The Sacramento Kings are heading into the 2013 season with a lot of new faces at every level. They have a new coach who brings his own philosophy, and it’s safe to say that the team will see changes in personnel. To predict the Kings’ lineup on opening day, I made some assumptions based on Mike Malone”s defensive philosophy.
Center: DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins is the safest bet to be a starter. A player of his caliber should make most teams at the five position. The rarity of a dominant center in the NBA makes Cousins a prized commodity. The Kings would do well to lock up their towering star this season, possibly with a max contract. Cousins does need to work on his attitude and needs to grow up, and the Kings expect him to do so this year before they lock him up long term.
The Kings’ organization is on a path to restore the winning ways, and it needs the players to buy in to the new philosophy. Having Cousins backing the coach will ensure that the rest of the team will be behind Malone. The 6’11″ big man has been working in the offseason to refine his game, and it will be interesting to see Cousins take the next step in his development.
Power Forward: Jason Thompson
The Kings brought Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Carl Landry to shore up the four position, but Jason Thompson will retain his starting spot. Thompson is an improving player, and look forward to him developing his play in the paint. He gives the Kings the best option and the most potential, but he does need to improve his interior defense and improve his rebounding (6.7 rebound per game) numbers.
Small Forward: John Salmons
The Kings don’t have a lot of options at this position other than John Salmons and Travis Outlaw, but look for Malone to mix it up in different sets depending on game situations. Salmons is on the back nine of his career but he should be able to average around eight points per game, three RPG and three assists per game.
Shooting Guard: Ben McLemore
The rookie should make the lineup as a starter at the two guard position. McLemore would have to make up for the loss of Tyreke Evans on offense. The dynamic rookie will have to shoulder some of the load on offense and look for him to deliver. McLemore has a crisp stroke on his shot and that should help him drain shots from all over the court.
Point Guard: Greivis Vasquez
Vasquez should get the start ahead of Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette. Vasquez is an above-average distributor of the ball. Looking at his numbers he appears to be widely underrated, on tape you will see a player who isn’t flashy but is productive.
The Kings should go into this season expecting to answer many questions on the roster and in my opinion, the Kings will. Fans shouldn’t have elevated expectations, but there is finally hope for the future.
Tags: Ben McLemore Carl Landry DeMarcus Cousins Greivis Vasquez Isiah Thomas Jason Thompson Jimmer Fredette John Salmons Luc Richard Mbah A Moute Mike Malone NBA Offseason Sacramento Kings Travis Outlaw Tyreke Evans