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The Top 50 Sacramento Kings of All-Time: 50-41

Who doesn't love rankings? This week we rank the top 50 Sacramento Kings of all time.

ESPN recently ran a ranking of the top 74 players of All-Time. Zero Sacramento-era Kings made the list.  So I decided to make a list that contains only Sacramento Kings!

We've done this exercise once before, back in 2011 on some other website.  We've had a lot of new faces since then, although the team itself hasn't gotten a whole lot better.

To make these rankings as objective as possible and to try to avoid recency bias, I tried to give every Kings player a simple mathematical score, which we will call their "KANGZ (Kinda Accurate Net GainZ) score" because as fivethirtyeight.com has taught me, everything has to have some sort of acronym.  The higher their KANGZ score, the higher their ranking.   The KANGZ score factored in a players tenure, role, team success, individual success and intangibles.  The highest possible KANGZ score is a 25 with 5 possible points available in each category.  In the case of a tie, I went with my obviously infallible judgement.

Without further ado, let's take a look at Nos. 50 through 41.

50. Harold Pressley

KANGZ score: 11.1
299 GP, 9.0 PPG, .424 FG%, .358 3P%, 4.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.8 STL, 0.5 BLK

What better way to start off a list of all-time Sacramento Kings than with a man who never played for any other team?  Pressley was taken with the 17th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft and spent four seasons in the NBA, all with the Kings.  Harold would then go on to enjoy a successful career in Europe before again joining the Kings, this time as Director of Player Development in 2007.  While Harold no longer works for the Kings he has remained local and even has a foundation called "Treat'em Like a King" to assist underprivileged children and their families.

49. Carl Landry

KANGZ score: 11.2
169 GP, 10.1 PPG, .508 FG%, 4.5 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.4 STL, 0.3 BLK

Landry spent two very different stints with the Kings.  When the Kings first acquired him from Houston, he was one of the top 6th men in the league and he seemingly thrived in a bigger role, averaging 18 points a game in the final 28 games of the season.  Unfortunately for Landry, the Kings then drafted DeMarcus Cousins, another player who operated best around the rim.  Landry was later traded to New Orleans for Marcus Thornton.  He came back to Sacramento after a stint with the Warriors but injuries slowed him down and he wasn't the same player.  Landry last played professionally in Japan with the Hiroshima Dragonflies.

48. Shareef Abdur-Rahim

KANGZ score: 11.4
158 GP, 10.7 PPG, .496 FG%, 4.8 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.6 STL, 0.5 BLK

When the Kings first signed Shareef Abdur-Rahim, it was considered a coup for a team in need of a quality big man after trading Chris Webber.  Abdur-Rahim was also one of the better free agents available.  Unfortunately for Shareef, injuries ended his career short.  He had a couple memorable moments on the court for the Kings, perhaps most incredibly was playing with a broken jaw that was wired shut.  As good as Shareef's basketball career was, his post-basketball career looks even better.  After spending a short time in the Sacramento Kings front office, Shareef is now the President of the NBA G-League.

47. Marcus Thornton

KANGZ score: 11.5
196 GP, 14.4 PPG, .429 FG%, .353 3P%, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.1 STL, 0.1 BLK
10th All-Time in 3 Pointers Made (358)

The Bayou Bomber came to Sacramento and quickly made a splash.  After averaging just 7.8 points a game off the bench in New Orleans, Thornton dropped 21.3 points a game for the Kings in the 27 games after he was traded.  Many fans thought the Kings had finally gotten the backcourt partner Tyreke Evans needed.  While Thornton's follow-up season was still pretty good, his efficiency quickly fell off and he was traded to Brooklyn in 2014.  Thornton last played in the NBA for the Wizards in 2017.

46. Kenny Smith

KANGZ score: 11.5
188 GP, 15.6 PPG, .466 FG%, .354 3P%, 2.6 RPG, 7.2 APG, 1.3 STL, 0.1 BLK

Kenny Smith is a well known television personality now, but he started his basketball career by playing for the Kings after being drafted 6th overall (one pick ahead of hometown star Kevin Johnson).  While Smith was no slouch in Sacramento, making the All-Rookie 1st team and participating in the dunk contest, he made his name known after the Kings traded him to Houston, where he helped the Rockets win back-to-back championships.

45. Rodney McCray

KANGZ score: 11.2
150 GP, 14.7 PPG, .495 FG%, .250 3P%, 7.9 RPG, 4.5 AST, 0.8 STL, 0.7 BLK

Like Kenny Smith, McCray made his name in Houston, although that was before he came to Sacramento.  McCray made two All-Defensive teams with the Rockets before being traded to the Kings for a player further ahead on this list, Otis Thorpe.  McCray had the best individual statistical season of his career with the Kings in 1989-90, but the Kings themselves stunk, winning just 23 games.  McCray's two seasons with the Kings were ultimately two of the worst seasons in franchise history, even though McCray himself was one of the team's better players.

