Sacramento Kings All-Decade Team – 2010-2019 edition. COVID-19 has postponed or canceled the NBA, NCAA sports, MLB spring training, the PGA tour…. even the Spikeball season! So, during this indefinite hiatus for live sports, I had the great idea to write about the best players at each position, from one of the worst decades in team sports history, the 2010s (2010-2019), Sacramento Kings!
A Decade of Despair in Sac-Town
During the 2010s decade, spanning from the 2010-11 season through the 2018-19 season, the Sacramento Kings averaged 30 wins per season, excluding the NBA player lockout shortened 2011-12 season, where the Kings finished 22-44.
Sacramento did not tally its first 30-win season of the decade until the 2015-16 season, finishing 33-49 under head coach George Karl in Vlade Divac’s first season as general manager.
Overall, the Kings did not have any hope for the playoffs during the 2010s until the 2018-19 season under head coach Dave Joerger, where they finished 9th in the western conference with a 39-43 record.
HERE WE STAY! 916 FOREVER!
The 2010s were tumultuous for the Kings.
During the years spanning from 2006-2013, the Sacramento Kings franchise was in constant threat of being moved by the owners, the Maloof family, who also owned the now bankrupt Palms Casino in Las Vegas.
The Kings faithful had to fight against the evil-owner Maloofs, who almost sold and relocated the franchise to Anaheim, Seattle, or Virginia Beach, VA. (Did you know the paperwork to trademark the name Anaheim Royals was actually filed in 2011?!?!)
The Maloofs did everything they could to sell the Kings as quickly as possible, and for some reason, they insisted on selling to potential owners who only wanted to relocate the team. Rich guys and their sports arenas… sheesh.
The Sacramento Kings were saved because of a PASSIONATE, RABID fan base, along with help from and money raised by then Sacramento mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson, billionaire Ron Burkle, current Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive and former NBA commissioner David Stern, among others.
In May of 2013, the NBA owners voted 22-8 to KEEP the Sacramento Kings in Sacramento! HERE WE STAY!
I mean, nobody wanted to see Kings broadcaster Grant Napear cry on live television EVER again.
This was while also constantly having to deal with endless losing seasons, dysfunctional star players like the big, bad, bully Boogie, new ownership, and front office, and six different head coaches during the decade.
Sacramento’s ‘Golden’ New Arena
When majority owner Vivek Ranadive and others bought the Kings, the organization set a goal to build a downtown Sacramento arena by 2016.
On September 30th, 2016, the Kings new arena, Golden1 Arena, was officially opened in downtown Sac-Town. The arena boasted the title of ‘greenest’ new indoor arena in the US when it opened.
Golden1 Arena is a very nice place to watch a game, with a vibrant urban setting surrounding the hardwood palace in downtown Sacramento.
In my opinion, no other arena will ever be able to replicate the ROAR that Kings players welcomed and opposing teams weathered while playing in the storied ARCO Arena.
This was a decade of change for Sacramento, a new owner, a new downtown arena, a new city (Natomas to downtown Sacramento), and a new hope for the PASSIONATE Sacramento Kings fans!
One thing is for sure, though, no matter how low we get, Sacramento fans always have hope and an endless barrage of stupid call-in questions for Kings announcer and daily radio program host Grant Napear.
“If you don’t like that, you don’t like KINGS basketball! OH BOY!”
-Grant Napear, TV voice of the Kings
Sacramento Kings All-Decade Team Selection Process
To choose this squad, I looked at each season’s stats, from 2010-11 through 2018-19 on basketball-reference.com.
I then compiled a list of the best players at each position from each season.
Then, I looked back on those lists to compile the best one or two players at each position over the entire decade.
In some positions, there was a clear front-runner, in some positions, there was a battle between two or three players, and sometimes there was such a lack of production at a certain position it made it very difficult to find a ‘best’ player.
For each position, there is a ‘player of the decade’ and ‘honorable mentions. I broke down each player’s overall stats with the Kings during the decade, their best season of the decade with the Kings, and insights and thoughts on each player.
I had fun looking back at the 2010 decade for the Kings. Researching old Kings information brought me back to memories of old cities I’ve lived in, former teammates, roommates, and lifelong friends I would watch games with, and new friends I’ve made through being a Kings fan!
Read ahead and enjoy! GO, SACRAMENTO KINGS!
Kings 2010s Point Guard
2010’s Honorable Mention: Isaiah Thomas, De’Aaron Fox
I will always think of the Sacramento Kings version of Tyreke Evans as a point guard.
Though some would list Tyreke Evans as a shooting guard or even a small forward, when I watched him during his 4+ seasons with the Kings, he was usually the main ball handler, so I’m listing him as a point guard for the sake of this list.
