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An opposing team's scout sizes up the Kings

They were trying to trade Mike Bibby last year, and I can see why. It isn't going to work between him and Ron Artest. They don't play well together. I'm sure they'll talk about how well they get along, but when they're on the court, neither one seems to want to help the other. When one of them holds the ball too long or misses a shot, you often see a reaction from the other -- you'll see Bibby rolling his eyes. It's not like they're at war -- it's not Kobe vs. Shaq -- but it's not good chemistry either ...

You can say that Artest just needs to play for the right coach, but I wonder if that coach has been born yet. There's going to be talk of him opting out [after this season], but he shouldn't unless he has a terrific year and stays out of trouble. Another question is whether his agent will give him the right information and provide a realistic appraisal of his options if he does become a free agent ...

Artest still has all of the tools, though he's become a different type of player than he was at Indiana. He gained so much weight when he wasn't allowed to play that he became more of a power forward physically. Even if he has lost some of the weight, his strength isn't his quickness; his strength is his strength. Even when he was slimmer, he wouldn't blow by guys. At best, he would get even with them and then use his strength on them. He would be a good complement to Brad Miller at center because Miller is better out high and facing up. Plus, you see more and more teams going smaller at power forward, which would increase Artest's advantage in the block ...

Bibby started last season with an injury to his shooting hand and it probably affected his shooting all year. If Bibby were traded to Cleveland or another good team where he could be the No. 2 or No. 3 player, he would be a great addition. When he first came to Sacramento, he was always a secondary star behind Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic. Now that those guys are gone, should Bibby be the star? It's clear he's not quite good enough to be that guy. But with another team, he might be the guy who puts them over the top so long as he's not being asked to create. Just bring it up, get them into their offense and then spot up for jumpers and he'll be terrific. He can play several more years at his level because he's never been an athletic guy anyway, so age shouldn't have a big effect on his game. His deficiency is that he's a poor defender, but he's a smart player and on a good team he can use his head to fit into a team defensive concept that can hide him a bit ...

Of course, the problem with getting rid of Bibby is that they have no point guard to replace him ...

I wonder if Shareef Abdur-Rahim can get it done physically anymore. There were so many times last year when he had no lift. Maybe he'll return in better health after surgery to clean out his right knee, but I know people in Sacramento who say that he has to use a railing to get down the stairs, that's how much he was hurting last year. I give him credit for giving the effort, but he's another reason why Artest could help them at power forward ...

Another reason is Kenny Thomas, who is undersized and an offensive liability at power forward. He's a good rebounder, but he just isn't big enough to consistently defend the position ...

I think their problems at power forward helped lead to a disappointing year for Miller. But he was also hurting last year with plantar fasciitis, and there were a lot of nights when he just didn't look like himself. But he's too young and skilled to be deteriorating, and if he's healthy, I wouldn't be surprised to see him bounce back. Again, it would help if he had a better partner on the front line ...

I didn't understand the signing of Mikki Moore, who gives them a third backup at power forward. He's a nice player, but he doesn't address their issues for somebody to block shots and/or score inside as a complement to Miller ...

Rookie center Spencer Hawes missed training camp [with a knee injury] and is so young that it will take him a while to adapt ...

Kevin Martin had a breakout year, but you know what bothers me about him? He is a terrible defender. I just don't get it because he has the athleticism to be good down there. I wonder if he's a young guy who is getting caught up in whatever is going on between Artest and Bibby. He could be similar to Tayshaun Prince: He's long with great feet and he should be able to break up the passing lanes and take charges, though he won't be a shot-blocker like Tayshaun. At the other end, he has an ugly shot like Tayshaun, with his elbow hanging out. But he makes shots and has a great knack for getting to the rim and getting fouled. If Artest was a reliable guy -- a huge if, believe me -- he could be their No. 1 guy and Martin would be perfect as their No. 2 star as well as their best offensive player ...

John Salmons is a selfless guy who does a lot of the little things. He makes the right pass and tries to guard his man, though he isn't the greatest defender. He's an excellent rotation guy who would find minutes on any team. He's a decent scorer who needs to become more consistent from the three-point line ...

Francisco Garcia is another good guy for their rotation who brings energy and effort on defense as well as shooting range, but he can't put the ball on the floor nearly as well as Martin. Quincy Douby could turn out to be a version of Eddie House with deeper range but a slower release. At his size [6-foot-3, 175 pounds], I'm sure they'd like him to become a point guard, but I have my doubts there. He's a crafty guy, but he lacks the quick first step that you get from Martin ...

Reggie Theus is a complete mystery as coach. I was totally shocked that Geoff Petrie would hire him, but maybe the thinking is that they're a long way from contending so what's the difference? ...

They have a lot of nice players, but most of them are backups. Depending on what they do with Bibby and what becomes of Artest, they could get back into playoff contention in a year or two, or they may have to tear out most of the roster and start over.

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