The 10 greatest Sacramento Kings in history, ranked by Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

Philadelphia 76ers v Sacramento Kings
Philadelphia 76ers v Sacramento Kings / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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Nowadays, there are hundreds of ways to rate, rank, and analyze NBA players’ performances. Everything they do on the court is put into some kind of statistic. One of those is the Player Efficiency Rating (PER), which was first developed by former vice president of basketball operations for the Memphis Grizzlies, John Hollinger. 

In an interview with The Washington Post, Hollinger said, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.”

The article later adds, “The rating for each player is then adjusted to a per-minute basis so that, for example, substitutes can be compared with starters in playing time debates. It is also adjusted for the team’s pace. In the end, one number sums up the players’ statistical accomplishments for the season. The league average is 15.00 every season.” 

This is not a perfect stat—a perfect stat doesn’t exist—but a lot of times, it is spot on. The top five in PER this season, for example, are Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, and Anthony Davis. I think we can all agree that those five are some of the most dominant players in the league right now. 

So, who are the ten best Kings players according to Player Efficiency Rating? Let’s find out. 

10. Isaiah Thomas

Despite being selected with the very last pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Isaiah Thomas went on to have a noteworthy career in the league. In 2016, he became the lowest draft pick since 1989 to make an All-Star game as well as one of the two shortest players to receive that honor. 

A year later, he made his second All-Star game and went on a deep playoff run with the Boston Celtics. All this came quite sometime after his stint with the Sacramento Kings. 

The Kings drafted Thomas in 2011, and he stayed with the team for three seasons. Averaging 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists as a rookie, he widely exceeded expectations for such a late draft pick. 

By his third season, Thomas was averaging around 20 points and 6 assists as a very productive player. The PER agrees. With a Player Efficiency Rating of 18.7, Thomas ranks tenth on the Kings’ all-time list.