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NBA season preview: Sacramento Kings

Oct 19, 2012, 3:59 PM EDT

DeMarcus Cousins, Harrions Barnes

Last Season: More of the same, for a club that has been truly terrible for the last six seasons. Paul Westphal was run out of town mid-season in favor of Keith Smart, who thus far has had much greater success relating to the team’s young players. DeMarcus Cousins showed significant improvement, and the speedy rookie Isaiah Thomas was a nice surprise. But the wins were once again lacking, and with the spectre of relocation hanging over the franchise, it could be another very tough season for the fans in Sacramento.

Key Departures: None that would be considered “key.”  Terrence Williams is gone, now in camp with the Pistons after averaging 8.8 points and 4.1 rebounds while appearing in just 18 games for the Kings last season.

Key Additions: Aaron Brooks was added for some point guard depth, and the team selected forward Thomas Robinson out of Kansas with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Sacramento also traded for James Johnson, who was productive in Toronto but will now be part of a seemingly crowded frontcourt rotation.

Three keys to the Kings season:

1) DeMarcus Cousins: All-Star? Despite the poor attitude label that Cousins has had since entering the league, the reality is that he’s developing into a monster NBA talent. He finished last season tied for fourth in rebounding at 11 per game, with only perennial dominators of the category in Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, and Andrew Bynum in front of him. But in terms of total rebound rate, only Howard in that group was higher. All of this is to say that Cousins is a beast on the boards, and combine the skill he shows there with the fact that he’s unafraid to sacrifice his body defensively and plays with a chip on his shoulder that teammates love and opponents hate, and you’ve got a player primed to make a significant jump if he shows even a hint of improvement offensively.

2) Development of the core players: In addition to Cousins, there is talent present on the Kings’ roster. Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton are legitimate scoring threats at the guard spot, and Aaron Brooks may provide some depth there, as well. There should be minutes available for rookie Thomas Robinson off the bench, and the team made an investment in Jason Thomson, keeping him in place by signing him to a new five-year deal. Tyreke Evans is still around, but is floating positionally between the two-guard and the small forward spots. It will be up to Keith Smart in his first full season as head coach to develop this team and if nothing else, create a cohesiveness with the starters that the club can build upon moving forward.

3) Ignore the noise and just play. As tough as it will be at times for both the fans and the players, everyone needs to focus on improving the product on the court, wherever that court may eventually be in seasons to come. The relocation chatter will come and go, but it won’t be a surprise at this point, so the team needs to ensure that the distraction is kept to a minimum.

What Kings fans should fear: Relocation of the franchise. Because unlike Seattle which had its team taken from them, it’s tough to see Sacramento as a market attractive enough for the NBA to return to in the future if the Kings indeed end up eventually skipping town.

Prediction: If Cousins continues his progression and Keith Smart is the real deal, the Kings could be improved enough to see their win total creep up into the high 30s. Beyond that, again, the team is just looking for something to build upon for the future — one which, hopefully, will continue to be in Sacramento.

  1. libertynchurch - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Cousins is a beast! Would love to see him in Chicago or Boston.

  2. rj2323 - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Cousins is a beast no doubt all star this year. This team has a lot of young talent Thornton Thomas an Evans I can see them sneaking into the playoffs at the 8 spot but everything will have to go right for that to happen

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      Oh yeah, they have enough talent for sure to get that 8th spot. They’re very young and raw, but they definatly are loaded with talent. You’re right though, everything would have to go right for them. Curry from GSW getting hurt…AGAIN, is one obsticle out the way so far since GSW would’ve pushed for that 8th spot, same thing with K Love in MIN, so they got that going for them too.

      As long as DMC doesn’t get hurt for a long period of time or at all more prefferably, they can do it. Anyone else can get hurt and they could still recover ’cause they are so deep, Thomas gets hurt, oh well, bring in Brooks, probably better anyways. Thornton gets hurt, oh well, move Evans to his original spot at SG then, better for him and put any one of their 70+ SF’s in. Robinson gets hurt, oh well, put in Thompson or Hayes. You see what I’m saying. DMC is the only irreplaceable part. He is honestly good enough to be the best C in the league, thank God I don’t have to worry about that ’cause his immaturity won’t allow him to so he probably never will be.

  3. KOBEshigawa - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Could Sacto’s future look worse? They have Jimmer, Aaron Brooks, Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas–who passes the ball? Can anyone here stop themselves from shooting 20 times a game to facilitate an offense? Thomas Robinson and DeMarcus Cousins could prove to be a great frontcourt duo in the future, but they have so little help around them offensively and especially defensively. Another awful year ahead for the Kings –

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