The Sacramento Kings will have a major opportunity tonight, as the Phoenix Suns will be in town for the start of the Kings three game home stand. The Suns will be without Center Marcin Gortat after he sprained his ankle Wednesday in a home loss to Toronto. X-Rays taken after the game were said to be negative, but an MRI taken Thursday showed a mid-foot sprain in Gortat’s right foot.
Gortat was averaging 11.1 points and a team best 8.5 rebounds. Without Gortat on the gloor, Cousins will have a good opportunity to get himself out of his most recent funk. In the Kings last four games, Cousins is averaginging 9.8 points on only 30.9 percent shooting, averaging only 7.8 rebounds in only 24 minutes. Cousins looked disinterested in several of the four previous games and will need to find a way to get excited about playing.
Toney Douglas played a vital role in the Kings loss to the Warriors Wednesday. Without Douglas, the kings may not have been in the game late Wednesday. The recently acquired guard didn’t take long to take advantage of his minutes. Douglas has been very vocal since joining the team. Douglas hasn’t seen a lot of minutes, but showed his ability to defend as he practically shut Stephen Curry down holding Curry to 13 points on 3 of 11 shots. Douglas also added 10 points, 6 assists and two steals.
Douglas has had to fight for playing time with Kings coach Smart recently giving a majority of the minutes to Jimmer Fredette. Fredette has said he wants to be an NBA starting point guard, but has yet to show he is capable of handling the ball well enough, and has been a liability on the defensive end all season. Fredette showed his inability to guard point guards , and this was highlighted as the 36 year old Andre Miller regularly drove around the younger Fredette in the Kings most recent loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Fredette will have a lot of trouble finding minutes on any team as a point guard and has yet to accept his more natural role as a shooting guard. Fredette can make open shots, and drive to the basket when defenses are keying in on him. Fredette however, has been stubborn and has said he feels point guard is his more natural position. Unless Fredette finds a way to add quickness, an ability to see the floor, improve his ball handling, and finds a way to reinvent his defense; he will never be a starting point guard. Fredette needs to grow up and find a way to be a regular contributing player on any team he plays for.
The Kings will need Toney Douglas to play the type of defense he played in Golden State and continue to be a vocal leader on and off the court. Patrick Patterson has also been showing his value to the Kings as he has come into games and maintained the flow on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
Jason Thompson is on a tare in his last three games, averaging 17.7 points on 23 of 32 shots (71.9 percent). The Kings will need to look for Thompson as he hopes to continue his improved play. With Marcin Gortat injured, the Kings will need to take advantage of their size in the paint, and set the tone early.
Sacramento has lost both of their games against the Suns this season after giving up late game leads. The Kings need to find a way to play solid consistent basketball late in tonight’s game, and will look to Toney Douglas to Help make some defensive stops.