The 2015 Sacramento Kings; Greatest Show on Court–Part 2.


In early 2001, Sports Illustrated Magazine wrote an article and devoted a cover to the 2000-2001 Sacramento Kings; titling them “The Greatest Show on Court”.  After making the playoffs only once in the previous 12 seasons, the Kings were fresh off of back to back post season appearances and ready to be acknowledged as a Western Conference Powerhouse.

February 2001, “The Greatest Show on Court” From

Remember, this team was pre-Mike Bibby, pre-Robert Horry game 4, and pre….heartbreak.  This team was filled with hope, the cowbell’s were just beginning to ring out from Natomas to Elk Grove & “Kings Fever” was a welcoming sickness sweeping the state’s capital.

The 2001 Sacramento Kings were loaded with a wicked mixture of youth, potential, and talent.  Sports Illustrated was not far off by deeming them the Greatest Show on Court.  Though they lacked the championship that would have solidified them as truly great, there was never a dull moment on the court.  Behind the back elbow passes on fastbreaks, sweeping backdoor cuts, slam dunks, trash talking, baggy shorts, alley oops and sweeping dimes across the court, The Kings played with a remarkable swagger the league has not seen since.

Their starting lineup featured fierce and talented All-NBA Power Forward Chris Webber, sharpshooter Peja Stojakovic, defensive minded Shooting Guard Doug Christie, versatile big man Vlade Divac, and the fearlessly flashy Jason Williams at the Point Guard position.

Coached by potential Hall of Famer Rick Adelman, they had depth as well, at any time being able to bring Bobby Jackson, Scot Pollard, Hedo Turkoglu, and Lawrence Funderburke off the bench in order to make a quick and lasting impact upon the game.  After many years of disappointment and struggle, it was a wonderful time to be a fan of the Kings

Fast forward 15 years, The 2015 Sacramento Kings underwent an offseason makeover filled with enough rumors & changes to rival an episode of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”.  It has been 9 years since the franchise has had a winning record and visited the playoffs, and with frustrations within the city, its fan base, and front office becoming abundant, it was clear that something had to be done.

Enter Vlade Divac, famed big man from The Kings glory years, now returns as the teams Vice President of Basketball Operations, and General Manager.  He wasted no time putting efforts into improving upon a lineup that finished the 2014-15 campaign with a 29-53 record, and that limped to an 11-19 finish under new Head Coach George Karl.

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There is hope Sacramento, I promise.  Prior to the original “Greatest Show on Court” string of playoff runs, they too finished an abysmal 27-55.  Then came the excitement and the hype that supported a squad that reeled off 8 straight playoff appearances that without some incredible moments that have been imprinted in NBA history, could have had the Kings in the history books as champions.

The Kings bring back to their lineup perennial All-NBA C/PF Demarcus Cousins, former All-Star Rudy Gay, young and talented scorer Ben McLemore, and key role players Darren Collison and Omri Casspi.  In addition to keeping a strong core of proven young talent, Vlade Divac was able to add a fantastic amount of talent that offers instant upgrades to plenty of positions.

Fans can expect to see big minutes from newly acquired sharpshooting and gritty role player Marco Belinelli.  In addition to Belinelli, former All Star Caron Butler has joined the team and can contribute at a nice capacity along side Center Kosta Koufos.

Among all offseason additions, two players bring the most excitement along with them: former All-Star Rajon Rondo and first round draft pick Willie Cauley-Stein.  Willie Cauley-Stein had an outstanding career at the University of Kentucky, transforming into a defensive monster and rebounding machine.  Rajon Rondo has had recent disagreements with teams with whom he’s had non desirable conditions with in recent years, and some consider this to be a risky signing.

However, lets not disregard the impact he can have on a game as a facilitator, who just a few short years ago was an imperative piece to the Celtics title runs.  He currently ranks third among active players in recorded triple doubles behind LeBron James and Kobe Bryant (, and with his flashy play, fearlessness, and alpha male mentality can be exactly what the Kings in order to make a real run at returning to glory.

Sacramento Kings 1st Round Draft Choice, Willie Cauley-Stein. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

With a projected starting lineup to include Rajon Rondo, Demarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, and potentially Willie Cauley-Stein, the same wicked mixture of youth, potential, and talent has returned to the team that once was the most exciting ticket on television.  The depth on the bench that is led by a future Hall of Fame head coach cannot be denied, and everyone in the city is beginning to take notice.

Hashtags of SacramentoProud flood the Twitter community of Kings fans and Sacramento city enthusiasts, a new arena is being built, team bonding events are abundant, and there is an air of hope being breathed back into the area that the Kings call home.

The parallels between the team of then and the team of now are as obvious as ever.  Rajon Rondo’s ball handling ability, fearless, and sometimes blind passion mirror those of Jason Williams.  Demarcus Cousins brings a similar talent level of Chris Webber, with an improvement on toughness and style of play.  Ben McLemore and Rudy Gay can match the scoring and shutdown combination ability of Peja Stojakovic and Doug Christie, and with Cauley-Stein bearing the brunt of the defensive load, a Cousins-Cauley Stein combo can make fans all but forget about what Vlade and Webber were able to do.

Stacked with contributors on the bench and lead by a winning coach, you can almost hear the cowbells begin to ring again throughout Sacramento.  If history is any indicator of what lies ahead, we may very well have “The Greatest Show on Court”, Part 2, here in Sacramento.

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