Mutual admiration between Cousins, Jordan: 'We’re basically two goofballs'

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Mutual admiration between Cousins, Jordan: 'We’re basically two goofballs'

SACRAMENTO -- There is bad blood between the Kings and Clippers. There has been for multiple seasons and it’s not likely to get better anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a ton of mutual respect as well, and maybe even a few friendships behind the scenes.

DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin - they love to hate each other. It’s a war of words for 48 minutes and sometimes it’s more than that. But Cousins and big man DeAndre Jordan have developed a bond that goes beyond the jerseys on their backs.

“It’s always something, I’m kind of the mediator,” Jordan told CSN California prior to the Clippers taking shootaround at Golden 1 Center on Friday. “DeMarcus is a competitor, man. So is Chris, so is Blake, so am I. None of us wants to lose once the ball tips up.”

Paul has struggled with a hamstring injury, but returned to play in the Clippers 108-96 win over the Kings on Friday night. Griffin is out for a while with a knee injury, but his frontcourt mate is always ready for a heavy dose of the big fella.

“That’s my guy,” Jordan said. “He’s a hell of a player, I love playing against DeMarcus, I know every time it’s going to be a challenge on both ends of the floor.”

Jordan finished ahead of Cousins at the center position in voting for the All-NBA first team, pushing the Kings big man to the second team. He always looks forward to battling against another one of the best bigs in the game.

“He’s so talented, man,” Jordan said of Cousins. “He’s so talented. He’s a really good basketball player. One of the top bigs in our game. It’s always a challenge and a great time whenever we face off.”

Jordan spent time this summer playing alongside Cousins with Team USA and had nothing but glowing things to say about the two-time All-Star.

“I think he’s a really great teammate,” Jordan said. “Honestly, he’s super competitive and he loves the game of basketball. It was cool playing with him this summer.”

The feeling is mutual. Cousins and Jordan share an agent, which has helped them develop an even tighter bond. Cousins said that the two have spent time off the court together, including dinner at Jordan’s home with his family.

“He’s a fun loving guy,” Cousins told CSN California following the loss to the Clippers. “He’s a great energy to be around. He always has a positive vibe to him, you just enjoy being around people like that. I think the feeling is mutual.”

The two weren’t friends once the action started on Friday evening. Cousins tried to draw Jordan away from the basket and attempted to beat him off the dribble. He battled Jordan in the post and tried to pick up fouls on the defensive-minded big.

Cousins finished the night with 25 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals, but it was Jordan’s team that came out on top.

The Clippers star center hit the glass and patiently waited for Paul to set him up for alley-oop dunks. He finished the night with 20 points and nine rebounds in the win.

The contrast in style between the two bigs is huge, but according to Cousins, they have a lot in common off the floor.

“We’re basically two goofballs,” Cousins said. “We like to joke around, we like to have fun - me and DJ are very similar in those aspects.”

When it comes to gametime, they are ready to put their friendship aside and go to battle. While they are stylistically different, they both play a physical game.

Basically, it’s two giants pounding on each other from start to finish.

“Hell yeah, that’s a big ass dude, man,” Jordan said with a smile when asked if he’s sore after playing against Cousins. “I hope that he would say he’s sore after playing against me too.”

At the end of the day, it’s just a basketball game. There is a ton of respect between the two centers. Once the final score is posted, they have the ability to take a deep breath and get back to being friends.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to win a basketball game,” Jordan said. “After that, we’re dapping each other and having a good time talking trash and laughing. But those 48 minutes, we’re trying to win a basketball game - it’s all about the competition.”

The Clippers hold a 2-0 advantage in the season series with Sacramento. The two bigs will have to wait until March to face off again and then they’ll finish the season against one another on April 12.

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
 
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
 
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
 
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
 
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
 
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
 
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
 
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
 
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
 
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

With the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Kings selected the 2016-17 Player of the Year in point gaurd Frank Mason III.

Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game as a senior at Kansas. 

The Kings wrapped up the 2017 NBA Draft with point guard De'Aaron Fox at No. 5, small forward Justin Jackson at No. 15, power forward Harry Giles at No. 20 and Mason at No. 34.