Throughout time, there have been many memorable teams. The classic MJ Bulls, the high flying ‘Showtime’ Lakers, the outspoken’Bad Boy’ Pistons, and many more. Many of these teams won championships, formed dynasties, and left an indisputable legacy. Today, I wanted to take a step back and look at an all-time memorable team, the 2001-02 Sacramento Kings. While this team will be remembered for all the wrong reasons (Donaghy Scandal), I want to shed some light into what really was “The Greatest Show On Court”.
To start off, let’s take a look at their starting line-up.
Mike Bibby – 13.7ppg, 5.0 ast, 1.1 stl, 45% fg, 37% 3pt, 80% ft
Doug Christie – 12 ppg, 4.6 reb, 4.2 ast, 2.0 stl, 46% fg, 35 % 3pt, 85% ft
Peja Stojakovic – 21.2 ppg, 5.3 reb, 1.1 stl, 48% fg, 42% 3pt, 88% ft
Chris Webber – 24.5 ppg, 10.1 reb, 4.8 ast, 1.7 stl, 1.4 blk, 50% fg, 75% ft
Vlade Divac – 11.1 ppg, 8.4 reb, 3.7 ast, 1.0 stl, 1.2 blk, 47% fg
Looking at their starters, this was an amazing starting core. With two guys averaging over 20 ppg, an average field goal percentage of greater than 45%, a solid defensive stopper in Christie, and a great overall team chemistry that you don’t see very often these days, this team was incredible. They had one of the best and deepest benches that we may have ever seen; 7 guys averaging double digits, 8 guys guys averaging over 20 minutes per game, and 10 players getting significant minutes throughout the season.
Along with this, they were number one in SRS rating, according to NBA Reference(Link). This rating takes into consideration average point differential and strength of schedule. NBA Reference also ranks them first in game pace, third in offense and sixth in defense. All of these stats culminate into one very well rounded team and definite championship contender.
While I don’t want to divulge into the the whole scandal issue, I definitely think they would have won the championship if it was not for that Lakers series. This team was just too good to be beat by anyone besides the dreaded Lakers… Before that series, the breezed through the playoffs beating Utah 3-1 and Dallas 4-1.
They were also just plain fun to watch. Being named “The Greatest Show On Court” by Sports Illustrated, this team was just an incredible spectacle. Watching them as I grew up definitely peaked my basketball interest. They were so flashy, but yet played so well together. Everyone could pass, the team could score like no other, and they had some very likable players. Along with this, they had an electrifying bench led by Bobby Jackson and Hedo Turkoglu.
This team was truly special. While most NBA fans might not even remember this team due to that dynamic Laker squad, I hope this article will shed some light into what an amazing team the Kings were as well. And trust me, not having Donaghy and that refereeing core officiating that series, this team would be remembered by everyone.