The Sacramento Kings have a checkered past in various places with different generations of talent. Today’s team struggles to find relevance after going a long time without a playoff appearance. Sacramento has the team’s recent past, present and future with noteworthy names contributing at different levels.
There have been Kings players to make All-Star teams, All-NBA teams, NBA Championships, and even make the Hall of Fame. The franchise has an underrated group of names that helped create the best of times throughout the ups and downs. Each of the following players deserve to be considered the greatest in the Kings entire history.
UPDATE: 2023/11/01 18:00 EST BY ROBERTH PEREZ
The Sacramento Kings is one of the oldest basketball franchises in history. They have changed their name and location several times, as they had names like Rochester Royals, Cincinnati Royals or Kansas City Kings, but in the history books they count as the same franchise. With so many years in the league, it is no wonder that so many talented players have worn the Kings uniform.
These players gave their best effort week in and week out and left an indelible mark on the team, earning the respect and admiration of the fans. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 15 best players in Sacramento Kings history.
15 Bob Davies
Bob Davies was one of the pioneers of this franchise, as he was with the team from the first season (1948-49). He was also present when the franchise won its first and only championship, in the 1950-51 season. In seven seasons with the Royals, Davies averaged 14.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, with 18.1 Player Efficiency Rating and 49.7 Win Shares. Davies became a legend of this franchise.
14 Arnie Risen
Another of the pioneers of this franchise, almost a founder, was Arnie Risen. He was an extremely talented center who really excelled in the 1950s. He was crucial in the Royals’ championship victory in the 1950-51 season. In seven years with the team, Risen recorded 13.7 points, 11.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, with an 18.8 Player Efficiency Rating and 48.9 Win Shares. In addition, he had four All-Star Game appearances.
13 Bobby Wanzer
Bobby Wanzer was also part of the Rochester Royals that won the trophy in the 1050-51 season, and was a very important part of it. This guard played his entire career with this team (nine years), came in as a normal player, but left as a legend. Wanzer recorded 63.9 Win Shares, the third most in franchise history. In addition, he averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
12 Sam Lacey
Sam Lacey is definitely one of the best players in Sacramento Kings history, and it’s easy to justify that from a statistical standpoint. Lacey leads the franchise in rebounds (9,353), blocks (1,098), steals (950) and Value Over Replacement Player (26.5). In addition, he is second in assists (3,563), fifth in total points (9,895) and second in Box Plus/Minus (2.9). So, Lacey excels in virtually every statistical department after playing for the Kings between 1970 and 1981.
11 Jack Twyman
Jack Twyman could not be missing in this list, as he was one of the most talented players to ever wear the Sacramento Kings uniform. This small forward spent his entire career with the Kings/Royals (11 years), and left an indelible mark on the franchise. He averaged 19.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. Twyman remains the franchise’s all-time leader in Win Shares (75.0), is second in points (15,840) and fifth in rebounds (5,424).
10 Mike Bibby
Mike Bibby was never an All-Star or All-NBA player, but he was the missing piece for the 2000s Sacramento Kings. A risky trade of fan favorite Jason Williams aka “White Chocolate” for Bibby saw the Kings becoming a real threat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bibby was a constant clutch player for Sacramento that season they fell just one game short of making the NBA Finals. The Kings tenure for Bibby saw him averaging an impressive 17.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic suffering injuries ended Sacramento’s window to contend, but Bibby still performed quite well.
9 Otis Birdsong
The Kansas City chapter of the Kings history saw Otis Birdsong as one of the better players for that era. Birdsong was more than just a cool name with three of his four All-Star appearances coming for the Kings franchise. There was even one All-NBA selection during his peak season in 1981.
Kings fans saw Birdsong putting up 21.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game during his four seasons with the franchise. Birdsong doesn’t get talked about as much since modern NBA fans typically only discuss the Sacramento years of the Kings.
8 Vlade Divac
The international flavor of the NBA improved when Vlade Divac became a fixture in the league. Divac was already an established veteran when he joined the Sacramento Kings, but he made his first and only All-Star appearance with them.
Six seasons in Sacramento saw Divac putting up solid all-around numbers of 11.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1 steal and 1 block per game. The unselfish and rare passing for a big man made him perfect for that fast-paced Kings team of the early 2000s.
7 Nate Archibald
Nate “Tiny” Archibald spent six seasons with the Kings franchise during stints in both Kansas City and Cincinnati. The stats during Archibald’s time there were highly impressive with 25.2 points and 8.1 assists per game as a premiere point guard.
Three of Archibald’s total six All-Star appearances came for the Kings franchise before he moved to the Boston Celtics where he continued the success and won some rings. However, it was the Kings that saw the best individual play of Tiny’s career.
6 DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins will have one of the weirder NBA legacies looking back at his time with the Sacramento Kings. Most fans would not guess that Cousins spent seven seasons with the team since they never made the postseason.
The numbers of Cousins were spectacular with 21.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Cousins was arguably the best center in the game for a few years making three All-Star appearances and receiving two All-NBA selections as part of the Kings. Injuries doomed Cousins shortly after his trade to the New Orleans Pelicans.
5 Peja Stojakovic
Sacramento Kings fans fell in love with Peja Stojakovic when he became the premiere three-point shooter in the NBA and the second-best player on the team to Chris Webber for a short while. Stojakovic broke out seemingly out of nowhere to become a relevant upper-level NBA talent.
Three-point shooting made Peja must-watch television for his three All-Star appearances and sole All-NBA selection in Sacramento. Stojakovic averaged 18.3 points and 5 rebounds for the Kings. One specific season saw Peja finishing fourth in MVP voting when averaging 24.2 points per game in 2003-2004.
4 Jerry Lucas
The legendary Jerry Lucas was among the better power forwards of his time. Lucas spent seven seasons with the Kings franchise when they played for Cincinnati in the 1960s. Outstanding numbers of 19.6 points and 19.1 rebounds per game showed he had his best time with the Kings franchise.
Lucas managed to make six of his seven All-Star appearances and all five of his All-NBA selections as a member of the Kings. An NBA Championship came Lucas’ way later in his career with the Warriors all leading to a Hall of Fame induction after retirement.
3 Mitch Richmond
Mitch Richmond had a unique situation with the Sacramento Kings as an all-time great player who rarely had playoff moments. A total of seven seasons in Sacramento showed Richmond averaging 23.3 points, 4.1 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game.
NBA pundits respected Richmond’s production to vote him into all six All-Star appearances and all five All-NBA selections as a member of the Kings. Richmond only had one postseason series in Sacramento with a first-round exit, but he won a ring in his final season as a bench player for the Los Angeles Lakers.
2 Chris Webber
The Sacramento Kings trading for Chris Webber was a bold move since he had relatively short stints with the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards to start his career. Webber ended up having the best run of his career in Sacramento leading the Kings into a contender.
Sacramento had Webber on the roster for seven seasons with incredible averages of 23.5 points, 10.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. Webber received five All-NBA selections and four All-Star appearances during his Kings tenure. Injuries ended Webber’s run as a superstar shortly after they fell short of winning a ring in 2002.
1 Oscar Robertson
The iconic Oscar Robertson is still a beloved figure today when breaking down all-time greats. Robertson had his best seasons coming with the Kings franchise in Cincinnati over the course of ten seasons. Outstanding numbers of 29.3 points, 10.3 assists and 8.5 rebounds showed how ahead of his time he was.
Robertson won an NBA Championship towards the end of his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, but his best seasons came with the Kings. Ten All-Star appearances and nine All-NBA selections were smaller successes compared to his MVP Award as the league’s best player in 1964.