Changes in Sac town begin a new and bright future for Sacramento Kings fans. New ownership, new management, new coaches and new players are the beginning and the foundation.
A new arena being built in the center of Downtown Sacramento is the next step in the promising future for the Kings, which couldn’t have been in a better location. With former first round pick Tyreke Evans being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, it’s clear now that this is DeMarcus Cousins’ team.
In the NBA, a dominant big man is hard to find, whether it is because of injuries falling on Yao Ming, Greg Oden and Andrew Bynum, or because of lack of offensive production like Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan and Kendrick Perkins.
Cousins is already flirting with averaging a double-double a game during his career. He has the chance to be the best big man in the game. With maturity and good counseling from future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, it should be no problem for Cousins to develop mentally and physically.
Adding additional guards to the team can’t hurt Cousins chances. The Kings went out and grab two in this year’s draft. Arguably the best prospect in the draft, the Kings are hoping Ben McLemore will be Cousins co-star in leading the team in a new and positive direction.
McLemore played one season at Kansas University where he lead the Jayhawks in scoring and helped them compete in the NCAA tournament. In the second round, the Kings acquired point guard Jay McCallum from Detroit University. A crafty guard that can control a game’s tempo, McCallum can drive hard to the basket and is sufficient from behind the ach.
That’s not to mention having guard Isaiah Thomas returning this year. Thomas is undersized, but a player with tremendous heart and can be instant offense for the team off the bench. The Kings also made a few moves during free agency, acquiring Carl Laundry from the Golden State Warriors, which is, in my opinion, a clear-cut steal.
Laundry is an excellent defender and can play well on the block. He provides the team with veteran leadership and with offensive help off the bench. My fear for this young team is the lack of depth off the bench and the fact that it may take a while for the draft picks to come into their own and truly flourish.
Rest assured, Cousins is hungry and knows his potential for greatness. At the end of the day the Sacramento Kings will only go as far as Cousins will take them. I speak to people all the time, fans of the Kings and non-fans.
The commonality that I consistently hear is that those individuals feel Cousins has to “grow up.” They acknowledge the fact that he has potential but emphasizes that he lacks leadership skills, which is a trait that ultimately the Kings will need. I agree with them to a degree.
However, you have to give the kid a break. He only spent one year in college at Kentucky and was expected to lead the charge immediately. Granted, you are expected to produce, considering how much the players are being paid. I understand the fans want results.
In all actuality, Cousins is still young and off the court he is a well-mannered young man. He is highly critized for being a “cry baby,” and for the arguing when he does from not getting a call from the referees. I would argue Cousins is a product of his environment. He is only mimicking what players before him have done and still do.
Cousins is a young man that you don’t have to worry about off-the-court because of distractions. He is built solid and is in great physical condition, so injuries so far haven’t been an issue. Every year, Cousins adds something different to his game. This year he speaks of focusing on defense.
The young man is a contributor in the community, and prior to the hiring of O’Neal, I believed the only missing piece from Cousin’s life was a strong mentor. A mentor that has personality similarities and has won championships before, someone he admires and respect.
Now that O’Neal is on board, the rest of the NBA better watch out because a new King is on the rise. Once he’s reached a point of taking self-accountability there won’t be anything any other player can do to stop him. The Sacramento Kings are on their way.
DeMarcus Cousins is about to lead the way.
Dennis Freeman is a college student and a photojournalist. His porfolio includes shooting photos for Sacramento City College, covering the Sacramento Lions of the United Football League and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Dennis is a native of the Bay Area and resides currently in Sacramento where he does freelance photography. He is recently engaged and a proud father of his young son Elijah.