NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tomahawk Tuesday: The Sacramento Kings could be on the verge of blowing everything up

The Sacramento Kings continue to be one of the weirdest teams in the NBA. They have a spanking new arena in downtown Sacramento that is absolutely incredible and yet amid all the joys that come with that, there are reports of them being willing to trade just about everyone on their roster, it feels like. During the past week and a half, I have heard Willie Cauley-Stein, Omri Casspi, Rudy Gay, and even DeMarcus Cousins mentioned in trade rumors, which if you are doing in the math is nearly one-third of their roster. In the cases of Willie Cauley-Stein, Omri Casspi, and Rudy Gay, it appears to be a situation where all three guys want to get the hell out of Sacramento and get a fresh start elsewhere. As for DeMarcus Cousins, this too might be the case, but I have to say that he does seem to be enjoying his time as a prominent figure in the Sacramento community.

What I want to address is whether moving any of these players makes sense. Personally, I don't think it really matters what happens to Willie Cauley-Stein, Omri Casspi, or Rudy Gay. Those guys, even Rudy Gay, are complementary pieces around the franchise player in DeMarcus Cousins, who is currently averaging 27.5 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. The Kings could trade any of those guys and they would still more or less have their same identity, which is a team built around DeMarcus Cousins.

As for trading DeMarcus Cousins is concerned, this would be a big deal and does matter. Before the Sacramento Kings say sayonara to the man known as "Boogie", they better be sure moving him is really the right move. You don't just give away a 27 and 10 guy without giving it some serious thought. Especially when that guy is just 26 years old and has not yet reached his prime. Love him or hate him, DeMarcus Cousins delivers the goods night in and night out and has proven himself to be one of the best big men in the NBA. I know he gets criticized for his poor attitude and inability to lead, but I really think it's unfair to criticize him in these areas when he hasn't had a team around him to lead.

                                        (Credit: GAMEFACE-PHOTOS. Click here for source) 

To be more clear, DeMarcus Cousins' inability to "lead" the Sacramento Kings to the playoffs can't be put on his attitude or lack of commitment since the teams he's played on have not been very good. He's more or less been the only player Kings fans could get excited about since the days of Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, and Vlade Divac. He's been the only guy to give them any sort of hope at becoming relevant and competitive again. Ben McLemore hasn't been able to be that guy, Jimmer Fredette sure as hell wasn't that guy, and Rudy Gay was a nice addition, but not a guy who they could rely on to be the cornerstone of a championship contending team.

In addition to not having the right players, the Kings until this season have had all sorts of coaching problems. Most notably the addition of George Karl, who hated DeMarcus Cousins from the moment he set foot in Sacramento. Karl never gave Cousins a chance to lead or be "the man" on the Kings and Cousins suffered as a result. George Karl continued to pin it as a "George Karl vs. DeMarcus Cousins" kinda thing as if they were dueling each other as opposed to working with each other. DeMarcus Cousins has been mistreated by the Sacramento Kings for far too long and now that he finally has a competent head coach in Dave Joerger the Kings are starting to seriously consider moving him? It's time for him to move on? Get real.

The only time it's time to move on is if you've led your team to a championship and your team is now over the hill or you went as far as you could and reached your maximum potential. Neither is the case with DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. In his case, the Kings haven't reached their max potential due to incompetent moves on their end. They've drafted the wrong supporting cast players around him, they've traded away the wrong people, and hired coaches that don't know how to work with him. DeMarcus Cousins hasn't been the problem in Sacramento, the Kings have been.

What's evidence of the Kings' dysfunction is the fact that they are the verge of blowing everything up before figuring out where they want to go. If the Kings sincerely believe that it is time for them to move on from DeMarcus Cousins, I suppose that's fine, but if they do, they better have a game plan of what to do next. Guys like DeMarcus Cousins don't grow on trees and if you trade him, you better be certain you are getting something very promising in return. Otherwise, you might as well keep him, continue to build around him, and actually get him the pieces that he needs in order to be successful. I personally believe that DeMarcus Cousins can be a legit franchise player in the NBA and I see no good reason to think that he can't be that guy in Sacramento provided the Kings get him the help he needs.

On a separate, but still Sacramento Kings related note, I got the chance to visit the Golden 1 Center, the Kings' new arena on Monday night on media assignment for, Cal's site.  It was a lot of fun to be a member of the media in an NBA arena. What I can say about my experience at the Golden 1 Center from an NBA standpoint is that it is truly a beautiful arena with an absolutely incredible screen above the court. The Kings definitely built themselves a state-of-the-art arena in downtown Sacramento. I was very impressed with the layout of the arena from the press room to the court itself. Excellent arena and an absolutely amazing place to watch a game. 

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