Take a trip down memory lane by looking back at the 2005-2006 Kings. The last squad that made the playoffs for Sacramento.
You’ve seen the headlines about the Sacramento Kings. They were everywhere, saying “15 consecutive years without making a single playoff appearance”. If you saw this headline on your Twitter timeline, you didn’t have to click on the story because the headline was the story. People would pause and say “Wow! What happened 15 years ago?”
When the season began, fans were already worried. They immediately saw the downward trend of the team by looking at the previous four years. 61, 59, 55, and then 50 wins. The downward trend could also be seen in the playoffs. They reached the third round of the playoffs, followed by a pair of second-round exits, and then a first-round defeat. But the biggest concern would have to be Chris Webber. He was worth “20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists” and now is no longer part of the team. This would be the first full season without Webber. Doug Christie and Bobby Jackson were fan favorites. Also gone.
Sacramento decided that a change had to be made in the middle of the season. They dealt away another large piece in Peja Stojaković. How big was Stojaković for the Kings? They retired his jersey number.
Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) was traded to the Kings. At this point in time, he was known for his role in the Malice at the Palace. He was suspended by the league and missed most of the 2004-2005 season. He also missed some games during the start of the 2005-2006 season because the Indiana Pacers did not plan on playing him until a trade was executed.
Something clicked. Maybe the trade worked out after all. Prior to the trade, the Kings were in 10th place in the standings. The team improved a lot on defense and grabbed the final playoff spot. They had held on and made the playoffs for the eighth straight year.
Their reward for reaching the playoffs was a seven-game series against the San Antonio Spurs.
Sacramento loses by 34 points.
Artest serves a one-game suspension. Kings lose.
The Kings win by one point thanks to Kevin Martin’s miracle shot.
The Kings win by 18 points.
They lose by 11 points.
Sacramento loses by 22 points and is eliminated.
When the series was tied at two games each, one could sense that the Spurs were the better team. San Antonio switched gears and ended the Kings two games later.
Rick Adelman had an eight-year stint as a coach for the Kings and made the playoffs each of those years with ARCO Arena as their home. All those highlights of Jason Williams as a rookie, Mike Bibby’s game-winner that gave the Kings a 3-2 series lead over the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2002, and fans bringing cowbells to the games are just some of the memories that come to mind.
The Kings will be returning to glory soon, and Golden 1 Center will be there to serve as their home. True fans know that the Kings of ARCO Arena already have their place, though small, in basketball history.
Follow Joey Almendras on Twitter @Buyaw
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