who is 2.5 years older than me, left for college, she didn’t get emotional in part since I was still around, but when I left I guess it got to her since both of us were out of the house.
 
But fortunately, we aren’t too far away from each other at least at the moment. My brother’s in Oakland and I’m in San Jose, so were only a 1.5 and 2 hour drive away from Sacramento, respectively.

Kevin Lam
8 days ago
Reply to  WGriffith

Fire away, nurses!
 comment image

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  WGriffith

Which happens first:
 
A) Will watches Lady Bird
 
B) Luke Walton watches the Kings’ game tape
 
???
 

Last edited 8 days ago by Kosta
8 days ago
Reply to  WGriffith

Didn’t love it. The focus on late 90’s east sac didn’t jibe with my own nostalgia. Good performances tho.
 
I liked little women a bit more.
 
.02

Greg Lederman
8 days ago

“with a more horny, less psychotic head coach”
 
&nbspcomment image

T D
8 days ago

Well, that was a fun idea while it didn’t last!
 
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>According to multiple sources, the Sacramento Kings have had a player test positive for COVID-19. The identity of the player is not known.</p>&mdash; Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SeanCunningham/status/1275930463178076161?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 24, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

Last edited 8 days ago by 1951
Jeff Bayless
8 days ago

Off topic but how do you guys like my new Kings jersey? I ordered it from China last year but just got it now, I guess there was a pandemic or something.
 
 comment imagecomment image

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  jay14bay

comment image

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  jay14bay

Also, is that chainmail?
 
Pretty neat!

Kevin Lam
8 days ago
Reply to  jay14bay

I think Marvin Bagley downvoted your comment.

Ican Hascheezburger
8 days ago
Reply to  Klam

i can’t tell if the TKH thumbs up icon is a left-hand or right-hand.

Tom Cutter
8 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

Dude, thumbs down is right handed .. I think it wasn’t Bagley.

Fifth Mookie
7 days ago
Reply to  jay14bay

Fabulous!

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