DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans were the only Sacramento Kings to crack the top 100 of ESPN.com’s inaugural #NBARank. But where might they and their other teammates land on next year’s list? In part one of our three-part debate, we weigh-in on the Kings’ swingmen.
What is #NBArank?
#NBArank is the Twitter hashtag to use if you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along.
You can also follow along here: @NBAonESPN
How did we rank the players?
We asked 91 experts to rate each player on a 0-to-10 scale, in terms of “the current quality of each player.”
Here is the full list of voters from ESPN.com, the TrueHoop Network, TrueHoop TV, Daily Dime Live, ESPN TV, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, espnW, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Insider, ESPN Fantasy, ESPN Games, ESPN Dallas, ESPN Los Angeles, ESPN Chicago, ESPN New York, ESPN Stats & Information, ESPN Topics and ESPN Analytics.
F | Age: 21 | Stats
Noam Schiller: Rises. Now here is a rookie I feel can make some noise. Honeycutt has great athleticism and should be a good defender from day one, which can go a long way in getting onto Head Coach Paul Westphal’s good side. I think he’s in the 300-350 range this time next year.
Zach Harper: Rises. With Donté Greene taking shots at the Maloofs on Twitter and Omri Casspi dearly departed (in the non-death way), Honeycutt will have a very good shot of backing up John Salmons at small forward. I think if he’s given any decent amount of time, he’ll definitely rise by a lot in these rankings. A lot of rookies took hits from the voters (myself included) because we didn’t get even so much as a summer league to check out their skills. Honeycutt can play and will show that.
Jonathan Santiago: Rises to the 390 to 420 range. I believe Honeycutt has a good opportunity to improve because of the position he plays. We all know how inconsistent the Kings were at small forward last year. Honeycutt may have a shot to play regularly if Greene and Francisco Garcia don’t pan out behind the starter, John Salmons.
James Ham: Rises to anywhere from 380 to 400. 433 seems a little low, even for a second round pick. Honeycutt has a nice skill set, that with time, should develop. He needs to add weight and work on his perimeter game, but I could see him cracking the rotation in two or three years. He’s deep on the bench in 2011-12, so a huge jump is probably out of the question.
SF | Age: 23 | Stats | @dontegreeneCOS
Noam Schiller: Sadly, I think Donté falls to around 300. The Salmons addition crowds the rotation, and I’m not sure many minutes will be left for Donté. With Greene, the potential is always there for a major rise, but it depends on how much work he puts in during the lockout. The returns haven’t been great so far in his career.
Zach Harper: Falls. I’ve wanted to like Donté’s game for years now and he simply doesn’t have the defensive consistency, the offensive firepower, or the favor with the decision-makers to get consistent playing time. I’d be shocked if he lasted the full season with the Kings and if he does, I think we’ll see him on the bench more and more. Té may be a decent NBA player someday, but it won’t be during this stint in Sacramento.
Jonathan Santiago: Rises just a little bit. Though Greene has won the hearts of Kings fans for the rest of his career, his future remains a question. In the final year of his contract, he could either play beyond or up to his potential. Or he could completely fall out of favor as he did last season. I think he plays with a sense of urgency and cracks the rotation, rising somewhere between 250 and 270 in 2012.
James Ham: Rises to somewhere between 225 and 240. This is the make-or-break year for Greene. He has the skill, size and charisma to be very a very successful NBA player. Greene got married this summer and also added a second baby boy to the mix. I expect reduced expectations and a stable home life to equate to an increase in productivity in 2011-12.
SG | Age: 30 | Stats | @cisco32
Noam Schiller: Push. Cisco is a perfect eighth man/energy guy, which is perfectly represented by his rank.
Zach Harper: Falls. I really can’t believe Cisco hasn’t been able to find a consistent role with this team, outside of leading guys and being a mentor in the locker room. I keep waiting for him to become a dead-eye shooter or a lockdown defender or a guy that can attack when he’s trying to catch a rotating defense off-guard. Sadly, Garcia hasn’t been able to put it together due to an inconsistent role or injuries. People will start focusing on his paycheck and want more from his numbers.
Jonathan Santiago: Falls. Garcia is a solid role player when healthy. But even when he’s injury-free, Garcia is a streaky shooter. I see him ranked no lower than 300 in next year’s rankings.
James Ham: Falls. The Kings desperately need Garcia’s leadership and perimeter shooting if and when the lockout breaks. With a glut at the small forward yet again this season, I see Garcia playing a little more two than three this season. He’s a fierce competitor, but Marcus Thornton and Evans will play the bulk of the minutes. Prediction: 260-280.
SG | Age: 31 | Stats
Noam Schiller: Falls. Odds are Salmons bounces back at least partially from a terrible 2010-2011 campaign. His true shooting percentage of 51 percent was his worst since his Philly days. He’s still an athleticism-based player on the wrong side of 30 who wasn’t as good as advertised to begin with. I say he stays in the top 200 next year, but barely.
Zach Harper: Falls. Falls. Falls. You know, like his jumper refuses to do. I don’t get the Salmons deal and I don’t really want to. Hopefully he figures it out, but he has to show all of us something until I believe he is worth anything close to that ranking.
Jonathan Santiago: Falls. Salmons is going to be hit hard in the scoring department. With Cousins, Evans and Thornton in the mix, Salmons will be asked to defer shots. However, his effectiveness on defense should keep him falling dramatically in next year’s rankings. I’m thinking top 170 to 200 for Salmons in 2012.
James Ham: Pretty much a push. The Kings took a lot of flack for the draft day deal that brought Salmons back to Sac. The fact is this – he’s better than anyone the Kings threw out last season on both ends of the floor. Will he work with Evans? I’m not sure, but at least opponents will have to play the Kings straight up this year. Prediction: 160-170.