Sacramento Kings Have to Learn to Win Without DeMarcus Cousins


The Sacramento Kings went into full on “win now” mode this offseason, as they pretty much recreated their entire roster heading into this season. But through five games, the Kings haven’t shown much change from the Kings of last year, or the year prior, etc,. But, with DeMarcus Cousins out with an achilles injury, the Kings need for players to step up and for this roster to mesh together even faster than they’d hoped so they can get some wins.

The Kings haven’t solely relied on Cousins in the past, although it may look that way with players like Rudy Gay and Darren Collison easing some of the workload, but Cousins has been their go-to player and for good reason. The big man has career averages of almost 19 points and almost 11 rebounds per game, according to Basketball Reference, which included his 24 and 13 season he produced last year on his way to becoming an All-Star for the first time.

But, if the Kings hope to be considered legitimate playoff contenders, they’ll need to prove they can win with Boogie on the bench, whether it be due to foul trouble or injury. Without Cousins this season and last, the Kings have been 5-18.

Vlade Divac said that Cousins would sit at least two games, which he has, and that he’d be day-to-day from then on and  Cousins has said he hopes to play this weekend.

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This is where the veterans the Kings brought in need to step up. Kosta Koufos was added to help on the interior but he hasn’t been as consistent as the team might have hoped. The Kings big has held his own on defense against some big names early, like DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph but all together the Kings have allowed the eighth-most points in the paint, according to

The season is clearly early, but the lack of players stepping up isn’t something the team can get accustomed to if they’d like to become relevant.

Rajon Rondo has had some good plays but h’es overall been a defensive weapon, and hasn’t looked smooth with a new group of teammates. He’s also six-for-20 from the field in his last two games.

Ben McLemore, who earned the nod for the starting two-guard job, has been utterly useless, to be blunt. Prior to the Kings almost-20-point loss to the Suns, he had shot six-for-21 and had made two three-pointers. That’s not exactly the type of production you want out of your starting shooting guard.

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Gay is the first scoring option for the Kings when Cousins is out, and he hasn’t looked his 2014-15 self so far early into this season. In the Kings last three losses, Gay has shot 19-for-53, just a little above 33%.

Out of the four players mentioned, McLemore is the only one that is honestly troublesome. He lost his starting spot against the Suns, as James Anderson took his place. That may be a sign that the Kings staff has some short patience on his production. However, the Kings did pick up McLemore’s option prior to the season.

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The Kings have shown some of the same issues they’ve shown in years past, as stated above. They’ve lacked defensive awareness and have allowed easy baskets to more than capable players. They’ve basically played with a “let’s make this player beat us” attitude, and when that player’s effectively proven he can beat them, they haven’t made adjustments.

They’re allowing opponents to shoot 49.4 percent from the field, and the fewest points they’ve allowed this year is 103, which is dreadful.

On the offensive side, the Kings have struggled to get good shots, forcing one-on-one plays and heaving up contested jumpers. The Kings’ field goal percentage is not bad, at 44 percent, which is top-10 in the league, but that’s mostly due to offensive rebounds and put-backs, which has been a major bright spot for the Kings. They currently have a +4.8 rebounding differential and are fourth best in the league with 13.8 offensive boards per game, but there’s much to improve on.

The Kings have already played three games against more than likely playoff-bound teams in the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers twice, but they don’t have the luxury of looking at their upcoming schedule, which includes six-straight home games, and seeing easy wins any time soon. The Kings’ next three games are against the Houston Rockets, the defending champion Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.

Cousins on the floor makes it easier for the pieces to move together and find a rhythm, but if the Kings hope to save their season, they’d better get a hold of themselves and learn how to win without him.