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The Sactown Chronicles: For Richmond or Pooher

If you were a Kings fan for most of the 90s, Mitch Richmond was the only thing about the team keeping you sane.
In our first installment we waxed nostalgic over such Kings luminaries as Reggie Theus and Leon Wood (the dots, people. THE DOTS!!!). In this installment we turn most of our focus to one player.

Mitch Richmond came to the Kings in 1992, in a trade for rookie holdout Billy Owens, who refused to come to Sacramento. In 1999 he was traded for Chris Webber, who swore at the time of the trade that he would never come to Sacramento. For the seven seasons in between, Mitch Richmond was the best thing about the Sacramento Kings. A lot of the time, he was the only good thing about the Sacramento Kings.

Given the landscape of today's NBA, you will probably never see the phenomenon of an elite player stuck on a bad team for seven years ever again. Players have leverage in today's NBA, which is something that Richmond never enjoyed. Bad timing hung him with a contract that was low at the time for a player of his talent, but there was no blue-fluing or using the media or agent strong-arming back in the 90's. It may have been only twenty some odd years ago, but it was also last century, in more ways than one. And for that reason, Mitch Richmond has been the best player on the Sacramento Kings for more seasons than any other player.

If you want to see all of the Powerball numbers, go to the recent archives and check out Akis' top ten Kings list. I will note that no player has logged more minutes or scored more points in a Sacramento Kings uniform than Mitch Richmond.

1991-92

Statistic of note: Shot 38.4% from beyond the arc, and his 103 makes were the first time that a Sacramento King had eclipsed the century mark from three. Imagine what the number would have been had he been able to keep his danged toe off the line!

Robin (for this installment, we will note the player that attempted to be Robin to Richmond's Batman): Lionel Simmons. 17 & 8 with 1.7 blocks per game. This was Simmons at the high point of his injury-shortened career. For 1991-92, Lionel Simmons was the second-best Sacramento King. Keep this impending list in mind, think about how a team would fare today with the list of Dick Graysons that Richmond was presented with.

Sign of the times: Pete Chilcutt. The NBA was still figuring out what to do with tall, slow, big men that could stretch the defense but not much else. Chilcutt shot 1.000 from three in 91-92, a perfect two for two.

Fun(?) fact: Dick Motta was fired and replaced by Rex Hughes. The team went from snails to 3rd in pace for the season, but still finished 29-53, with a 23-win pace under Motta and a 32-win pace under Hughes.

1992-93

Statistic of note: Richmond missed 37 games to injury. The Kings were 17-28 with him, 8-29 without him. This would be the only season that you could even try to make an argument for another player as team best, but no one really can make the leap.

Robin: Wayman Tisdale. Or Simmons. Or Spud Webb. They were the only players to eclipse 2,000 minutes on the season.

Sign of the times: Kurt Rambis played for the Kings. Kurt Rambis. It never looked right.

Fun(!) fact: Garry St. Jean's first year as head coach saw the team lead the league in pace. They were bad, but they played fast!

1993-94

Statistic of note: 19. That is how many games the Kings had to try out the starting backcourt of Richmond and Bobby Hurley. Also, Richmond hit 426 free throws that year. The next two highest were Tisdale and Simmons, and they combined for 466.

Robin: Tisdale.

Sign of the times: Mike Peplowski saves Hurley's life on that fateful, foggy December night in North Natomas.

Fun(!) fact: Kings fans watch a Kings player actually play in the all-star game! Richmond had been named the prior year but missed the game due to injury. He scores 10 glorious points to the delight and civic pride of a starved and adoring community.

1994-95

Statistic of note: 39, the most wins for a Kings team since 85-86.

Robin: Walt Williams and his socks.

Sign of the times: Officer Polynice has a bit of a nasty streak, and the hometown fans like it!

Fun(!!!) fact: Richmond wins the NBA all-star game MVP award, scoring 22 points.

1995-96

Statistic of note: 1st, as in the 1st playoff game win in Sacramento Kings history.

Robin: Sarunas Marciulionis. The team was 32-21 when he played, 7-22 when he didn't.

Sign of the times: This team was really more of an Avengers squad. Richmond, Polynice, Brian Grant, Michael Smith, and the in-season addition of Sarunas Marciulionis. This team was razor wire.

Fun(!!!!!) fact: The first playoff game at ARCO was nuts. The crowd was standing on their collective feet and raising the roof from the time the Kings took the floor€¦for warmups! Twenty minutes of insanity before tipoff. You could see that the crowd was fighting exhaustion by midway through the 3rd quarter. Had Richmond not rolled his ankle€¦One thing we knew for sure: we'd never again have to wait nine years in between playoff appearances. Ever.

1996-97

Statistic of note: 12.2. The difference between Richmond's 25.9 ppg and the Kings' second-best scorer (Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf at 13.7.

Robin: Abdul-Rauf? Polynice? Corliss Williamson? The Avengers have left the building, and Mitch is left with Troop #417. Goddamn you, Bernice!

Sign of the times: Rooney's gone and Billy Owens is here. St. Jean doesn't make it through the season. The roster is an absolute mish mosh. What the hell is Geoff Petrie and the front office doing???

Fun(!) fact: Rookie Corliss Williamson tells everyone that he loves Sacramento and is thrilled to be here. Parades are held and babies are made.

1997-98

Statistic of note: Richmond and Williamson combine to average 41 points a game. The team averages 93 points a game. Billy Owens, at 10.5 ppg, is the only other double-digit scorer on the roster.

