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October 29, 2014
|Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA
|CSN Bay Area | KNBR 1050 AM|
|Blog Buddy: Sactown Royalty|
|Darren Collison||G||Stephen Curry|
|Ben McLemore||G||Klay Thompson|
|Rudy Gay||F||Harrison Barnes?|
|Jason Thompson||F||Draymond Green|
|DeMarcus Cousins||C||Andrew Bogut|
David Lee - doubtful (hamstring)
Shaun Livingston - out (toe)
Brandon Rush - day to day
|2013/14 Four Factors|
|.484 (23rd)||13.9 (16th)||27.8 (4th)||.251 (3rd)||OFF||.517 (8th)||13.8 (15th)||25.1 (18th)||.186 (28th)|
|.512 (21st)||12.7 (25th)||76.6 (3rd)||.234 (24th)||DEF||.477 (3rd)||13.6 (16th)||76.3 (5th)||.224 (18th)|
DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings open the season at home against their Norcal big brother Golden State Warriors likely with more confidence than they've had to start a season in recent years. Boogie had, by all accounts, an excellent summer, making the US National Team and playing in the FIBA World Cup — perhaps a surprising happenstance given Cousins' reputation for, um, let's say "having a non-ideal demeanor for international diplomacy". But he fared well, and is coming off a season in which his TS% jumped from 52.4 to 55.5 even as his usage jumped almost 5% to 32.7. His career looks like it may finally have boarded a rocket ship, and I'm not happy about it, not one bit.
One of the more historically maligned characters at GSOM, Rudy Gay, somewhat quietly played his best ball last season for the Kings, so, hey, maybe that'll keep happening? Sacramento lost the underrated pair of guards, Isaiah Thomas and Greivas Vasquez, to free agency; but it's possible that those losses are overcome by the additions of Darren Collison and the rookie Nik Stauskas. And the Kings get former GSOM fan fav and notable bicep model Carl Landry back healthy. All else being equal, though, if Boogie Cousins makes another big jump, that alone would be good enough to put the Kings on the path toward the .500 club.
One guaranteed area of improvement for the Kings: they've gone back to the Webber/Peja/Bibby era wordmark. That's good for +5 in the wins column in my book.
But this should not be one such win. The Warriors' offense, ranked 12th last year in what most consider a dramatic underperformance, still swept the Kings on the season with an average points differential of +13.4. Based on personnel, there's no reason to imagine Sacramento's 23rd-ranked defense improving markedly, while there are a few reasons to let one's imagination run roughshod over an otherwise sane brain when considering where the Warriors' offense can go.
As of this writing, unfortunately there are already injury concerns and starting lineup question marks. David Lee is nursing a hamstring and may not be able to go; Kerr indicated that Draymond Green will take his place as a starter if he sits this one out. Meanwhile the Iguodala-6th-man experiment is still on the table, and we may see Harrison Barnes starting the game alongside Green and the three healthy starting horses.
Regardless of the personnel availability and floor management, it's time to see the end results of Kerr's and the Warriors' training camp and preseason labor. Finally.
So — who ya got?