Sacramento Kings: A quick rundown
By: Ryan Rodriguez
Here is a quick rundown of what I’ve seen so far from the Kings (I’ve seen the game against the Clippers and some of the Warriors game).
Before I say anything about DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins let me start with this, I love basketball players with immense physical abilities who don’t totally have their head screwed on straight for one reason or another. As a fan, I hope and hope for the day that they put everything together and realized their potential both physically and mentally, so obviously I love that a guy with this exact skill set is on my team and I get to pull for him every night. With that said, Boogie had me really hyped until that Warriors game, but I’m still feeling pretty positive. He looked great in the Clippers game, assertive and playing much smarter basketball than I’ve ever seen.
He actually attacked the rim with regularity instead of settling for mid range jumpers, which, if you have watched Boogie, has been a huge problem. He even did a great job controlling his temper as Chris Paul constantly tried to bait him into a technical. Even though he finally got one in the third, it seemed to be a case of the referee letting DeMarcus’ reputation taint his view of what happened. This said, if Coach Mike Malone can get Cousins to use his prodigious physical gifts to play closer to the rim and constantly attack, their is no reason he cannot get every big man in the league in foul trouble, as he did to the Clips front line. And if he shows some interest in playing defense, the Kings will have an All Star center on their hands.
I love the short man, Isaiah Thomas. Being put on the bench with the acquisition of Greivis Vasquez will free him up to do what he does best, attack with the ball in his hands. Running the second team will allow him to look for his shot more, and if the first three games are any indication, he is right at home in his new role. The way he constantly put pressure on the Clippers and the Warriors will be key to the Kings success this season. In case you were wondering, the 5’9? guard is averaging 7.6 free throws per game. Yeah that’s beasty.
As an unabashed Greivis Vasquez fan, I was very excited to have him on the Kings this year, not to mention the fact that he gives the Kings a true point guard. If you have watched the Kings recently, you know that they could have changed their nickname to the Black Holes and everyone would agree that it fit their players offensive style perfectly. With that said, Greivis has not done much of anything yet this year. Now part of that is due to Isaiah’s hot start, but it also has to do with his own, underwhelming play in the Clippers and Warriors games. I’m hoping he can begin to recreate the year he had in New Orleans last year and help the Kings offense function with ball movement and precision as opposed to ball stopping, isolation ball.
My hopes for Ben McLemore are reasonably high this year in that I hope he can take the starting 2 guard spot from Marcus Thornton and give the Kings some shooting and athleticism that they have not had in recent years. In the Clippers game, he still looked like a rookie trying to get his feet wet, more than a player ready to make an impact. This was evident by Coach Malone only playing him 13 minutes, but with the Kings starts looking downright horrible against the Warriors, Ben stepped up and played 30 minutes. He looked much more assertive, which at times was a problem in college, as he put in 19 points and played decent all around basketball.
I feel horrible that I have to root for John Salmons and Travis Outlaw at the 3, they are just down right horrible basketball players. They basically do nothing that helps the team win and sometimes I question how they still have a job playing basketball. I guess they are lucky horrible teams exist so they can keep “Cashin them checks” (copyright Jalen Rose).
The Kings bigs besides DeMarcus leave much to be desired as well. Patrick Patterson can be a solid stretch 4 at times, but so far this year he has not be able to recreate the success he had last year on the Rockets. Jason Thompson, at this point his what he is, a decent third big man with the consistency to match what you would expect from an average, at best, big man. And Chuck Hayes, should be strictly used as a locker room presence and designated fouler because what was left of some basketball skill is now replaced by someone who just works really hard.
With all of this said, I am truly optimistic about the Kings for the first time in years. We finally have gotten rid of the Maloofs, who were just despicable, broke owners by the time they finally sold the team. The new ownership and management has me really excited that the Kings will finally be run like a real NBA franchise after several years of feeling embarrassed to say I even rooted for the Kings.
With Coach Malone’s focus on defense, I feel the Kings will start to make improvement on that side of the court, which will only help them because they have been awful on that side of the ball in recent seasons. With all this said, I, in no way want the Kings to challenge for a playoff spot because this draft is to sweet to be a good bad team. My hope is for the Kings to start playing good, team basketball on both ends of the court that has them looking like a real NBA team instead of a bunch of streetballers.