44. Danny Ainge

KANGZ score: 11.6
103 GP, 18.5 PPG, .442 FG%, .378 3P%, 4.1 RPG, 6.2 APG, 1.5 STL, 0.2 BLK

It wouldn't surprise me if many newer Kings fans didn't know that Bill Russell once ran the Sacramento Kings franchise as both general manager and head coach.  That's probably why Russell looked to Boston in search of his next franchise player when he traded Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney for Danny Ainge (what a steal of a trade!).  Despite how good Ainge was individually, the Kings weren't able to successfully build around him.  As Sacramento's luck would have it, they ended up with the #1 pick in one of the worst years to have it, and picked Pervis Ellison, who ended up being one of the biggest busts in history.  The Kings ended up having to blow it all up again after having Ainge for just one full season, and they sent him to Portland for Byron Irvin and draft picks.  Ainge is now the General Manager of the Boston Celtics.

43. Otis Thorpe

KANGZ score: 12
266 GP, 15.9 PPG, .529 FG%, 8.4 RPG, 2.3 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.6 BLK
5th All-Time in FG% (.529)

Thorpe also had two very different stints with the Kings.  Thorpe was the last player the Kings drafted in Kansas City and spent his first year there before moving to Sacramento in 1985.  In his first year in Sacramento, Thorpe was primarily a bench player and the Kings made the playoffs.  He really blossomed in his 3rd season though, averaging 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds a game.  He followed that up with a 20.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 assist encore in 1987.  Thorpe had the look of a future star, so naturally the Kings traded him to Houston for Rodney McCray.  Despite Thorpe's individual success, the Kings still were pretty miserable.  Thorpe's second stint with the Kings was fairly brief and perhaps the most notable part of it was that he was included in the trade that sent Mitch Richmond to Washington for Chris Webber.  Thorpe arguably has the strongest case to be higher on this list of anyone here, but the lack of team success while he was here hurt his KANGZ score.

42. Nemanja Bjelica

KANGZ score: 12.5
141 GP, 10.6 PPG, .477 FG%, .413 3P%, 6.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.8 STL, 0.6 BLK
4th All-Time in 3 Point Percentage (.413)

We've finally reached the first active King on this list. Nemanja doesn't have the numbers that some of the others players here do, but he arguably has a number that's even more important; When he's on the court, the Kings win.  Nemanja boasts the highest win percentage of all Sacramento Kings players that haven't made the playoffs (and that's a lot of them) at .468.  Playing near .500 basketball in Sacramento has been hard to come by, and the Kings have been at that level whenever Nemanja plays.  If Nemanja sticks around past this contract, he could see this ranking shoot up some more.

41. Lawrence Funderburke

KANGZ score: 13
316 GP, 6.4 PPG, .506 FG%, 3.6 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.3 STL, 0.3 BLK

Who doesn't love Lawrence Funderburke?  Like Pressley, Funderburke basically spent his entire NBA career with the Sacramento Kings, aside from two random games with the Chicago Bulls in 2004.  Funderburke never played much, and he rarely started (just 7 games), but whenever he was on the court he gave his all.  There'd be large stretches where Fundy Dundy never saw the court but there was never a complaint.  The Kings were winning, and Funderburke was happy to help in any way he could whether it was garbage time minutes in a blowout or getting thrown in against Shaquille O'Neal in the Western Conference Finals.  Funderburke now works as a Certified Financial Planner in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

Tomorrow: 40-31

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RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 10:46 am

I’m hoping that for symmetry purposes you’re holding him for #35…comment image

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 10:56 am
Reply to  Aykis16

comment image

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 10:58 am
Reply to  Aykis16

comment image

G-naps
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May 18, 2020 1:02 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

#35 on your score card…but #1 in your hearts.

I remember meeting him at a player meet and greet at Rax Roast Beef in Lodi. There were 2-3 people in line to get his autograph. I went back and got 2 or 3 more autographs since no on else was there.

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 1:28 pm
Reply to  G-naps

Met him once while working out at Carmichael Athletic Club. Nicest guy you’d ever want to meet.

Klam
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May 18, 2020 2:11 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Were you at least wearing pants then while you were working out?

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 2:16 pm
Reply to  Klam

Skorts. And chaps.

BestHyperboleEver
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May 18, 2020 2:31 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

What were the chaps’ names?

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 2:35 pm

Spike and Stu (this may be the most arcane reference that I’ve ever made at StR/KH).

RIP, Mr. Stiller.