Evans did play some seasons with more ‘true’ point guards such as Isaiah Thomas, who averaged over 20 points and 6 assists per game in 2013-14, and Darren Collison, who averaged 16 points per game in the 2014-15 season.
Tyreke was a fan favorite in Sac-Town and was also one of the few notable and exciting players playing for the Kings during the ABYSMAL decade in the 2010s.
Right before the 2010s began, Tyreke won rookie of the year in 2009-10. Evans became just the fourth player, along with Oscar Roberston, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James, to average 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per game during their rookie season.
RekeRoy was one of the few bright spots and reasons to tune into a Kings game during the early 2010s for the Sacramento Kings.
2010’s Tyreke Evans Notable Stats
Over the three seasons spanning 2010-2013, Evans averaged 16.4 points, 4.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game!
Evans had his best season of the decade with the Kings during the 2010-11 campaign, which was his second NBA season.
During that season, Tyreke averaged 17.8 points, 5.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game!
I also listed Tyreke as a point guard because he seemed to like having the ball in his hands, or sometimes out, committing 2.6 turnovers per game in his three seasons during the decade with the Kings.
One of Tyreke’s biggest Sacramento Kings moments came when he hit a game-winning, buzzer-beating, half-court shot against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 30th, 2010! Watch the video below!
RekeRoy and Boogie Cuz Save Sac-Town?
Kings fans had a lot of hope for the dynamic duo of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.
The pairing did manage to put up some good individual numbers, but the team wins would never come.
During Tyreke’s three seasons with Sacramento during the 2010s, the Kings never won over 30 games, including a record of 24-58 in 2010-11.
Tyreke brought a lot of excitement and potential to Sacramento, providing Kings fans one of the only reasons to watch a Kings game on a rainy weekday night in NorCal.
2010’s Honorable Mention: Isaiah Thomas and De’Aaron Fox
One of the greatest ‘Pizza Guys’ to do it, ‘IT,’ Isaiah Thomas!
Isaiah Thomas was the 2011 NBA Draft’s “Mr. Irrelevant”, the 60th and final pick in the draft.
Thomas was a favorite among Kings fans, who related personally with the under-sized, under-appreciated, hard-working point guard.
In his three seasons with the Kings, ‘The Pizza Guy” averaged 15.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 1 steal per game.
In 2013-14, his best season with the Kings, Thomas was part of a trio of Kings, along with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay, to all average 20 points per game for the entire season.
During the 2013-14 campaign, ‘IT’ averaged 20.3 points, 6.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game!
Thomas was also named to the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie 2nd Team!
After three seasons with the Kings, Sacramento traded Isaiah to the Suns in 2013, fearing he would be too small and injury-prone to have a long, successful career in the NBA.
Thomas was a two-time NBA All-Star while playing with the Boston Celtics and became a fan favorite across the league.
Honorable Mention: De’Aaron Fox
During the 2010s, Sacramento employed some talented point guards, such as Isaiah Thomas, Darren Collison, Beno Udrih, Kings fan favorite Pooh Jeter, and even Rajon Rondo!
For one reason or another, those Kings’ point guards didn’t last long in Sac-Town during the 2010s. That is one reason I am choosing current Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox in the honorable mention category for the best Sacramento Kings points guard of the 2010s.
During Fox’s two seasons in the 2010s, 2017-18 and 2018-19, he averaged 14.6 points, 5.9 assists, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game.
Fox had his best season of the decade in his second NBA season, 2018-19.
During that campaign, Fox averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game while starting in 81 games!
Fox has a bright future ahead of him and may just become the best point guard and player of the 2020s for the Sacramento Kings! Check back in 9 years for the answer!
Fox’s Best Plays of 2018-19
Honorable Mention: Marcus Thornton – ‘The Bayou Bomber’
During the 2010s, the Kings employed a rotating carousel of journeymen NBA players who rolled through Sac-Town at the shooting guard position.
This was until Buddy Hield arrived via the blockbuster DeMarcus Cousins trade during the 2016-17 season.
The shooting guard position STILL REMAINS a position that has not been solidified for the Kings in the 2020s…. but that’s a whole different article waiting to be written…
Buddy Buckets Beats Out The Bayou Bomber
It was a tough decision for Kings 2010’s shooting guard of the decade.
Kings shooting guards had big seasons, followed by dismal seasons (Marcus Thornton), were journeymen who came and went (Greivis Vasquez), or were a nearly complete bust (NBA draft lottery pick Ben McLemore).
End of the Cousins Era
The Boogie Cuz trade for Buddy Buckets in 2017 was the most notable and one of the few nationally talked about stories involving the Sacramento Kings during the 2010s.
