I think Andres Nocioni should and will be the starting small forward to start the season. With Hawes and Thompson so inconsistent on defense, they need someone out there besides potentially Evans to be a good defender. I think Garcia will probably be asked to play more combo guard than small forward, and Donte Greene will get a chance to prove himself as someone to build with. Casspi will get the short end of the stick this year but he should as a rookie. He'll eventually be a key reserve for some team, whether it's with the Kings or not. I think the rotation will be fairly deep as Westphal will play around with combinations to see exactly what he has. I'd expect nine guys in regular roles.
The Kings are obviously not making a major splash during the offseason, but do have a few rosters spots to fill. Who would you like to see the team target, either through free agency or via trade?
I actually think it's in their best interest to not spend any money this off-season unless they're getting a definitive starter. They can just fill their team with summer league guys and try to cultivate the players they have on the roster. I think with the economic situations of a lot of teams, they could make a splash in the trade market with Kenny Thomas' expiring contract or a manageable role player's contract like Francisco Garcia. The cap is going to drop next summer significantly and they'll still have the flexibility to add a player in 2010 when so many teams are restricted because of the shrinking cap.
Do you believe that Sacramento can attract a major star in the much-anticipated summer of 2010? Is a proven commodity needed on this young and inexperienced roster?
I think that they CAN attract a 2nd-tier type of player or even a star player in a salary cap restricted market. But their best and most likely bet is to add players through trades. Looking at what they did a decade ago with acquiring Chris Webber in a trade [for Mitch Richmond], that's a more likely roster move to happen then just outright signing a star player. I think having the Maloofs as the ownership is a big advantage over small market teams with cap room. It may sound stupid and basic, but the Maloofs own a top casino in Vegas and live that kind of lifestyle. That's something that can influence free agents, even a little. It's icing on the cake to know you'll be taken care of by your owner in Sin City.