Sacramento Kings Draft

Can These Little Kings Grow Up To Be The Class Of the NBA?

Little Kings

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Growing up, my intermediate family and I would make the eight hour trek up to Omaha, Nebraska – my parents' hometown – in order to visit family. My relatives have a deep connection to the city, with my ancestors ranging from brick layers for the downtown market area to hot-shot lawyers in the Douglas County courthouse.

My grandfather (or "Papa" as my siblings and I call him) loves this sub sandwich place called Little Kings, so we go nearly every time we go to Omaha. The food is pretty special – think of a Subway on steroids with a much better spokesperson, Little Kings' cartoon Monarch vs. Subway's Jared. When we first went there in the early 2000s, the place was a bit of a dump. Poor lighting, ripped booths, dingy looking flooring were all deterrents.

However, the food and the history always kept us coming back for more. In the last couple years, Little Kings has upped their game: updated decor and color scheme, a spruced-up logo, and across-the-board new management. The Little Kings and their external aspects have finally started growing up to the level of the food.

There are a lot of parallels to draw to the NBA's Sacramento Kings. For years in the 2000s and 2010s, Sacramento was a dingy franchise. Lacking continuity of any sort, Sacramento has been mired in a playoff drought that makes most other franchises feel great about themselves, a string of 12 straight playoff misses.

Their incompetent front office has hampered what is truly a great product: Sacramento fans are among the most fiercely loyal in the entire league. Outside of drafting DeMarcus Cousins in 2010, their draft history of the past decade looks like a nightmare row of busts and disappointments: Jason Thompson, Tyreke Evans, Bismack Biyombo, Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Willie Cauley-Stein.

The likelihood of being able to string that many misses in a row together again is astronomically low, yet the Kings in normal Kings fashion found a way to do so. Like a few other teams that tried to bottom out but just couldn't (see: Magic, Orlando), it's not entirely Sacramento's fault. Consensus stars are typically picked in the top three, and Sacramento hasn't a single such pick. After dumping Cousins for a decent haul, the Kings are back to square one, but after jumping to the number two pick in the 2018 draft, the Kings, like Little Kings, are showing signs of doing things right for the first time.

For a team that struggles to attract big free agents like Sacramento, being able to hit on draft picks makes all the difference, and having more shots at the draft helps. The Kings, after seemingly taking a sharp blow to the head, decided to hand expensive multi-year deals to veterans George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter instead of using the cap space to absorb other teams' bad contracts and take on extra draft picks in the process.

Most importantly, the Hill addition blocked the Kings' 2017 top pick and top current asset, De'Aaron Fox, from valuable reps. Fox showed some great flashes and a killer instinct, and could very well be a number two option on a contending team in the near future. Elsewhere on the roster, the Kings have some intriguing options. Buddy Hield, while definitely not the next Steph Curry, projects to be a dynamic sixth man off the bench who can score in bunches and bury threes in a hurry. Bogdan Bogdanovic possesses similar flame-throwing ability, and could be a great building block as a floor spacer.

I would love to see the Kings be able to sort out their big man log jam. Willie Cauley-Stein is pretty much what he is: a 10 point, 10 rebound big man who will roll to the basket and play pretty good defense.

The power forward battle going forward will be the most exciting part, if either prospect will seize control. Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles III were both top prospects coming out of high school before various issues (Labissiere's confidence issues and Giles' double ACL tear) lead to their respective falls down draft boards.

They both have shown tantalizing potential in the present and past, but someone needs to take a leap it seems. Skal is the smoother player, who seems he could be a transcendent post passer with a faceup mid-range game. Giles, meanwhile, has post moves for days and was a truly explosive athlete before the injuries sapped some of his bounciness.

Last year's 15thpick, small forward Justin Jackson, often looked out of place even though he was supposed to step in as an NBA-ready wing from the get-go. With the point guard spot figured out, filling the rest of the roster with star wings will be key moving forward. The Kings have taken some shots at the lottery, but just need a couple to hit.

The ping-pong gods finally shined on Sacramento, allowing them to move from the seventh best odds, to the number two pick. Most experts are declaring this draft a two-player draft, with Deandre Ayton likely going first to the Phoenix Suns and Luka Doncic being the second best player.

Doncic makes perfect sense for the Kings, sliding in a position of need (combo guard) that can provide shooting and a steady presence. Reports (that could be smokescreens to get teams off their scent) have come out that the Kings' front office, and specifically their key decision maker Vlade Divac, isn't keen on Doncic. This could be a massive mistake, but as long as the Kings capitalize on their prime draft position, Sacramento could be escape the lottery sooner rather than later.

