Sacramento Kings Season Preview: DeMarcus Cousins Stuck in No Man’s Land

DeMarcus Cousins

The Sacramento Kings enter another season with no apparent plan, or at least not the right kind of players to execute their long term strategy. There’s DeMarcus Cousins, who is probably the only player on this roster the Kings know they want for the long run. Or maybe they want to trade him?

Confusion, mystery. Not just for the unsuspecting fan looking from the outside, but I’m not sure the people running this show, with Vlade Divac in charge, have any idea where they want to get to. Dave Joerger isn’t a bad coach at all, but the Kings’ draft picking ability has mostly been weak, which means they’ll probably have to tank or at least go through a massive change that means trading Cousins, before they’re set up to win anything.

Maybe everything went wrong the moment they fired Mike Malone, who ran into a bad patch of luck due to a Cousins injury early in the 2014-2015 season. Last season with George Karl didn’t go very well on pretty much every possible front. Rajon Rondo was actually the stable, calming influence, without any incidents to ruin his reputation completely. Karl seemed to go against almost every player on the team at one point or another, and he and Cousins never got along.

But Karl is gone, and what’s important are the players. Like Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore, who the Kings would love to trade. Like rookies Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere. Two centers, one perimeter player. What’s the plan here? More developing of limited players? Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes. Not bad players, but it’s not quite clear what the Kings are trying to do, besides randomly filling their roster with available players and saying they’re building around Cousins.

Omri Casspi is a player the fan base likes, and in a perceived attempt to build a system with Cousins surrounded by 4 shooters he’s good bench player to have. But it just seems the Kings are a team filled with players who are 6-to-9 on the depth chart around most of the league’s teams, and one Cousins, who says he wants to succeed in Sacramento, but probably realizes it’s going to be impossible under this regime.

Best Case Scenario

Making the playoffs. Or maybe completely failing? It’s hard to say with the Kings. But assuming everything clicks and they make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade, it’ll happen because Cousins becomes consistent on defense and even more so in his ability to remain calm, while everyone on this team becomes more than the one-dimensional players that they are. There are less talented teams than the Kings in the NBA, but they just might be the worst.

Worst Case Scenario

Another year of nothingness, winning 25-32 games which suggests to the brass that maybe they’re not that far away from succeeding. Ruts, mediocrity, they’re all bad in the NBA because they prevent you from improving, upgrading the squad and becoming a title contender. It’s worse when you’re not even remotely good, yet remain delusional that just one piece, one change, will make it all OK.

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