Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Surely, folks in Sacramento weren’t happy to learn that Tyreke Evans was one of the first four players trimmed from the USA Basketball roster for this summer’s world championships (O.J. Mayo, JaVale McGee and Gerald Wallace were the others).
Evans, the NBA’s reigning T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, couldn’t have been pleased either.
But there’s a silver lining in this for the hometown Kings. Because now Evans can get in the gym and develop some chemistry with the guy that must be his new best friend, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins (he’s the big fella in the video above).
And if the Kings are intent on escaping lottery country and returning to relevancy in a packed Western Conference, they’ll have to do it on the backs on their new inside-out combo of Evans and Cousins.
If Cousins has anywhere near the season and impact that Evans had in his first year in a Kings uniform, the franchise revival being planned in Sacramento could come much sooner than expected.
Our skepticism about this team here at the hideout was fueled by the still to be determined ability of all the new pieces to fit together (Kevin Martin‘s been on the HT fantasy team since his rookie year, so we’re still not over the Kings dumping him last season). There is also clearly a lack of backcourt depth to suit our liking (and we’re guessing this means we’re kicked out of the Beno Udrih fan club).
But the rest of the supporting cast seems to be in place. We love what Omri Casspi brings to the party. He’s a ferocious competitor with the versatility and skills to work in a variety of capacities, depending on what coach Paul Whestphal decides works best. Guys like Carl Landry, Sam Dalembert, Jason Thompson and Donte Green give Westphal a multitude of frontcourt options to play with this season.
That also means “Boogie” won’t have to deliver huge numbers right away. If he just comes along at a solid rate and does his best to avoid the some of the pitfalls that can derail a rookie season, these Kings could be on the way to making some noise after the All-Star break.
The playoffs might be too ambitious … but what’s wrong with a little ambition this time of year?