Sacramento needs to get this pick right. Expediting their rebuild, while remaining patient, will be key. The Kings can't expect their fans to remain loyal forever. Accumulating young assets and building through the draft, and sprinkling in a little time, will allow this team to thrive and get back to being a respectable franchise. Soon enough, these Princes will have the chance to grow up to be Royalty.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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8 Taco Recipes That Go Way Beyond The Basic Tortillas And Salsa

You can make tacos out of sushi, ice cream and everything in between, you just have to get creative.

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There's no denying tacos are awesome. That's probably why an entire day of the week is dedicated to them. If you're looking for a new way to spice up your Tuesday night, or you just want to try a new twist on an old recipe, you are definitely in the right place.

1. The Bacon Weave Taco

It's a scientific fact that bacon makes everything better. If you're looking for a way to amp up your tacos, what better way than with a bacon-weave shell?

Don't worry, making the shells is super easy and only takes minutes. Once baked, they will hold shape and are ready to be filled to the brim. Stuffed with eggs, chives, cheese, avocado and a touch of salsa, these bacon tacos are sure to satisfy your cravings for everything savory.

2. The Sushi Taco

If you love sushi, why not try it in taco form? These sushi tacos are super easy to make and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes. The recipe recommends using salmon and tuna but you can always swap them out for your personal favorites.

You'll need a few specialty ingredients, like nori seaweed, which is fried into a shell and sriracha sauce for the spicy mayonnaise. You'll also need sushi rice, which is cooked in a mixture of rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt. The result is a delicious dish you'll want to recreate again and again.

3. The Greek Taco

Yes, it's a gyro, but it's also a taco. If you want a taste of the Mediterranian but can't afford a flight, bring Greece to you with these delicious Greek tacos with lamb and tzatziki sauce.

The sauce, a combination of plain yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and grated cucumber, is simple to put together and can be premade. Once the lamb is cooked, you can assemble your tacos with toppings like spinach, tomatoes and avocado. Don't forget that tzatziki, though, it's literally the best.

4. The Sweet Potato Taco

If you're looking for a tasty new vegetarian recipe or just don't feel like a trip to the grocery store, consider trying these sweet potato and black bean tacos.

The "meat" of these tacos is a mixture of sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, corn and black beans. To get the flavors mingling, honey, lime and spices like cumin and paprika are then tossed in. Once the potatoes are soft, serve the mixture warm over heated corn tortillas.

5. The Cheese Lover’s Taco

Do you call yourself a cheese connoisseur? Are you always looking for the best pairings? If you can't get enough of the orange stuff, then check out these tacos with shells made entirely from cheese.

The shells are simple to make, best done by laying a pile of shredded cheese on a silicone mat and baking for five to seven minutes. Then, the cheese is hung to dry, forming a taco shell shape. Afterwards, you can fill it with your favorite toppings, like ground beef, avocado, sour cream and salsa.

6. The Lettuce Wrap Taco

Choosing between delicious tacos and a swimsuit-ready body can be hard. That's why many of us are looking for ways to cut calories without having to give up our favorite foods. Now, with lettuce wrap tacos, you can enjoy a tasty treat without feeling guilty afterward.

Once you have your romaine lettuce shells, fill the insides with chicken breast cooked with garlic and taco seasoning. Then, top it off with sour cream or Greek yogurt, jalapenos and avocado. You can also substitute your own toppings, like diced tomatoes and feta cheese.

7. The Curry Taco

If you're looking for a taco that can pack a punch, consider trying out these coconut curry chicken tacos. While you'll need the classic grilled corn tortilla to get started, the rest of the recipe is unique.

The chicken curry filling is made with coconut milk, red curry paste and chicken breast. Once cooked, it's topped with Granny Smith apple salsa and mango sauce, which is a combination of mangos, jalapeno chiles and curry paste.

8. The Ice Cream Taco

Tacos aren't limited to the main course. With the right ingredients, like flour tortillas, sugar, chocolate chips and more, they're also a great way to enjoy dessert.

This ice cream taco starts with a regular flour tortilla, fried with butter in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Once cooked, you dip the edges of the shell in melted chocolate and allow it to harden. Afterward, fill with your favorite ice cream flavor and cover with toppings like sprinkles and whipped cream.

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