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The Sactown Chronicles: Playoffs? We talking Playoffs?!?

For eight glorious seasons under Rick Adelman, the Kings were actually good.

When we left our local heroes at the end of the last installment, the Kings had returned to the land of the lottery for two consecutive seasons. In the first thirteen years of existence, the Sacramento Kings had made the playoffs exactly twice: in 1986 and 1996. Kangz was not yet part of the lexicon, but the seeds had been sewn.
During this period, fans began to grumble a little about the front office. This was pre-blog / twitter / social media, so it was pretty much confined to the bars and lounges at the top of ARCO II and malcontents at local haunts, such as me while sulking up and down the aisles at Tower Records. Geoff Petrie and company had done a pretty good job of dismantling the 95-96 playoff team and fired popular head coach Garry St. Jean, hiring an unproven Eddie Jordan to take his place. They drafted some unknown international kid named Sto-jah-koh-vich over Syracuse's John Wallace, and then the damned kid didn't even come over and play. Pre-drag? Really? And then they followed that up by drafting some kid out of Florida that had played only a few games before getting suspended for smoking weed. With the #7 pick.

But wait, there's more! Prior to drafting Williams, the Kings jettisoned Mitch Richmond and Otis Thorpe for Chris Webber, an eminently talented but seemingly troubled young man, arrested just months ago on nine misdemeanor charges ranging from marijuana possession to assaulting an officer. After the trade, Webber would make it known that he would never come to Sacramento. The cherry on top was the Kings firing Eddie Jordan and then hiring Rick Adelman one month later. Rick Adelman, who couldn't win the big one with a loaded Portland team and then went on to flame out spectacularly in Golden State. Rick Adelman. The only thing that could possibly make things worse would be a lockout, followed by the signing of a former Laker! But what were the odds of that happening? Now if you'll excuse me, the blues aisle at the Broadway Tower location was calling my name.

1998-99

Chris Webber. 20 points, 13 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.1 blocks, 1.4 steals per game, perhaps the best season that anyone had ever seen by a King in Sacramento. He and Vlade Divac provided interior passing that had never really been seen in these (or most other) parts, Jason Williams brought the flash, Corliss Williamson the lunch pail, Vernon Maxwell the crazy, and Jon Barry the floor burns.

Sign of the times: The Kings played their first game of the lockout-shortened, 50-game season on Feb. 5 (an 18 pt. loss at San Antonio). Two weeks prior they had signed Vlade Divac, Vernon Maxwell and Jon Barry. Five of the seven players that went on to log at least 1,000 minutes for the Kings were not on the roster the year prior, and had less than a month to prepare for the season. The team finished 27-23, the first winning record in Sacramento Kings history. The Kings would lose in the 1st round of the playoffs to Utah, but not before Webber laid out John Stockton with a perfect (and brutal screen) at the top of game 1, serving notice to the Jazz (and the NBA) that these were not your dad's Kings.

Fun(!) fact: You could not swing a dead cat in the Sacramento region without hitting a purple Kings flag or someone rocking the purple. It was collegiate in atmosphere, and the Kings owned the town. This was no longer about which star was coming to town €“ it was now all about the home team.

1999-00

Chris Webber. 24.5, 10.5, 4.6 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.6 steals.
Sign of the times: Peja Stojakovic logs more minutes than Corliss Williamson.

Fun(!) fact: The Kings two wins in the 1st round of the playoffs (losing to the Lakers) matches their Sacramento total for playoff wins. The Kings have still not seen the 2nd round of the playoffs, now fifteen years into their Sacramento stay. But the times they are a changin'.

2000-01

Chris Webber: 27.1, 11.1, 4.2 assists, 1.7 blocks, 1.3 steals. Peja Stojakovic becomes the 2nd go-to guy on offense at 20.4 ppg. Doug Christie, obtained in a trade for Corliss Williamson (I thought we should have gotten more at the time€¦) solidified the backcourt. 55 wins! The Kings win their 1st round playoff series (against the Suns) before falling to the Lakers in a 2nd round sweep.

Sign of the times:

Fun(!) fact: The original bench mob, featuring Bobby Jackson, Scot Pollard, Hedo Turkoglu, Jon Barry and Lawrence Funderburke. This group averages approximately 29, 17, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks. Everyone marvels at Geoff Petrie's ability to get such a great return on cheap free agents and unconventional draft picks, something that would continue for the next few years.

2001-02

Peja Stojakovic. There will be some pushback on this one, as Webber was his usual stellar self. But he missed 28 games to injury, and Stojakovic took his game up a notch, averaging 21.2 points on only 15.9 shots a game, and providing very capable defense as well.

Sign of the times: Jason Williams is traded for Mike Bibby. Scot Pollard cements himself as a legit 3rd big, especially during Webber's absence.

