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Team RankingPTS/GOPP PTS/G
Pacific Division100.5 (5th)103.4 (4th)
Western Conference12th11th
Mejia's Offseason Grade
Cuttino Mobley never fit in with the Kings, so it was no surprise he didn't return. Instead of promoting Maurice Evans to fill the void, the team traded fan favorite Bobby Jackson in order to acquire Bonzi Wells. Wells is an effective scorer, yet temperamental, so if he's going well and receiving consistent minutes, he should be a valuable pickup. If he struggles and loses minutes, there will be problems. Ironically, first round pick Francisco Garcia may be the guy who takes them from him, as the Kings expect him to contribute right away. Grade: C.
 
Key Players
Mike Bibby: Bibby is a terrific point guard who steps up his game when push comes to shove.
Peja Stojakovic: Stojakovic suffered through a subpar season in 2004-05. He'll look to stay healthy and produce like he has in the past.
 
Role Playing
Kenny Thomas, Forward
Toughness and rebounding: You don't associate Sacramento with being especially tough, but the acquisition of Thomas from Philadelphia last year gave them an ingredient it had lacked in recent years. Thomas has opened eyes this preseason, potentially holding off new acquisition Shareef Abdur-Rahim to remain the starting power forward. Regardless of what happens with that situation, expect Thomas to see significant action.
Kevin Martin, Guard
Defense and athleticism: The second-year guard is probably the Kings' top athlete, and considering wings Peja Stojakovic and Bonzi Wells aren't the greatest defenders, Martin could get the call against imposing twos. He's really progressed over the summer and has impressed Rick Adelman with his work ethic and energy. He's a diamond in the rough, but remains unpolished.
Francisco Garcia, Guard/Forward
Perimeter presence: The rookie fits Sacramento's system perfectly and hasn't backed down from anyone during the preseason, hardly a surprise if you saw him play at Louisville the past three seasons. He'll be stuck behind Stojakovic, but should see opportunities to contribute with his court savvy and often deadly outside shot.
 
Burning Question
Will the Kings play enough defense to seriously compete with the West's best?
On paper, Sacramento has as much talent as anyone, but it will have to find a way to stop teams or suffer the same fate that Phoenix and the old school Dallas teams did when they through caution to the wind and looked to outscore teams rather than outplay them. There's no proof that this bunch will go that route, but Mike Bibby has to step up and set the tone on that end of the floor, while Wells and Stojakovic must make sure they at least provide some resistance.
 
 
Corliss Williamson has proven to be one of the league's top players off the bench. (Getty Images)
 
 
Team Projections
Projected finish: 1st, Pacific Division
Projected win total: 48-53
Team MVP:Mike Bibby
Leading scorer:Peja Stojakovic
Leading rebounder:Brad Miller
Leading assists:Bibby
Top defender:Bibby
 
Stat Rankings
Stat Rank Total
Pts Scored 2 103.7
Pts Against 5 101.6
Rebounds 11 42.4
FG% 4 45.9
 
PROJECTED STARTERS
PG Mike Bibby
This should be the year he becomes an All-Star.
SG Bonzi Wells
He's running low on chances.
SF Peja Stojakovic
He shot just 44 percent last season but should get cleaner looks within the flow of the offense thanks to the offseason additions.
PF Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Has something to prove after losing his prestige in Portland and taking a slap in the face from New Jersey in July.
C Brad Miller
Played in just 56 games last season, but when healthy, makes the game easier for teammates.
Team Depth Chart
 
Player Movement
Movement Player Pos.
Key loss Bobby Jackson PG
Key gain Shareef Abdur-Rahim SG
Player Movement Chart
 
 
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