Sacto_J
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May 19, 2020 9:25 am
Reply to  RobHessing

I don’t know about arcane, but a 6 minute setup video is plain devious, maybe borderline snark level -Genius. Kudos, I watched the whole damn thing…
-wince-

MichaelMack
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May 19, 2020 9:15 am
Reply to  RobHessing

One of my top five least liked Kings of all time. I don’t know what to say. He was painful to watch.

RobHessing
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May 19, 2020 12:30 pm
Reply to  MichaelMack

Yes! No other player embodies the Kangz fan experience quite like Joe. Give the man his due!

SanjeshSingh
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May 18, 2020 10:50 am

Bjelica has just been a solid FA signing

PlayoffModeT
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May 18, 2020 11:06 am

Loved Marcus Thornton when he was here and seeing Isaiah Thomas in that 22 was great.

Klam
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May 18, 2020 11:09 am

We’ve done this exercise once before, back in 2011 on some other website.

comment image

RORDOG
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May 18, 2020 11:10 am

This guy would be ranked way higher if first name quality was incorporated into the stat (fKANGZ?)
comment image

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 11:54 am
Reply to  Aykis16

Luther Head.
Hamady N’Diaye.
.
Evers Burns.

Greg
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May 18, 2020 12:19 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Ah I miss Comedy Ninja

RikSmits
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May 18, 2020 11:58 am
Reply to  Aykis16

Beno Udrih, Pervis Ellison, Andres Nocioni.

BestHyperboleEver
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May 18, 2020 12:06 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Chavano Ranier Hield!

kingsforaday
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May 18, 2020 12:12 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Pooh jeter has not entered the chat??

G-naps
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May 18, 2020 7:10 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Brook Steppe

RowJimmy
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May 18, 2020 10:43 pm
Reply to  G-naps

Spud Webb

Sacto_J
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May 19, 2020 9:27 am
Reply to  RowJimmy

Meta World Peace, anyone?

Klam
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May 18, 2020 11:32 am
Reply to  RORDOG

I’m pretty sure we would find “Mike Bratz” on the rankings for Kings names.

RORDOG
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May 18, 2020 11:59 am
Reply to  Klam

also the second best player to ever wear a #23 Chicago Bulls jersey*
*since 1983

MyHumbleOpinion
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May 18, 2020 11:13 am

Great article. Looking forward to the next installment.

Greg
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May 18, 2020 11:17 am

Not only did Shareef play with his jaw wired shut, he somehow picked up a technical that game!

Klam
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May 18, 2020 11:21 am
Reply to  Greg

It makes me kind of sad that Shareef was a great player most of his years, but the only time he saw the postseason was in 2006 with Sacramento, and it was only for one round.

BestHyperboleEver
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May 18, 2020 12:14 pm
Reply to  Klam

It’s cool. He’ll be the next Kings GM to see the playoffs.

Kingsguru21
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May 18, 2020 12:42 pm

I’m not sure whether I should laugh or cry at this….

Kingsguru21
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May 18, 2020 11:20 am

You’re wrong. Absolutely and completely. Also, forever. But I digress. Mostly you’re just wrong.

Kingsguru21
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May 18, 2020 12:01 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Why would I read something when I just could flap my gums much ado about nothing instead?

RikSmits
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May 18, 2020 11:39 am

I expect Omri to be in the 31-40 tier.

Klam
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May 18, 2020 12:53 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Omri will always be among my top overall favorite guys to play in a Kings uniform.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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May 18, 2020 12:05 pm

I find it interesting that Marcus Thornton moved UP from 48 on the list from the website that shall not be named to 47 on this one.

Also, I assume John Salmons will be on the list twice.

Greg
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May 18, 2020 12:19 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

This ranking is far more scientific than the last one, obviously

Blake
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May 18, 2020 12:13 pm

Another little website update for you all: If you click Account while logged in you will now see a “My Comments” drop down and you can easily flip through all of your past comments.

Marty
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May 18, 2020 12:16 pm

I’ll be curious to see how many of the 50 were actually first round picks made by the Kings.

Marty
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May 18, 2020 1:46 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

That seems like a solid number.

Kingsguru21
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May 18, 2020 12:33 pm
Reply to  Marty

Harold Pressley (18th overall 1986), Kenny Smith (6th overall 1987) and Otis Thorpe (9th overall 1984 in KC). Landry, Thornton, McCray and Ainge were all acquired in trade. Funderburke was a 2nd rounder in 1994 (51st overall– I believe). Abdur-Rahim and Bjelica were FA signings.

RORDOG
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May 18, 2020 12:54 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

One of the funniest things to me is that PeteD thought 30 year old Carl Landry was worth a 4 year deal at $26 million in the summer of 2013, but Isaiah Thomas was not worth a 4 year $27 million deal in the summer of 2014.