Fun(?) fact: This was as close as the Kings have ever gotten to the NBA finals, losing game 7 of the Western Conference Finals to the Lakers. Divac's tap out to Robert Horry cost the Kings game four, horrific officiating cost them game 6, and missing a whopping 14 of 30 free throws cost them in the overtime game 7 loss (the Lakers were 27-33).

2002-03

Chris Webber: At 23.5 and 10 he was still the primary focus of the offense and the lightning rod for the team, but there were more than a few fans that thought that Stojakovic was much more efficient and that he should not be getting seven fewer shots per game than C-Webb. Regardless, hope sprang eternal that last year the Kings learned the lessons that would deliver them and the City of Sacramento its first major professional sports championship.

Sign of the times: Peja misses 10 games, Webber 15, Jackson 23, Bibby 27. The team is starting to get banged up a bit more than they used to. Webber's knee explodes against Dallas in the playoffs. Kings lose to the Mavs in seven in the 2nd round, and San Antonio goes on to be crowned NBA champions. So close, yet so far.

Fun(!) at all fact: 17,317 fans at ARCO have larger calf muscles than Keon Clark.

2003-04

There should be no pushback this time around. With Webber sidelined Stojakovic steps into the realm of NBA elite players. Mike Bibby turns in perhaps his best season as a King, and newly acquired Brad Miller quiets the partisan crowd that was not enamored of trading away Pollard and Turkoglu in the sign and trade for him. But at 24.2 ppg, this was Peja's team, at least up until the final quarter of the season.

Sign of the times: Miller looks like a much better version of Vlade Divac. Once Webber returns to health, watch out, NBA!

Fun(?) Fact: Webber returns for the final 23 games of the season, and the 44-15 Kings go 10-12 the rest of the way, losing to Minnesota in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

2004-05

Mike Bibby: 19.6 points and 6.8 assists per game. Bibby (80 games) and Darius Songaila (81) are the only two players on the roster to play more than 66 games.

Sign of the times: The team is racked with injuries and turnover. Webber is shipped to Philadelphia for Kenny Thomas, Brian Skinner and Matt Barnes.

Fun(?) fact: The Kings don't get out of the 1st round of the playoffs, getting thumped 4-1 by Seattle.

2005-06

Brad Miller, though I will entertain objections from Mike Bibby fans. Bibby scored 21 a game, Miller 15 but much more efficiently. Miller's 4.7 assists out of the post more than offset Bibby's 5.4 from the point, and Miller added almost 8 boards. Yes, Ron Artest is the guy that got the team to the playoffs, but his 40 games does not overtake Miller's 79 games, in my opinion.

Sign of the times: The Kings trade bad back Peja for bad penny Artest. The Kings are 18-24 with Peja and 26-14 with Ron-Ron.

Fun(?) fact: The Maloofs make overtures to Phil Jackson about the head coaching job. Adelman speaks out about it and says the he won't re-sign on the cheap. The Kings part ways with Adelman. Jackson is not interested in coaching the Kings. The Kings hire Eric Musselman, who should be able to match Adelman's eight-year playoff run, right? Right?

***

Did all of this playoff talk bore you? Leave you feeling flat? Well, good news! We have two installments left, and we won't be bothering you with playoffs anymore. The Kings are dead. Long live the Kangz.

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Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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May 27, 2020 8:30 am

So about the next 14 years to follow….

The Kings hire Eric Musselman, who should be able to match Adelman’s eight-year playoff run, right? Right?

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G-naps
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May 27, 2020 8:56 am

Fun Keon Clark story. I was outside the Natomas Marketplace Jamba Juice before about an hour or so before a playoff game against the Jazz and up pulls Keon in his late model Impala.

He runs in …grabs his drink. On his way out he makes eye contact with me and I jokingly say “Hey Keon dont you have a playoff game?”

Keon (pissed):YEAH DONT WORRY ABOUT IT.

BestHyperboleEver
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May 27, 2020 9:22 am

Off topic: I can’t seem to type te letter tat comes between g and i into te message box. I’ve cecked elsewere. It’s only a problem in te comment box on tis site.

TheFifthMookie
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May 27, 2020 9:53 am

same ting is appening ere

Greg
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May 27, 2020 10:47 am
Reply to  TheFifthMookie

wat

Marty
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May 27, 2020 10:15 am

ow do YOU like it?
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Kosta
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May 27, 2020 12:02 pm

Welcome to ell!

HongKongKingsFan
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May 27, 2020 9:28 am

Playoffs? We talking Playoffs?!?

We definitely would be talking about Playoff for consecutive years if we have the following lineup.

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Last edited 2 years ago by HongKongKingsFan
ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 9:59 am

I can’t tell if you are being funny with no image, or it is a mistake? Probably the letter following g problem.

Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
RikSmits
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May 27, 2020 9:30 am

 Miller looks like a much better version of Vlade Divac. 