The trade for Buddy Hield meant the end of the failed Demarcus Cousins era and the starting of a new Kings era.
Buddy Hield Notable Stats
Buddy Hield came to the Kings in the 2016-17 season and played the last 25 games that season with Sacramento.
During his 25 games with Sacramento in the 2016-17 season, Buddy averaged 15.1 points per game, compared to 8.6 points per game in 56 games with the New Orleans Pelicans that same season.
During Buddy’s first three seasons combined with the Kings in the 2010s, he averaged 16.4 points per game.
Hield had his breakout season in 2018-19 for the Sacramento Kings.
During the 2018-19 season, Buddy Buckets started all 82 games for the Kings, who finished 39-43, 9th place in the western conference.
During that season, Hield averaged 20.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game.
Record Breaking Buddy
If Kings fans have one constant, besides losing, it’s that we know Buddy Hield loves to shoot, and he usually makes it!
“In the 2018-19 season finale Wednesday evening, Buddy Hield became the first ever to eclipse the 600-mark in 3-pointers made over a player’s first three NBA seasons. In doing so, Hield surpassed Damian Lillard’s previous record of 599 and set a new benchmark for the league in Sacramento’s 136-131 loss to, interestingly enough, Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers.” (“Buddy Hield sets record for most 3’s in first three NBA seasons”, https://247sports.com/college/oklahoma/Article/Buddy-Hield-record-3-pointers-Sacramento-Kings-131117298/)
Buddy Hield 2018-19 Highlights
2010’s Honorable Mention: Marcus Thornton – ‘The Bayou Bomber
During the 2010-11 season, Marcus Thornton was traded to the Sacramento Kings by the New Orleans Hornets for a power forward Carl Landry.
Thornton averaged 21.3 points in 27 games for Sacramento in his first season.
The next season, 2011-12, in 51 games played, Thornton averaged 18.7 points per game.
After that season, Marcus started to decline tremendously. During the next two seasons, 2012-13 and 13-14, Thornton averaged 12.8, and 8.3 points per game, respectively.
Thornton brought some exciting offensive moments to many years of sub-30 win Kings teams and was beloved by boisterous Kings announcer Jerry Reynolds.
Oh, and how can I forget an honorable mention shoutout to former Kings shooting guard, one-time ‘Pizza Guy’ and lottery pick, Ben McLemore?
Small Forward Rudy Gay
‘The Great Rudini”
Honorable Mention: Francisco Garcia ‘Cisco’
Rudy Gay was a Sacramento King from the 2013-14 season, after being traded from the Toronto Raptors until he tore his Achilles tendon mid-way through the 2016-17 season.
The small forward position was tough to choose from because Francisco Garcia is a Sac-Town favorite for MANY seasons. Even though ‘Cisco’ was a fan favorite, his best years in Sacramento were behind him once the 2010s came rolling around.
During his four seasons with the Sacramento Kings, Rudy averaged 19.3 points and 6 rebounds per game.
In the 2013-14 season, Gay was part of a trio of Kings, including DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas, to average 20 points per game during an entire season.
Gay had his best season with the Kings in 2014-15.
During this campaign, Gay averaged 21.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game while playing in 68 games.
2010’s Honorable Mention: Francisco Garcia
Even though Garcia isn’t my first choice for small forward of the 2010s, Sacramento fans will always feel fond about Cisco hitting a corner 3-point swish in front of a packed Arco Arena crowd.
Cisco’s best season during the 2010’s decade was the 2010-11 season, where he averaged 9.7 points, on over 50% shooting from 2-point range!
Honorable Mention: Omri Casspi
Jason Thompson was one of the few constants in a decade of inconsistency.
Jason Thompson’s best seasons were previous to the 2010s when he averaged nearly 12 points and 8 rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings.
Thompson was still a solid player for many years for the Kings during the 2010s and one of the only franchise’s mainstays in turmoil.
JT’s Notable Stats
Thompson’s tenure with the Kings during the 2010s spanned from the 2010-11 season, his third season with the Kings, up until the 2013-14 season when he was traded.
During this time, Thompson averaged 8.4 points, 50% FG, 6.5 rebounds, and .7 blocks per game while averaging 25.2 minutes per game.
Thompson’s best individual season of the 2010s was the 2012-13 campaign. ‘JT’ averaged 10.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while averaging 27.9 minutes per game.
Thompson led the league in all 82 games in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons!
Thompson is also the Sacramento King’s longest-ever tenured player, playing 541 career games with Sacramento!
The 33-year-old Thompson still plays professional basketball for Casademont Zaragoza in an Italian professional basketball league, Liga ACB.
