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Sacramento Kings 2015 roster: The Kings add talented but volatile personalities

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The Kings have improved their roster but chemistry issues could derail a potentially good season.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings started off last season well but imploded after DeMarcus Cousins had to miss time with viral meningitis. The ownership group and the front office decided the best course of action was to fire Michael Malone. Without him the defensive improvements the team had showed early proved not sustainable and despite a fantastic year by their franchise center, the Kings were back in the lottery for the ninth consecutive year. It was clearly time for a shakeup.

Things went far from smoothly during the summer. George Karl, who was hired mid-season, reportedly wanted Cousins gone in the offseason. Trade rumors began to swirl and twitter jabs were taken. In the end Cousins remained a King and reinforcements were brought in, though new general manager Vlade Divac paid a hefty price for them. Sacramento dumped Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas and Carl Landry on the 76ers and included a first round pick and two pick swaps in the transaction.

With the money they freed, they signed Rajon Rondo as well as some high character veterans to round off the roster. There's no doubt the Kings are a better team this year but they will need to regain the defensive identity that had them winning early last season while adapting to the fast paced style Karl prefers. Balancing the two could prove challenging.

LAST YEAR

RECORD: 29-53 (13th in the Western conference)
PLAYOFFS: missed
OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 102.5 (16th)
DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 106.5 (27th)

ROSTER

No. PLAYER POS HEIGHT WEIGHT AGE COLLEGE
00 Willie Cauley-Stein C 7-0 240 22 Kentucky
3 Marco Belinelli SG 6-5 210 29 Italy
5 James Anderson SG 6-6 210 26 Oklahoma St.
7 Darren Collison PG 6-0 175 28 California-LA
8 Rudy Gay SF 6-8 230 29 Connecticut
9 Rajon Rondo PG 6-1 186 29 Kentucky
13 Quincy Acy PF 6-7 240 24 Baylor
15 DeMarcus Cousins C 6-11 270 25 Kentucky
18 Omri Casspi F 6-9 225 27 Israel
23 Ben McLemore SG 6-5 195 22 Kansas
30 Seth Curry G 6-2 185 25 Duke
31 Caron Butler SF 6-7 228 35 Connecticut
41 Kosta Koufos C 7-0 265 26 Ohio State

Coach: George Karl.

Assistant coaches: Corliss Williamson, Vance Wallberg, John Welch, Anthony Carter, Nancy Lieberman.

OFFSEASON CHANGES

IN: Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli, Kosta Koufos, James Anderson, Seth Curry, Willie Cauley-Stein, Quincy Acy.

OUT: Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, Reggie Evans, Andre Miller, Derrick Williams, Ray McCallum.

Rondo is the main addition to the Kings but veterans Marco Belinelli, Kosta Koufos and Caron Butler could be just as important, at least from a chemistry standpoint. The Kings didn't lose much talent, as Thompson never became the player they were hoping he would be when he was drafted in the lottery and Stauskas struggled as a rookie. Willie Cauley-Stein came into the league with a reputation for elite defense. If he can live up to it, he could make a perfect frontcourt partner for Cousins and Gay.

DEPTH CHART

POINT GUARD SHOOTING GUARD SMALL FORWARD POWER FORWARD CENTER
STARTER Rajon Rondo Ben McLemore Rudy Gay Willie Cauley-Stein DeMarcus Cousins
RESERVE Darren Collison Marco Belinelli Caron Butler Omri Casspi Kosta Koufos
RESERVE Seth Curry James Anderson Quincy Acy
RESERVE

THE KEY QUESTION

PREDICTIONS

BEST CASE: Karl and Cousins develop a good relationship while Rajon Rondo regains his All-Star form during a contract year. Cauley-Stein and Koufos add just enough defense for the Kings to be average on that end while a fast paced offense and Cousins' dominance inside propels the team to the top 10 in offensive efficiency. The Kings overachieve and make the playoffs as the eighth seed.

WORST CASE: Lack of shooting prevents the offense from improving and the defense never gets to the level it was under Malone. The locker room becomes toxic, as the personalities of Rondo, Cousins and Karl clash. The Kings once again are one of the worst teams in the league and Cousins starts to hint that his patience is running out.