Can Miller play SF GM?

Aykis16
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Nostradumbass 13
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Nostradumbass 13
May 27, 2020 10:26 am

For those of you who can’t type the letter H, please try clearing your browser cache as we updated the comment section with some new capabilities and that bugged out some things (H is supposed to be like the old Z at StR but we haven’t got it perfect yet)

RikSmits
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May 27, 2020 10:42 am
Reply to  Aykis16

a a a a

(I’m trying to laug )

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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May 27, 2020 10:43 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Welcome to Basketball ell!

ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 10:46 am
Reply to  Klam

isss … OK tat looked better wit an H

Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
Kosta
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May 27, 2020 12:03 pm
Reply to  Klam

Darnit–just saw your comment now.

Klam
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May 27, 2020 12:28 pm
Reply to  Kosta
comment image

TheFifthMookie
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May 27, 2020 10:49 am
Reply to  Aykis16

control click refresh did the job! thanks! (now with h)

Greg
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May 27, 2020 11:23 am
Reply to  Aykis16

Shucks, I liked making Mookie sound Jamaican

RikSmits
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May 27, 2020 11:41 am
Reply to  Aykis16

Thank you for the Quick Comment button on the side of the screen. Excellent addition, like everything else.

Last edited 2 years ago by RikSmits
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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May 27, 2020 10:26 am

I’m really enjoying this series, Rob. Thank you.

ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 10:54 am
Reply to  Adamsite

I’m having more fun with the H’s 🙂

BestHyperboleEver
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May 27, 2020 10:31 am

A good cache wiping solves everything.

SacTownYeti
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May 27, 2020 10:41 am

98-99 squad will always and forever be my favorite basketball team. So many great stories on that squad… JWill putting us on SportsCenter every night. Vlade’s leadership. Mad Max doing Mad Max stuff. Corliss coming back for the love of the team at a huge discount. Peja’s arrival. The Bench Mob. And CWebb… who could go toe to toe with ANYONE in the NBA.

We were just ok that first year, but such a special team.

Webber’s flagrant foul on Stockton at the beginning of the second Jazz game sent a message… we may play pretty, but we’re also here to win.

Look, we were better once the other pieces arrived (most notably Bibby), but forever I’ll have the most love for that squad.

TheFifthMookie
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May 27, 2020 10:49 am

you guys are on fire with the site updates!

ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 11:10 am
Reply to  TheFifthMookie

you can say tat again Mookie .. as fire doesn’t ave an H.

Aykis16
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May 27, 2020 11:38 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

Wait a second how did you type an H if you couldn’t type H? Hmmm???

ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 12:14 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

I’ve been in IT for 35 years .. I cut and pasted your H.

ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 12:15 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

Tank God tere is no H in IT. I’ll try a different browser .. not Safari ere.

Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 12:29 pm
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It works with FireFox and Chrome, not Safari Version 13.1 (14609.1.20.111.8)

ZillersCat
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May 27, 2020 12:41 pm
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The website is WordPress. I wouldn’t have guessed.

LandParkJimmer
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May 27, 2020 10:55 am

I would love to ave some beers wit Brad Miller

RORDOG
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May 27, 2020 10:58 am

I was thinking if about imaginary scenarios in which he basically just attempted to recreate the glory days Kings through the draft. This is what I came up with Justise Winslow (2015, Doug Christie), Domantas Sabonis (2016, Vlade), De’Aaron Fox (2017, Bibby kinda?), Bam Adebayo (2017, Webber), Doncic (2018, rich man’s Hedo?), Buddy via trade (Peja-ish). I guess you can throw Monte Morris in there as well if you’d like since he was available when the Kings drafted Frank Mason. Or, you can assume Vlade doesn’t trade the pick to Philly and the Kings can get Thybulle in the 2019 draft as well I guess.

Disregarding the whole “the Kings wouldn’t have the same picks in this alternate universe” thing. Is that a better core than the 2002 team?

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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May 27, 2020 1:42 pm

Sometimes I wis I could back to 99-2005 me and just slap me silly wile yelling “YOU DON’T KNOW OW GOOD YOU AVE IT!”

P.S. My H’s were working I just wanted to be included.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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May 27, 2020 1:48 pm

Yeah, I didn’t actually care much about the NBA until 2006, so I basically started following the Kings the start of the 2006-07 season…..the first season they would start missing the playoffs. I wish I had followed them when they were actually a good team…

Hippity_Hop_Barbershop
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May 27, 2020 2:07 pm
Reply to  Klam

I only really followed Jordan and the Bulls as a kid because, well, everybody did. Luckily Webber coming to town coincided with my adolescence and I never looked back. Kings fan for life no matter how many years it takes us to get back to the show.

Kosta
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May 27, 2020 3:13 pm

Tanks for tese awesome trips down memory lane, Rob! It’s great to see you writing again for te team! 🙂

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