The Sacramento Kings are trying to find answers to the problems that continue to dog them. What will this team show the rest of the NBA in the coming season that might change some minds and fortunes? The NBA odds show a low win total for them at just 30.
2014-15 Regular Season Total: 30
Why the Kings Will Go Over the Number
The Kings know that they have a really good offensive player on their hands in DeMarcus Cousins which should improve their NBA odds. When you have a player who averages a nick beneath 23 points and 12 rebounds per game, you know you have someone very productive and who is consistently able to showcase his skills every night. If you’re putting up those kinds of numbers, you have something going for you. The biggest issue with Cousins over the years, since he came out of Kentucky as a very raw freshman product following the 2010 season, has been his defense, and more specifically, his pick-and-roll defense, which is partly the product of poor communication and a lack of attention to detail. Cousins has just not been able to solve that part of basketball, and until he does, the Kings are going to be lacking in that area.
There’s hope, though, for Sacramento. Cousins played over the summer for the United States national team in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. He received instruction from a Hall of Fame coach, Mike Krzyzewski, a coach who doesn’t put up with a lack of effort on defense. Cousins could very realistically be a tougher, more hardened kind of player who makes crisper defensive rotations, and if that is the case, the Kings could not only go over the number. They could threaten to win 40 games this season. Sacramento also got a great player in draftee Nik Stauskas from Michigan. The wing is an agile scorer. He had been a spot-up shooter in the 2013 college basketball season, but in 2014 he showed a handle and an ability to drive to the basket. He could contribute to an improved season for the Kings.
Why the Kings Will Stay Under the Number
The Kings could stay under the number because this team’s problems on defense were so widespread, and probably aren’t going to be the kinds of things that get quickly addressed. The Kings were at 27 out of 30 NBA teams in blocked shots. They were at 26 in personal fouls, a sign that they just didn’t move their feet or react to various offensive actions from opponents in a halfcourt set. The team sat at 22 in steals as well – this team just didn’t make many things happen when it played defense, and in a Western Conference with so many lethal scorers on so many different teams, you have to be equipped with a solid defense, especially if you don’t have a knockout offense (and the Kings don’t). Cousins can only take this team so far. Some unheralded players are going to have to come out of the woodwork and surprise in order for this team to finish above the number, and that’s not likely at all.
NBA Pick: Under 30