RikSmits
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May 18, 2020 1:12 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Narrator: of course, the definition of the word €œfunniest€ may vary from poster to poster.

Sacto_J
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May 19, 2020 9:30 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Anyone else hear Morgan Freeman in their head just now?

Kingsguru21
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May 18, 2020 1:34 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Landry was strongly associated with the Dubs at that point, although I never understood why. He only played with them one season.

I think that had more to do with it than Petey D, personally.

RORDOG
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May 18, 2020 1:53 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

Oh i have no doubt the warriors connection played a role. I just imagine them sitting around the table and coming to the conclusion IT wasn’t worth “Landry Money”.

MichaelMack
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May 19, 2020 9:20 am
Reply to  RORDOG

That was bizarre to me, especially as Landry’s strengths were fairly specific.

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 1:43 pm
Reply to  RORDOG

Because, headwear!comment image

Kingsguru21
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May 18, 2020 1:45 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

This is an acceptable answer.

ZillersCat
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May 18, 2020 4:53 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Classic .. Wasn’t there a “I have a top hat, your question is mute?” One with cane and a top hat.
comment image

RobHessing
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May 18, 2020 1:30 pm
Reply to  Kingsguru21

His draft slot is why L-Funk wore 51 (I know, he was never known as L-Funk, but one can dream).

Shawn.DC
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May 18, 2020 12:34 pm

No Billy Owens? I demand a recount

MichaelMack
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May 19, 2020 9:20 am
Reply to  Shawn.DC

Cheers to that.

Marty
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May 18, 2020 1:45 pm

Breaking: In an email obtained by The Sacramento Bee, Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart tells employees over over one-third of the team's full-time workers will be furloughed beginning June 1.https://t.co/548XflOfHe

— Jason Anderson (@JandersonSacBee) May 18, 2020

Adamsite
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May 18, 2020 2:37 pm
Reply to  Marty

Has any other team done this?

RikSmits
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May 18, 2020 10:14 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Yes, the Utah Jazz.

1951
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May 18, 2020 4:27 pm

Quick question (yes I read the methodology section and I still must ask): Is this a list of favorite or best Kings?

I ask because, if the latter, Ainge and Smith seem low, including on this installment itself. There is zero scenario in which Funderburke (who I love) was a better overall NBA basketball player on the Kings than Ainge, Smith or Thorpe.

Greg
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May 18, 2020 5:07 pm
Reply to  1951

I’ve seen the data. It includes rankings of the categories Akis mentioned. A player like Ainge was a very good player, but may not rank high due to other factors.

1951
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May 18, 2020 5:11 pm
Reply to  Greg

Okay. Then I guess my point is that if your “factors” rank Funderburke as a better NBA player during his time with the Kings than Ainge, Smith or Thorpe then your factors suck!

😉

1951
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May 18, 2020 6:03 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Fair enough and that does answer the question!

Personally, I would use likability only as a tie breaker when the talent level/production are otherwise equal. When there is an obviously better player, I’d rank him higher.

Counterpoint – it’s not my list so I can go pound sand!

RikSmits
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May 18, 2020 9:40 pm
Reply to  1951

If likability is a serious weighing factor DMC surely won’t be on the list. I’d call that a win.

RikSmits
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May 18, 2020 9:37 pm
Reply to  Aykis16

Team succes?
So that would help a meh, end off the bench player riding the coattails of a good team rate higher than a decent player working hard to lift a bad team?

Kfan
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May 18, 2020 6:11 pm

Liking the list so far. Look forward to the next installments

Kosta
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May 18, 2020 6:11 pm

That was great to see the Harold Pressley clip!

I remember watching the dunk contest live and was just so thrilled that a Sacramento King was participating in it. I thought Kenny Smith’s bounce-between-his-legs-reverse-jam should’ve won it, but alas…..

I’m wondering if Ricky Berry will be on the list?

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May 18, 2020 6:15 pm

I hope Jason Thompson is on that list somewhere.

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May 18, 2020 7:30 pm
Reply to  Bbmuteman

He definitely should be. IMO, he should at the very least crack the top 30.

KDsBurnerAccount
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May 18, 2020 9:58 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

If Funderburke cracks our Top 50, JT is most definitely on the list. Unless mouth breathing is a disqualification!

Revenge2002
May 18, 2020 10:41 pm

Lil Buckets is way to low.

MichaelMack
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May 19, 2020 9:13 am

This is just terrific stuff Aykis. I can’t wait to see where my man Tank Thompson ends up. Top 15? Top 10 maybe?

Giddy with anticipation.

Surprised I didnt see Olberding yet, maybe you had him ranked a little higher than I.

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