The Sacramento Kings are sure to be a fascinating team to watch this season, if only because of the joint possibilities that it could be either the most spectacular train wreck the league has seen in years or an actually good basketball team. But the most exciting prospect for hoop heads in Sacramento will to be the development of DeMarcus Cousins, who will be deployed differently in the offense by head coach George Karl going forward.
The Kings took Willie Cauley-Stein sixth overall in the draft, and he’s a center in the mold of Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan: A huge, agile rim-protector without even the barest hint of a jump shot but the ability to dive on the pick-and-roll. Cousins has a polished post game, and he’s been extending the range on his jump shot to the point that he’ll be attempting some three-pointers this season. We’ll see how that works out, but his ballhandling and passing ability are huge assets that could be leveraged even better on the outside. Boogie’s been one of the NBA’s best offensive centers the last couple of seasons, but as he told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, that’s only the beginning of what he can do.
“I don’t really consider myself a center,” Cousins said. “I’m just a basketball player. There’s so much I can do on the floor. People get stuck on the word ‘center,’ ‘big man’ and (are) kind of ignorant to the situation. I can’t really worry about that. I just go out there and do my job.”
In his typically straightforward manner, Boogie hits on a growing reality in the NBA, in which the traditional one-through-five positions on the floor have blended together. Versatility is prized more than ever before, and Cousins has it. If he can extend his jumper to 20 feet and beyond, he can draw defenders enough to allow Cauley-Stein pick-and-rolls to flourish. Boogie will really need to stretch himself if he’s supposed to share the floor with the rookie center and Rajon Rondo, too.
Even Cousins isn’t quite sure how the experiment will work, telling Jones, “It’s weird kind of floating out there.” If he can’t shoot enough to clear out the lane, the Kings’ offense will stagnate. And defense might be a bigger problem.
Cauley-Stein could eventually be such a dominant force on defense that he’ll make up for mistakes and overall deficiencies, but it’s unreasonable to expect him be there right off the bat in his rookie season. Cousins is a bigger guy, and if we’re about to see some of the smallest, quickest power forwards the league has ever seen (we are), it’s tough to know if the rebounding edge the Kings could have will matter if they’re both clogged on offense and outran on defense.
Regardless, it’ll be different in Sacramento this season, and different is fun (as long as you don’t have a rooting interest). Cousins is such a talent that you can’t dismiss the project out of hand, and the prospect of putting Boogie and Trill on the floor together has got to be alluring for any coach.
(Via Sacramento Bee)