1 Sacramento Kings A jokester forward can make a serious impact on this contender

October 27, 2003

It's media day, and Chris Webber is all business. He scowls. He
gestures forcefully as he speaks. The Kings need to get mean this
season, he preaches to the cameras. Playoff victories don't mean
anything without a title. People will need to step up. People
like 6'7" Gerald Wallace, the third-year forward who must help
fill the void left by the departure of Jimmy Jackson and Hedo
Turkoglu.

Just as Webber is making his point, Wallace himself walks over,
looking very focused. Or at least as focused as a man in a purple
velour leisure suit, big puffy hat, dollar sign earrings and
giant sunglasses can look. Abruptly, many of the cameras turn
away from Webber and follow Wallace as he pimp-walks away, having
a good time in one of the costumes that was on hand for a photo
shoot.

As much of a jokester as the 21-year-old Wallace may be, he is
serious about earning meaningful minutes and living up to the
Kings' expectations. During three years of mostly spot duty, he
has shown flashes of brilliance, especially on defense and in
transition. After recovering from surgery in June to correct
tendinitis in his left shoulder, Wallace says he worked on his
jumper by making 1,000 to 1,500 of them a day, often shooting
3,000 or more to get to that number. While this figure seems hard
to believe--even if Wallace hoisted a shot every five seconds,
without resting, that would take four hours--Sacramento isn't
paying him to do math. And they've got to like his confidence. "I
don't feel any pressure," says Wallace. "I'll take on all the
competition. I'm ready."

If he's not joking, the Kings could be even better than last
year. --Chris Ballard

COLOR PHOTO: ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES Gerald Wallace COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (STOJAKOVIC) PEJA VIEW Known mainly for his shooting, Stojakovic has a keen court sense that's vital to Sacramento.

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Kings

"The best anyone can say is that the Kings--like the Spurs, the
Lakers and the Mavs--can win the West. It's too close to call....
As good as he is, what has Chris Webber accomplished? Webber can
be dominant, and he's still only 30, but he's missed 43 games the
last two years and at crucial times he has not come through....
Brad Miller gives them toughness in the post that they haven't
had before. He'll battle inside against Duncan and Shaq, and he
can pop outside and hit the 15-foot jumper. I'm curious to see if
Miller can help shake the Kings out of the self-doubt that they
figure to have after blowing it the last two years.... Last
season the Kings became an elite defensive team because of their
speed and quickness. They can't knock you around, but they take
advantage of the zone rules and play smart team defense by
overplaying the passing lanes.... Their point guards, Mike Bibby
and Bobby Jackson, have to stay healthy. Bibby is a pass-first
guy, and Jackson usually isn't, but Jackson is the toughest
player on the team. There have been times that I thought they
were better off with Jackson, because he gives them a sharper
edge.... The other key guy is Peja Stojakovic, who has been
fighting injuries the last couple of years. People think of him
as a shooter, but he's as smart as anyone at his position, and he
can put it on the floor and drive past people knowing that he's
tall enough to pull up and shoot over the defense.... The Kings
aren't as deep as in previous seasons; to win the championship
they need to be tougher and avoid injuries. They also need the
kind of luck they haven't had the last couple of years, which
means that bad things have to happen to their rivals--like the
Kobe Bryant situation, which may open the door for Sacramento."

FAST FACT

Offensive-minded Sacramento led the league in opponents' field
goal percentage (42.0) and defensive rebounds (33.5 per game).

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
with 2002-03 statistics

Record: 59-23 (3rd in West)
Points scored: 101.7 (3rd in NBA)
Points allowed: 95.2 (17th)
Coach: Rick Adelman (sixth season with Kings)

VLADE DIVAC

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
C 138 9.9 7.2 3.4 1.31 1.04 46.6 71.3

PEJA STOJAKOVIC

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
SF 38 19.2 5.5 2.0 1.00 48.1 38.2 87.5

MIKE BIBBY

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG SPG FG% 3FG% FT%
PG 59 15.9 2.7 5.2 1.31 47.0 40.9 86.1

DOUG CHRISTIE

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% 3FG%
SG 96 9.4 4.3 4.7 0.46 2.25 47.9 39.5

CHRIS WEBBER

POS. PVR PPG RPG APG BPG SPG FG% FT%
PF 29 23.0 10.5 5.4 1.31 1.58 46.1 60.7

BENCH PVR* 2002-03 KEY STATS

G BOBBY
JACKSON 83 15.2 ppg 3.7 rpg 3.1 apg 1.20 spg 46.4 FG%
C[1] BRAD
MILLER 101 13.1 ppg 8.3 rpg 2.6 apg 0.59 bpg 49.3 FG%
G[1] ANTHONY
PEELER 171 7.7 ppg 2.9 rpg 3.0 apg 41.4 FG% 41.0 3FG%
F GERALD
WALLACE 191 4.7 ppg 2.7 rpg 0.5 apg 0.51 spg 49.2 FG%
C-F[1]TONY
MASSENBURG 295 4.7 ppg 2.7 rpg 0.33 bpg 44.8 FG% 77.4 FT%

NEW ACQUISITION[1]
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 94)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)