- Marcus Thornton - Marcus Buckets and Chris Paul will be the best starting backcourt in the league next season. Had they kept Darren Collison, it might have been the best three guard rotation, too. Unless you're a Phoenix fan.
Considering he's always been a power forward in a small forward's body, Cunningham made a pretty decent effort of pretending otherwise. Given plenty of opportunities due to injury, Cunningham shot his customary mid range two's well, rebounding well enough for a man of his size, and proved he could play defense on most small and power forwards. He also turned it over only 25 times all year, leading all rookies in turnover percentage at 6.0%. This is helped significantly by the fact that he doesn't dribble, but nevertheless, it's a hugely impressive number. (Tyler Hansbrough was next lowest at 7.1% in his part-season of work; Marcus Thornton was third at 7.3%. The worst? Jrue Holiday, 21.9%. Then James Johnson. Then Hasheem Thabeet.)
On the most basic level, the Sacramento Kings needed more talent. They now have that. Even after years of mismanagement and the frivolous burning of assets, Sacramento now has, you would think, a core five. Isaiah Thomas, one of the draft steals of the decade and a man who thoroughly outplayed Vasquez thus far this season, is the point guard. Preconceptions that small score-first guards must come of the bench should be disposed of, because Thomas is a legitimate starter. Rookie Ben McLemore has had a slow first month, but has plenty of time on his side to be the two guard of the future while Gay slots in at small forward. Derrick Williams is thriving since his trade from Minnesota, now that he is finally functioning as a full time power forward. DeMarcus Cousins is tied into a maximum contract extension, the certified core piece going forward. Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry compliment this lineup from the bench with quality role player production, creating a front eight of players that any team could use.
[...] Furthermore, despite the good play from the Kings' other two primary scorers, Isaiah Thomas and Rudy Gay (whose career in Sacramento is off to a surprisingly fantastic start), neither is known for their consistent creation of open looks for others. Thomas can do it, but would rather not, preferring to be a score first player. The two guard combination of Marcus Thornton and Ben McLemore most certainly are not playmakers for others. And Thompson, as the fifth starter, is the one who loses out.
Note: Non-US teams that the player
has played for are, unless stated otherwise, from the top division in
that nation. If a league or division name is expressly stated, it's not
the top division. The only exceptions to this are the rare occasions where
no one league is said to be above the other, such as with the JBL/BJ League
split in Japan.