NBA Preview: Sense of team eludes Kings
OCT 02, 2012 2:28a ET
How’s that for high hopes and stability?
Actually, when you focus on basketball, the Kings do have some gifted young pieces, and third-year man DeMarcus Cousins may be the best center in the West not named Dwight Howard. Also, point guard Isaiah Thomas was was the steal of the 2011 NBA Draft. (He was selected with the final pick in the final round.)
A top-notch big man and clever ball-handler are good places to start. But for some reason, it’s an unfortunate position in which the Kings seem to be forever trapped.
Last season: 22-44, did not make playoffs.
Coach: Keith Smart (65-116, fourth year).
Top returnees: C DeMarcus Cousins, G/F Tyreke Evans, SG Marcus Thornton.
Key additions: PF Thomas Robinson-r, PG Aaron Brooks.
X-Factor: Evans. His scoring average has dropped by at least one point in each of his first three seasons, and he shot a wretched 20 percent on 3-pointers last year. He needs to figure out his role, and how best to play off his teammates, and fast. Otherwise, it’ll be another year of gambling with a high lottery pick. These days, that seems to get the Kings nowhere.
Strengths: Cousins, who was occasionally disruptive before Smart, is a true force, a pivot who can score at will and plays with an edge. If he were to set up shop in larger market, he’d make the regular All-Star Game appearances he deserves. Thornton is a little streaky but you could do a lot worse at the shooting guard spot, and Evans, Thomas and power forward Jason Thompson are all capable of exploding for big nights.
Weaknesses: For all their individual talent and skills on the perimeter, the Kings seem to have serious issues when the idea is teamwork and sharing the ball. And promising youth isn’t always a good thing if it refuses guidance. On top of all that, the depth is shaky and the defense fictional.
Outlook: Smart is the right coach for the team, his in-your-face motivation techniques and quiet calmness the type of balance this team needs. Still, two things are working against the Kings in a major way: They seem to be slow learners in the area of taking the best possible shot, and they too often refuse to do the little things that win games when nothing else is working. Mostly, this team is screaming for a veteran who will right the ship by example. Unfortunately for the Kings, that doesn’t appear to be the relocation that’s on the way.
2012-13 schedule: Link
FOX Sports: Kings home
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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