The Sacramento Kings are in an absolute free fall right now. Since starting the season 9-5 the Kings are 8-27. Their last twelve games they are 1-11, with their one win a come from behind effort at home against a George Hill-less Pacers team. Last night the Jazz took their foot off the pedal late and the Kings lost by twelve.
As a result of this along with the .329 winning percentage since he entered the league, much of the blame has been placed at the gigantic feet of Demarcus Cousins. Cousins did himself no favors by doing this last week against the Warriors, I understand that. His quotes, temper tantrums, coach disputes, and general demeanor on the floor do him no favors in general. Demarcus Cousins is an easy target, he makes himself an easy target, and so pundits load up and fire whenever they have a chance.
This is absolute crap. Demarcus Cousins is a superstar currently forced into the worst situation of any top forty player in basketball. Before we go around taking our shots at Demarcus Cousins not being a franchise cornerstone, let’s take a look at the franchise and play a little name game.
Best 12 players he has ever been on a team with?
1. Tyreke Evans
2. Isaiah Thomas
3. Marcus Thornton
4. Rudy Gay
Tied for 5-12:
Beno Udrih, Carl Landry, Omri Casspi, Fransisco Garcia, Jason Thompson, Patrick Patterson, John Salmons, and Darren Collison.
The highest season average assist total a teammate of Cousins has ever had? 6 assists per game, by Isaiah Thomas in 2013-2014. From 2011-2013 no Sacramento King player averaged over 4.5 assists per game. Demarcus Cousins has had five different starting point guards, and not one of them has ever been able to find their 7’0’’ tall center with incredible strength, jumping ability, and a solid back to the basket game more than six times. Really?
Five coaches for Demarcus Cousins?
1. Paul Westphal – 1.5 seasons
2. Keith Smart – 1.5 seasons
3. Mike Malone – 1.5 seasons
4. Ty Corbin – Less than half a season
5. Coming soon to an All-Star Break Press Conference Near You: George Karl (or not)
The Kings have had a top ten pick every year since Demarcus joined the roster, who did they spend those picks on?
2011: Bismack Biyombo (7th)
2012: Thomas Robinson (5th)
2013: Ben McLemore (7th)
2014: Nik Stauskas (9th)
Lay. Off. Boogie. Cousins. For all the hell I give the Pelicans for going all-in two years too soon and ruining an important window with Anthony Davis, the situation that Demarcus Cousins has faced in Sacramento is ten times worse. The last five years have been a constant revolving door of coaches, teammates, bad draft picks, and owners. The Kings currently field a roster whose second best asset is their 2015 draft pick, their third best asset is their 2016 draft pick, and their fourth best asset is a toss-up between Darren Collison, and two shooting guards (McLemore and Stauskas) who have shown us next to nothing at the NBA level. They play in a bottom five market, are run by a rookie owner who makes early years Robert Sarver look like Pat Riley, and play in the Western Conference.
If you don’t think Demarcus Cousins is a superstar in the NBA you simply aren’t giving the Kings enough credit for being an organization so backwards and lost in the thirty team shuffle that they couldn’t accidentally draft a successful role player in the top 10 of back-to-back-to-back-to-back drafts.
Tonight the Suns play them in Sacramento. The Kings have been a tough team for the Suns, almost solely because Cousins is a nightmare for our roster, but I would be disappointed if we did not win in a blowout. If and when it happens, pour some out for Boogie. The man didn’t ask for this.
Suns vs Kings tonight at 7:00- let’s see what the outsiders think!
What Vegas Thinks: Movin’ on Up (Suns -6.5, 207.5)
This line opened with the Suns between four and five point favorites in most sports books and shot up two full points over night. What this means is that at some point late last night, around the time the West coast games were wrapping up, Vegas flashed tonight’s betting lines on their giant electronic screens. Immediately after that happened a stampede of gamblers stormed the book trying to place a bet before this line went higher. A team that is trailing to the Jazz by twenty for most of a game does not deserve to only be 4.5 point home underdogs to a winning team. Sacramento’s home court advantage is basically null right now, the fans are fed up, which the line might have not have weighed in enough when figuring out their initial line. It is still climbing, by the way. Would be shocked if it wasn’t at 7.5 or 8.5 by tip.
An Over/Under of 207.5 is a few points underneath the standard Suns line, but the games have just been lower scoring lately. The great article Dave posted earlier today gave a statistical view of how the Suns offense has looked recently, and it has resulted in an ever-growing streak of unders hitting. Until the Suns hit the Over, expect the lines to get lower and lower. Vegas Prediction: Suns 107 Kings 100
What the National Media Thinks: Boogie Cousins: Dream Killer
If you have not heard yet, the Sacramento Kings badly want to hire George Karl as soon as possible to replace Ty Corbin, who is replacing Mike Malone, who is replacing Keith Smart, who is replacing Paul Westphal, who put a horrible witch doctor curse on Demarcus Cousins after the two had beef in practice back in 2011. Westphal holds a grudge.
However, reports claim Demarcus and his people do not want Karl to take over. Karl has a relationship with the Sacramento Kings front office that is a huge positive, but a relationship with Demarcus Cousins reps that is every bit as negative. The Kings are fifteen games under .500, Karl is a proven winner and rebuilder, and he is also a huge media darling for a variety of reasons. Can you see where this is going?
Boogie is about to get hammered by the press. If the deal with Karl doesn’t go through, and right now the idea is trending in the wrong direction, Cousins will be getting slammed for his relationships with past coaches, and his general behavior. The narrative of "coach killer" or a spoiled star hijacking a franchise is just too easy. It’s a slow pitch softball. Why would the media talk about Karl’s relationship with Cousins’s agent or the fact that his coaching style doesn’t fit Demarcus well when they can simply slap a few buzz words on him like "primadonna" or "selfish" and create more hits, listeners, and fodder. I’ll ride with Demarcus Cousins until the day he is playing out the 5th year of a regret filled $100 million deal on the 2023-2024 Knicks, but if I were his agent I would have to just let the Karl deal happen. There is no way fighting him is worth the impending backlash.
Bonus: We need to talk. Surely you have seen the Anthony Davis injury from last night. You have probably heard about Blake Griffin missing 4-6 weeks with a serious staph infection. I want you to know it is completely normal to have your first thought be a happy one, and then to get mad at yourself for thinking that way. You are not a monster and you will not suffer an eternity in sports hell. We can get through this, it happens to everyone. Think happy thoughts, and wish Davis and Griffin a speedy recover.
What the Sacramento Media Thinks: Overwhelmed with emotion!
I did not expect the bleak sadness I would find at SB Nation blog Sactown Royalty, home of the Sacramento Kings and their fans. The recap of last night’s game against the Jazz, actually has the words "Wait, you’re still here?" in the title. Every preview, review, and commentary article has at least one comment about how Kings fans just want this season to come to a merciful end. Please. This piece, by Greg Wissinger, was posted yesterday on the site and does a great job of explaining the relationships, positive and negative, Karl has with various members of the Kings organization that are making hiring him so tricky.
The Kings do an awesome preview section, where they ask their fans to predict the game score as well as some statistical leaders. The more right answers you have, the more points you win and they keep track of points leaders all season. There were 8 predictions when I checked just after 11 o’clock. Seven of those predictions had the Suns winning by: 14, 15, 21, 23, 24, 25, and 25 again. One fan had the Kings by two. He admitted how ridiculous he sounded.
Pray for the Kings after tonight. This is brutal.