“Check out these two, I call them ‘bowsers.’ It’s my nickname for people who look just like their dog.” — Sydney Fife from “I Love You, Man.” (2009)
The Sacramento Kings are starting to look more and more like center DeMarcus Cousins. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the reason the Kings are the forgotten team in California.
“Boogie,” as he’s called, is one of the NBA’s frustrating upside-heavy stars. He’s in his third year from Kentucky with a career average of 16.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and 0.9 blocks at 44.8 percent shooting. Cousins is an offensively-gifted center with a nose for rebounding — a Zach Randolph molded player. His flaws are easy: lazy defense outside of the post, lost in pick-in-rolls, and a tendency to shoot too many outside jumpers.
How does he resemble the Kings?
Sacramento is young. Seven players of their 16-man roster is 24 and younger (Cousins is 22) and only two are older than 30 (Chuck Hayes is 30 and John Salmons is 33). There’s plenty of talent in Isaiah Thomas (24), Marcus Thornton (26), and Cousins. But, like Cousins, the Kings do not take advantage of it.
Instead of handing the keys to Thomas like the latter part of his rookie year (17.3 points, 5.4 assists, 45.1 percent in 28 games post All-Star break), they get another point guard in Greivis Vasquez. To complicate the logjam at power forward, the Kings got Carl Landry to add to the depth chart. He will compete with Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson, and Chuck Hayes for minutes. And to cultivate all the young talent, the Kings hired a life-long assistant, Mike Malone (anything was better than Keith Smart, in defense of that hire).
But, like their franchise center, there’s potential. They drafted Ben McLemore, easily the best shooter in the 2013 NBA Draft. They traded away guard depth in Tyreke Evans to lessen complications. And they surrounded Cousins with shooting threats like Patterson and Thornton to scoring big men like Landry and Travis Outlaw.
So, take the Kings for what they are: young potential with plenty of flaws. But, don’t write them off — they may surprise you.
Photo by Rocky Widner | NBAE via Getty Images
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