2010’s Honorable Mention: Omri Casspi
Omri Casspi was selected 23rd overall by the Kings in the 2009 NBA draft, coming out of Israel.
Casspi played a combination of five partial and full seasons with the Kings, four coming during the 2010s.
Casspi sometimes played small forward, sometimes power forward, and usually a hybrid of both. But as with most international players, Sacramento loved them some Omri! Although his confidence waned at times, he was a solid player for the Kings throughout the decade.
Casspi’s best season with the Kings was in 2015-16, where he averaged 11.8 points, and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 48% from the field and 41% from 3pt range per game!
Omri Casspi 2015 Kings Highlights
‘Boogie’, ‘DMC’, ‘Cuz’
Honorable Mention: Willie Cauley-Stein? ‘WCS’
The Kings drafted center DeMarcus Cousins 5th overall in the 2010 NBA draft.
During his seven seasons playing for the Kings, Cousins was arguably their best player, the biggest hope for rising to greatness, and the biggest pain in the ass in the 916.
Sacramento’s First (and Only) All-Star of the Decade
During the 2014-15 season, Cousins was selected to play in the All-Star game, becoming the first Sacramento King since Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic in 2003-04 to be voted into the All-Star game.
That would be the first of three consecutive All-Star game selections for Cousins while a member of the Kings.
Cousins was named 2nd Team All-NBA in back-to-back seasons, 2014-15 and 2015-16.
D-Cuz was the first King since Peja in 2004 to be named to an All-NBA team.
During his seven-season tenure as a King, Boogie averaged over 22 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game!
Boogie racked up five straight seasons where he averaged over 20 points per game, 2013-14 through 2016-17.
Cousins’ best season was arguably the 2016-17 campaign, where he played 55 games with the Kings before being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in the deal that brought Buddy Hield to Sacramento.
During the 2016-17 season, Big Cuz averaged 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game!
Boogie was one of the first big men in the NBA to shoot the three-point shot regularly and with some success, although usually to the dismay of Kings fans.
Cousins shot just over 36% from 3pt range during the 2016-17 season.
Cousins Constantly Causin’ Trouble
Although Cousins was a monster in stuffing the stat sheet, he was what some would call a ‘cancer’ in the locker room.
Many reports throughout the Cousins era about altercations with teammates, coaches, and officials and an overall bad attitude on and off the court.
I remember hearing reports that Cousins was a bully to Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette in the locker room.
It was well known that Cousins was unhappy with head coaches George Karl and Dave Joerger. Cousins’ well-announced unhappiness was even linked to the firing of Karl.
The straw that broke the horse’s back was Cousins’s problem with technical fouls. Cousins had back-to-back seasons where he reached the NBA’s max of 15 technical fouls before that player gets suspended.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was very unhappy with Cousins’ technical foul problem, which was one of the major reasons general manager Vlade Divac traded Cousins to New Orleans in the spring of 2017.
Bye, Bye, Boogie
Biggest Kings News in the 2010’s Decade
On February 19th, 2017, DeMarcus Cousins was part of one of the biggest trades and few newsworthy moments of the entire 2010s for the Sacramento Kings.
GM Vlade Divac traded Cousins, and Omri Casspi for a group of players and draft picks that would include sharpshooter Buddy Hield.
This trade seemed to work out for the Kings in the end, as Cousins has been plagued with injuries since being traded by the Kings.
Honorable Mention: Willie Cauley-Stein? ‘WCS’
Willie Cauley-Stein was drafted 6th overall by Sacramento in the 2015 NBA draft.
WCS played for the Kings from 2015-16 until his last season with Sac-Town in 2018-19.
During his four seasons with the Kings, Willie averaged 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
His best season with the Kings was the 2018-19 campaign, where WCS averaged 11.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
During his tenure with the Kings, WCS caught a lot of lobs and was big…
Willie Cauley-Stein Best Plays of 2018-19
Kings Leading Scorers – By Zone 2010s
HERE WE STAY
I had a great time researching and writing about the Sacramento Kings teams and players during the 2010s.
I was brought back to many fond memories shared over the Kings with old friends, teammates, and random Kings fans, some of who are now my friends.
Kings fans have been through a lot, from the last second Vlade Divac tip rebound to Robert Horry in the playoffs, to Tim Donaghy fixing Kings/Lakers playoff games in the favor of the Lakers, to the Maloof moving monstrosity, along with ALL …THAT … LOSING.
Let’s hope the Kings break that 14-year (and counting) playoff-less streak soon and give the Sacramento fans something to cheer about.
Until next the next decade ends… and beyond…
GO SACRAMENTO KINGS