After two rounds and plenty of blowouts, we have reached the Elite 8 in the voting for your favorite Sacramento Kings player of the last 20 years.
We have reached the third round of our own March Madness tournament, the one with a Sacramento Kings-centric twist. We took the 32 most well-liked players to put on a Kings jersey over the last 20 years and ranked them, NCAA tournament style. Then, we asked you to vote to see who the most popular player of the millennium is.
The first round featured plenty of blowouts, as there were low seeds who demolished by powerhouses like Jason Williams, Chris Webber, and Doug Christie. There were a few close contests, however. One of the slimmest margins was Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) over long-time King Francisco Garcia.
Garcia was a member of the Kings for eight seasons, as many as any other player in the Sacramento era. His numbers were pedestrian and he was never more than the third of fourth scoring option, despite his longevity with the franchise. Artest was around for just three seasons, but he apparently left a bigger mark on the hearts of the fans by averaging almost 19 points per game in his time.
In Round Two, however, there were a couple of squeakers.
In the 8 vs 9 matchup, scoring machine Kevin Martin was up against fan favorite and Pizza Guy Isaiah Thomas. This was one of the best battles in our tournament so far, and might hold up even through its conclusion. Thomas was able to beat out Martin by a slim edge, 54 percent to 46 percent. Again we had a case of a long time player in Martin (6 seasons) who was beaten out by a guy who served less time in purple (3 seasons), but was obviously more popular with the fan base. Their scoring numbers are similar, but there may be a little bit of bias considering what Thomas became years after his time in Sacramento.
Now, we are on to Round Three, the Elite 8. There are some big boy matchups and maybe even the possibility of an upset depending on how you vote.
5th ranked Mike Bibby will take on his running mate Chris Webber, who is ranked 4th. A controversial seeding matchup according to some on Twitter, the winner of this battle of Goliaths will likely take on Peja Stojakovic, who is the number 1 seed. Peja will be taking on Thomas in the Elite 8.
On the other end of the bracket we have our possibility of an upset. DeMarcus Cousins was the face of the franchise for many years when the fans had very little to root for or look forward to. But he was complex, emotional, and not always the fan-favorite that he could have been. Bobby Jackson was the opposite. He was never the go-to guy or the face of the franchise, but he was a huge key to success off of the Kings’ bench in their prime years. He won a Sixth Man Of The Year award and was seen as the fearless underdog who came and lit a spark under the team when Bibby needed a breather.
There is a reason why Cousins is ranked 3rd and Jackson is 6th. But if there is a chance for an upset in our Elite 8, this is it.
How To Vote
Voting is conducted on a thread on our Twitter page. If you have an account, click the link here and scroll down to all of the polls. The voting is scheduled to take place starting at 4 PM Wednesday and will last until midnight. Voting for the Final Four will be on Thursday, and the Championship Round on Friday.
We appreciate your participation and look forward to the results!