Since ESPN, as well as just about every national voice, is expecting another painfully long season in Sacramento (way to go out on a limb with that one) without focusing on any of the positive aspects, here are three unrenowned storylines and bold predictions to watch for during the upcoming season.
Sacramento hasn't had an All-Star Weekend representative of any kind since 2003-04, when Peja Stojakovic finished second in the three-point contest and was selected as a Western Conference reserve along with Brad Miller. It may be a small step, but Tyreke Evans will finally break the five-year drought by playing in the Rookie-Sophomore Game, and just for good measure, winning MVP honors.
Over the last ten years, the team with the worst record in the league has gone on to win an average of 10 more games in the following season, which would put the Kings at around 27 projected wins. Sacramento will actually end up winning 37 games, because just as Ron Artest selected jersey number 37 in honor of the number of weeks Thriller was atop the charts, the Kings have their own important tie-in with Michael Jackson.
Omri Casspi will be the starting small forward by mid-season, if not by opening night. While it's tough to gauge preseason statistics for a rookie getting less than 20 minutes of playing time, Casspi's string of impressive performances, including a 22-point game in which he shot 4-5 from downtown, is no fluke, considering that he's been playing professional basketball overseas for four years. There's little doubt he's ready to make an immediate contribution in the Post Physioball Era (PPE), and it's only a matter of time before he's given that chance.
And besides, even the pre-Webber Kings once had back-to-back 39-win seasons. I'm just saying...