Just over a week ago it appeared that the Sacramento Kings had hit rock bottom. They wrapped up a season long seven-game home stand with just one win. In the final game they blew a huge lead and lost Rudy Gay for the season. Staring them in the face at that point was a second half schedule that started with a brutal eight-game road trip.
After dropping the first game in lopsided fashion, they then lost the next one in Chicago in a controversial way. DeMarcus Cousins was called for a phantom foul on Dwayne Wade, so the Kings then dropped another game and it felt like they may never win again. In that game specifically, Cousins was amazing as he scored more than 40 points but nobody else on the roster hit double digits.
That takes us to last Monday with a four-game week that took the Kings from Detroit to Cleveland and then finished up with back to backs in Indiana and Charlotte. Sacramento found something last week.
They played team ball, they stayed together and they put together a ton of consistently good minutes. If this team can keep playing like this then maybe they can actually compete for that final playoff spot.
This team has become more than Cousins – he has been the anchor, the all-star, and is playing the best basketball of his career. With that said, he needs help and a lot of it.
Last week we saw Darren Collison play the best four-game stretch of the season. Coach Dave Joerger has started to trust Willie Cauley-Stein and Malachi Richardson – he is getting rewarded for that. Arron Afflalo now seems to be hitting clutch shots on a nightly basis and veterans of Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple, Kosta Koufos and Anthony Tolliver all are doing their things.
I had mentioned before that this team didn’t feel like a playoff team. They still may not be a team that plays later in April, but this is what this roster has to do.
Play some of the young guys to see what the future may hold. Rely on the veterans to use their years of experience to help build this foundation. Cousins needs to spread his wings as a decision maker all while scarfing up some gaudy numbers.
This year, to me, needs to be an evaluating season. The front office needs to have clarity on the direction they want to go when the trade deadline is here at the end of the season.
Build around Cousins? Move Cousins? Which young guys can play? Which veterans do you want to be here for the next couple of years? Make a move at the deadline to bolster the 8th seed chances? Make a move at the deadline to help for future years?
All of those questions need to be answered. I am not sure if they have reached that clarity yet, but more weeks like last week will not only make everyone feel better about what they are doing, but it may just make for some easy answers to those questions.