The Los Angeles Lakers have the misfortune of playing in arguably the toughest division in the NBA, as one could make a legitimate case that the Warriors, Suns, and Clippers will be the top three teams in the Western Conference next year. The one constant is the Sacramento Kings remaining near the bottom.
The last time the Kings played in a playoff game, Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” was the No. 1 song in America and Mission Impossible III topped the box office. Part of the reason the Kings continue to flounder is their roster-building approach, as they continue to pick off the scraps that the Lakers discard.
As if hiring Luke Walton right after his Lakers firing wasn’t bad enough, GM Monte McNair continues to bring in former LA players. While the signing of Malik Monk right after his career year was a nice move from Sacramento, two more LA signings are making the trip up north.
Kent Bazemore, who was a benchwarmer that struggled to get regular playing time, signed a one-year deal with the Kings. Quinn Cook, who struggled to break into the rotation for that ill-fated Lakers team that got smacked by the Suns in the 2021 postseason, is also going to sign a one-year contract.
The Kings keep signing former Los Angeles Lakers.
Bazemore may have made 36% of his 3-pointers in 2022, but he didn’t get on the floor much despite LA clearly crying out for a player that can give them some juice on offense. Austin Reaves came in as an undrafted rookie and stole all of Bazemore’s minutes.
One of LeBron James’ Klutch buddies, Cook had some nice moments as a backup with the Warriors, but he very rarely was given extended minutes in the NBA. He might bring something to the table as a shooter, but his time with the Lakers showed that he isn’t going to move the needle on a play-in contender.
The Kings have a pretty intriguing core. De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis could both be All-Stars this season, and rookie Keegan Murray promises to be a player that Sacramento can build around. However, filling out the roster with names like Cook and Bazemore is problematic.
The Kings have had promising players in the past, but they have consistently failed to surround them with top talent. Replicating the Lakers at the peak of their powers is one thing, but taking the scraps from teams who wilted in the playoffs is a befuddling strategy from McNair.