Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors (17-8) x Sacramento Kings (7-17)
- Tip Off: 7:00 p.m. (PT)
- Television: CSN-BA
Sacramento Kings Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 98.4 (26th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 106.3 (27th in NBA)
- Points: DeMarcus Cousins, 16.6 PPG
- Rebounds: DeMarcus Cousins, 9.8 RPG
- Assists: Tyreke Evans, 3.3 APG
- Steals: DeMarcus Cousins, 1.3 SPG
- Blocks: Jason Thompson, 1.0 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Jason Thompson, 50.7 FG%
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Jimmer Fredette, 39.5% 3PT FG
Scope the Opposition: Cowbell Kingdom.
Preview: After dispatching the New Orleans Hornets last night, the Golden State Warriors will be in Sacramento tonight to take on a Sacramento Kings that has some talent on it, but lacks perhaps the required mental toughness and maturity necessary to be good NBA team.
Chief amongst them all is DeMarcus Cousins.
The Kentucky product may well in fact be one of the most gifted big men in the league today, and yet the question that often revolves around him is whether he will truly ever get it.
And that’s a big it.
Cousins has all the tools and intangibles a general manager would wish to find in a young big man to build his franchise around. The Kings forward can punish defenders on the block, get tough rebounds in traffic, finish around the rim despite contact, hit the occasional perimeter jumper and even feed cutters every now and then for easy baskets.
When looking at the big man play, he has moments when he reminds people of a former Kings great: Chris Webber.
DeMarcus Cousins can play in both the high and low post and take advantage of matchups based on the defender. His ball handling is solid enough that he can blow by some slower big men off the bounce and get to the rim, or perhaps just back them down and score with a decent low post move.
Furthermore, the former Wildcat has a mean streak reminiscent of Shaquille O’Neal. Indeed, he often looks like he wants to dominate opponents and make them cry into submission because of his impressive skills. He barks at guys on other teams, talks to officials and might even throw in a few disparaging remarks here and there because he knows he can walk the walk on most nights.
And yet, for all of his gifts, Cousins might just be the big man version of Allen Iverson; and that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
The talented forward is shooting 41.3 percent from the field this season because he’s fallen in love with his jumper and takes some of the lowest percentage shots in the game. According to Hoopdata, the Kings’ forward attempts 4.5 shots per game from 16-to-23 feet, which isn’t necessarily outlandish; but the context usually is.
Quite often, he just camps out on the perimeter with his man backing up from him just a little, and fires away long-range jumpers as if he does not have a care in the world. If the shots were open that would be one thing — although his services are best suited for the high post and low post — but Cousins consistently takes long 2-point shots with his defender within proximity. There are times even when his field goal attempts leave one wondering if he was simply afraid the ball wouldn’t come back to him if he passed it and thus thought shooting it was the only way to go.
Also, scouting reports seem to be an annoyance as he bulldozes down the lane against players reputed for drawing charges.
These issues are interesting enough as is, but they are compounded by his bouts of allergic reactions to defense.
The big man can play well defensively on one possession by playing good solid individual defense, contesting shots and then boxing out; and then on the following defensive trip he might be late on a rotation, get caught watching or simply completely give up or get out of the way of the player coming down the lane.
This isn’t to suggest that DeMarcus Cousins is a scrub; he is far from it. I picked him to play in the All-Star Game this season largely because of his overwhelming talent, but the truth is that perhaps the big man is perfectly fine with being the player he is today and that’s a shame because as fans we are the ones losing out.