Kings

Lowly Kings full of surprises

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Lowly Kings full of surprises

You cant make this stuff up. No really, you cant. Eight games into the season for the Sacramento Kings, the fans have been treated to a comedy of errors, something straight out of Hollywood. Consider:Opening night, amidst all the off-season chatter about a new arena that has plagued this city for years now, and four (FOUR) banners come tumbling down from the scoreboard during the game. The fact that the banners not only werent championship banners, but were covering up a former sponsor (Thunder Valley Casino) was poetic in a tragic fashion. Blue-chip pick Thomas Robinson picks up the NBAs first two game suspension for elbowing Jonas Jerebko of the Detroit Pistons in the throat. The THROAT.
RELATED: Kings Robinson suspended two games for elbow
You know Jonas Jerebko, the intimidating, gets-in-your-head agitator famous the world round? The second coming of Bill Laimbeer? Oh, maybe hes none of those things, but that didnt stop Robinson from dropping a Jon Bones Jones bow to his adams apple. Other than his stellar play at Kansas, Robinson was known for his incredible story coming into the draft. Suffering a litany of tragedies, and raising his young sister with the help of a community, starting his first NBA month with a suspension for a violent cheap shot was near the bottom of the Vegas odds sheet. But remember, were talking about the Sacramento Kings. Remember, you cant talk about crazy Kings happenings without DeMarcus Cousins getting involved. Cousins had spent the offseason staying in shape, and honing his skills vs the US Olympic squad. His demeanor seemed a little lighter (to match his body) coming into training camp, and he seemed to be finding his regular double-double groove after a tough start. Well, um. Yeah.Former Spur and current San Antonio TV announcer Sean Elliott took exception to Cousins talking a little trash to Tim Duncan during their matchup at Sleep Train Arena last Friday. So Elliott said what he thought was appropriate, that Cousins needed to grow up and shut his mouth.
RELATED: Kings' Cousins suspended two games for altercation with Elliott
Cousins apparently checked his cellphone before he hopped in the shower and read something like this, perhaps:Yo. Elliott is dogging you on TV. You gonna take that?Of course hes not gonna take that. So Cousins, doing what any smart mature NBA player would do, went back onto the court. He passed a group of children taking pictures with the Kings PA announcer, and confronted Elliott. What exactly was said will more than likely remain a mystery. According to those who were within earshot, Cousins informed Elliott that he was not at all happy with his comments, and the rest gets a bit blurry. Kings fans were in an uproar that Cousins got the same punishment that his teammate Robinson got for damn near killing a guy, but conventional wisdom says DMC crossed a few lines. My money is on the conversation NOT going anything like this:Excuse me, Mr. Elliott? DeMarcus Cousins, good to meet you. I know you are a former All-Star and have a championship ring, but would you pretty please mind not calling me out on TV? It hurts my feelings.Yeah. Nope. Obviously there were things said that the NBA considers a no-no. And not the Crash Davis mustve called him a blankety-blank type of no-nos either. Bad stuff. In an NBA uniform. On an NBA floor. Would it have been hard for Cousins to talk with Elliott in the tunnel? Visiting players at Sleep Train Arena MUST walk past the Kings locker room entrance to get to the team bus, and Cousins conversation wouldve been seen only by team personnel and a smattering of media members. Even better, he could have taken him into any of several private rooms nearby. Nope, lets do this in front of everyone, because thats what a mature player does. No Thomas Robinson, and the Kings lost to the Spurs on Friday. No Robinson or Cousins, and the Kings lost to the Lakers in LA on Sunday. No DeMarcus Cousins, and the Kings got blown away by the Blazers at home Tuesday evening. One could make an argument that they wouldve lost all three regardless, but you could also bet smartly they may have picked one out of the three up. For a team projected to win 20-30 games this season, any win is a big win. Unfortunately, the suspensions all came after a two-game mini-win streak earlier in the week. Coach Keith Smart is doing the best he can, but his rotations are questionable at times. Quick to take a timeout in certain situations, he also will let opposing runs get way out of hand before he draws on his bench. 2-6 on the young season, and it actually seems worse. The Kings sales and marketing staff worked tirelessly in the offseason trying to secure both ticket sales and new sponsorships in a market that is tough to impossible at the kindest. Blue-chippers like Nokia and Wal-Mart came on board, not to mention selling naming rights (once again) to their arena. Attendance Tuesday night was reported at just over 10 thousand, which is about seven thousand short of capacity. And, as the old saying goes, it looked like about half of that 10 were dressed as empty seats. The city of Sacramento and its fans were hoping for a surprising start to the season. They got it, but as an even more popular saying goes- Be careful what you wish for.This wasnt the surprise anyone wanted to see. Images supplied by US Presswire and the Associated Press
Carmichael Dave hosts two radio shows on his podcasting channel, thecdnetworks.com.You can tweet him questions or comments @carmichaeldave.

Patience needed for young and inexperienced Kings

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AP

Patience needed for young and inexperienced Kings

The Sacramento Kings are attempting to do something rarely seen in the NBA. They’ve paired four first round selections from the 2016 NBA Draft with another five rookies for the 2017-18 season. They’ll open the season with nine players with one year of NBA experience or less and three others with two years in the league or fewer if you include two-way contracts.

Veterans Vince Carter (40), Zach Randolph (36), George Hill (31), Garrett Temple (31) and Kosta Koufos (28) push the average age of the Kings to 26.1. According to RealGM, they’ll enter the 2017-18 season tied for the 15th youngest roster in the league.

If you remove the veterans, the Kings youthful core averages less than 22 years of age. But age doesn’t tell the entire story.

Entering his third NBA season, Willie Cauley-Stein has seen action in 141 of a possible 164 games. On the current roster, he might as well get lumped in with the veterans.

Buddy Hield donned a Kings uniform for 25 games last season after coming over in a midseason trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. He played 82 games in total between the two clubs, which is five more combined contests than his fellow 2016 draft mates Skal Labissiere (33 games), Georgios Papagiannis (22 games) and Malachi Richardson (22 games) played in.

Sacramento selected three first rounders in the 2017 NBA Draft, including De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles. They also landed point guard Frank Mason III with an early second round pick and convinced 25-year-old former first rounder Bogdan Bogdanovic to leave the European game behind and join the club.

Without bringing two-way players Jack Cooley (16 games) and JaKarr Sampson (147 games) into the discussion, the Kings have a major experience issue. They’ll walk into the season with 10 players having a combined 300 games of NBA experience and 223 of those games were played by Cauley-Stein and Hield.  

Sacramento’s veteran group has appeared in 3718 regular season contests. Dave Joerger will have no choice but to turn to the group for plenty of minutes as the Kings’ young players learn on the fly.

Patience is necessary. Vlade Divac and his team have assembled a lot of talent, but they will need time to develop. Joerger has a strong staff in place, including Elston Turner, Bryan Gates, Duane Ticknor, Bob Thornton, Jason March and Larry Lewis. Phil Ricci was also added to the staff as a player development coach this season with the influx of young players.

Even with an expanded staff, there is no way Joerger can fit all 10 of his youngsters into the rotation. They’ll need playing time to develop and there is a good chance that some of these freshman and sophomore players will spend time with Darrick Martin and the Reno Bighorns.  

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.