Robin: Williamson. Corliss comes into his own in his sophomore season, and is arguably the first (and last) Richmond sidekick in Sacramento willing to take a shot when the game is on the line. Recapping, Williamson, a future sixth man of the year, may be the best version Scottie Pippen that Mitch Richmond has ever had during his tenure with the Kings.

Sign of the times: Local kid makes good when Yogi Stewart is awarded a contract with the Kings€¦and gives the Kings a pretty good return on the investment

Fun (-) fact: Mark Hendrickson was on the roster. He winds up playing two more years before turning his attention to pitching in the major leagues. His ERA winds up being a full point higher than his shooting percentage.

***

This concludes the Mitch Richmond's personal purgatory portion of the program. Please tune in next time, when we find out what happens when good players are paired with other good players.

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ZillersCat
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May 26, 2020 8:20 am

Vlade Divac free agency signing got use into getting on the waiting list for season tickets. Before that, many would go to see a more famous player on the other team. It was good to have Mitch and have someone being mentioned in the news as relevant.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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May 26, 2020 10:25 am

Reading about Bobby Hurley made me think. Has any other NBA franchise, or any pro team for that matter, had the tragedies of two promising rookies (Hurley and Berry) in such a short period of time, happen before? I feel both of those incidents crippled the Kings in more ways than we realize.

Greg
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May 26, 2020 10:34 am
Reply to  Adamsite

As far as I’m aware, Ricky is the only player in NBA history to die by suicide while on an NBA roster.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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May 26, 2020 10:40 am
Reply to  Greg

Only Tyler Honeycutt comes to mind, but he was playing in Europe at the time. Sadly, both only played for the Kings.

ZillersCat
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May 26, 2020 1:03 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I didn’t hear about the Tyler Honeycutt story. Found it here if anyone missed it, like me.
https://sports.yahoo.com/tyler-honeycutts-loved-ones-search-answers-may-never-find-ex-ucla-stars-shocking-death-150523356.html

SniperKing
May 27, 2020 2:26 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I was a huge Hurley fan at Duke, but before his car accident/injury, did he show any signs that he was destined to be a star NBA point guard? My memory says no.

Bitgod
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May 26, 2020 12:58 pm

Came for the Chilly and Pep show. Team so bad, made Yogi look like a good player.

outrider
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May 26, 2020 2:28 pm

How to beat the Kings back in those days: play decent basketball for 15 out of 48 minutes or contain Mitch. Man, how fun would it have been to have had an in his prime Mitch during the golden era, particularly 01-03?

Nardell
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May 26, 2020 3:04 pm

I have fond memories of this squad. 92-98 was 3rd through 9th grade for me, fun years to be a fan even when your team stinks. This era was when my family had season tickets and I was fortunate enough to have attended many games. 202 row K seats 1&2. Arco was an awesome place to watch a game. There was a special energy in that building. Ironically we gave them up in 99 and watched the entire golden era on TV. Bad timing I guess? Anyways, as someone else said in a different comment, a lot of the entertainment value was watching the stars on the visiting team, but there were certainly nights when Mitch had the place rocking. Nice article – fun to reminisce!

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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May 26, 2020 6:21 pm

OT: I’m really appreciating the constant updates the contributors are making to this site. You all are doing a wonderful job. I love the new text box in the comment section to bold, italicize, or underline stuff. You’ve even added the strikethrough. Cool shit. You even added embedded links! You all are awesome!

Marty
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May 26, 2020 6:53 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Wait. You can upload YOUR OWN PHOTO NOW?

I need to sit down.

Klam
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May 26, 2020 8:14 pm
Reply to  RobHessing
comment image

Kingsguru21
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May 26, 2020 10:59 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

I, too, am rather impressed at the functionality 5 weeks in.

Marty
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May 27, 2020 7:29 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

All hail competent management!

Ok so my key after g isn’t working on either device. Got ourselves a gremlin?

G-naps
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May 27, 2020 8:45 am
Reply to  Marty

Same esta aqui

TheFifthMookie
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May 27, 2020 9:13 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I also like te canges to te layout. oddly te key between g and j in te alfpabet doesn’t work in te comment box today, but works everywere else on my computer.

cbrody
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May 26, 2020 10:13 pm

This series is bringing back a lot of memories. That first playoff game vs the Sonics was insane. I don’t think anyone sat down till midway through the second quarter. Richmond was so good in his prime. It’s such a shame he wasted away with us but I’ll never forget how good he was and am thankful that I was able to watch him. Not sure if it was 98 or 99 when we signed the guy hailed as the first big name free agent signing. Frank Brikowski. Pretty sure he spent one year on the team and didn’t play due to injury.

Some other notable memories were Abdul-Rauf refusing to stand for the anthem and getting T’d up cause his torrets syndrome was acting up and he couldn’t stop cussing. Dwayne Shintzus and his wonderfully awful mullet. Think it was gone by the time he came to sac but it was fabulous. Somewhere exists the horrendous Kings hype song by Tissy, I’m thinking it was the 94 season? 26 years later that song still pops into my head more than it should. And if you heard it once it was more than any person should.

G-naps
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May 27, 2020 8:44 am
Reply to  cbrody

Im glad someone else remembers Tisdales song.

Id love to buy a copy of it.

Last edited 2 years ago by G-naps
Kingsguru21
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May 26, 2020 10:56 pm

This era taught me an important lesson: Talent is King. Had alot of hope but little realistic expectation of anything more.

MichaelMack
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May 27, 2020 9:35 am

Great entry in your series Rob. This era was odd, having a talent like Mitch made me optimistic each year, I kept thinking with Tizzy, L-Train, Walt, someone or something is going to click and we could fill in a competent roster.

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