Sacramento Kings

Having the name the Kings implies that this team would be one of the top teams in the NBA. They should be the rulers of the league. That is not the case though. It has hardly ever been the case for the Sacramento Kings. In 1945 the franchise came into existence as the Rochester Royals. This was before the merger of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Basketball Association of America. The Kings played in the NBL for a few seasons before they switched to the BAA. A year later the two leagues merged to form the NBA in 1949.
It was in the early years that the Rochester Royals played like royalty. They were the elite of the league when they joined the NBL. In their first season, they won the NBL championship behind the play of players like Bob Davies, George Glamack, Al Cervi, and Otto Graham. Otto Graham would go on to be a very successful football player in the NFL. In their years in the NBL, the Royals finished as one of the best teams in the league every year. The same was true when they moved to the BAA and then to the NBA in the merger.

sacramento kings present logo

Present logo of the Sacramento Kings

Despite being successful on the basketball court, the Royals were beginning to struggle financially during the 50’s. They played in a small stadium, and they could not bring in the revenue that they needed. The Rochester Royals peaked in their life in the NBA in 1951 when they won the NBA championship by winning the Finals 4 games to 3 over the New York Knicks. The Kings have not won a championship since then.
In 1957, the Royals were forced to move to a bigger city because they could not make enough money. The Royals were continuing their good play in the league after their move to Cincinnati. They suffered a serious loss when their best player Stokes suffered a seizure and was never able to recover to basketball form. This caused the Royals to begin to decline as a franchise. The team was falling apart, but Jack Twyman was developing into one of the best players in the league and a future Hall of Famer.
The team took a turn for the better when they acquired Oscar Robertson. He immediately brought the Royals back to title contention. He won the league MVP in 1962, and in that season he averaged a triple-double by averaging 30.8 points, 11.4 assists, and 12.5 rebounds per game. Robertson is considered one of the greatest point guards in NBA history along with Magic Johnson.
Until 1970, the Royals would be one of the best teams in the league. They had the unfortunate fate of being great at the same time as the Boston Celtics. The Celtics won 11 of 13 championships during this time.
The Royals fell from their throne in 1970 when they traded away Oscar Robertson as well as their second best player Jerry Lucas. Robertson went to win the NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks the next season. The team again began to struggle and the team was sold and moved to Kansas City in 1972. The team was forced to change their name to the Kings because Kansas City’s baseball team already had the name Royals.
The 70’s were not a time to remember for the Kings. Their general manager was hurting their team. He was trading their best players away such as Robertson, Lucas, and Nate Archibald. Their draft picks failed to develop the way they hoped. Kansas City was not working out as the city the franchise was hoping it would be. This led to the Kings relocating to Sacramento in 1985 which is their current home.
The Kings struggled after their move just as they had before they arrived in Sacramento. The Kings had a brief time of success in the late 90’s and into the 2000’s behind the play of Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Jason Williams, and Peja Stojakovic. In the 2002 playoffs, the Kings finished as the number 1 seed in the West and had the best record in the league with a 61-21 record. The Kings would go on to lose in the Western Conference finals to the two time defending and eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.
The Kings continued as one of the best teams in the league for the next few seasons. They would lose some of their better players in 2005 in various different trades. The Kings made the playoffs in 2006, but they have failed to make the playoffs since then. They have not had a core team put together. The Kings were hoping that their 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans would develop in to a superstar when he became the fourth person in NBA history to average over 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds as a rookie. He has not developed how they hoped however. The Kings are a young team currently that hopes to develop the talent and character of their team to return to the playoffs in a few years.