The Sacramento Kings are off to a pretty hot start in 2016-17. When deal-maker Vlade Divac brought in Dave Joerger, he hoped they would adapt a defensive identity while becoming a bit more versatile w/ offensive strategy.
A 2-1 start is a small sample size but Sacramento looks improved in both areas. They’re still a work in progress (have excelled limiting paint points, 4th fewest in the league; rotations aren’t as tight as they should be) but took care of business v. a young/bad Suns team in GM. 1, competed hard in a close loss to SA in GM. 2 & defeated Minnesota at home last night.
Here’s a few observations so far:
- DeMarcus Cousins…is a bonafide MVP candidate – he’s utterly unstoppable, just like last year. As I mentioned in our Pacific Division preview, perhaps Boogie was motivated by winning a Gold Medal in Rio this summer. Surrounded by recent champs (Barnes, Green, Klay, KYRIE), it looks like Cousins is applying the experience he gained to help shape SAC’s new culture (Joerger’s played a huge role too). Boogie’s steamrolled thru PHX, SA, & MIN, avg. 30 points & 9.7 boards/game.
- Rudy Gay is…playing very well? Gay, forever the subject of trade rumors, is getting the job done for Coach Joerger. Rudy’s shot selection is still an issue, particularly in close games, but he’s proven a reliable 2nd option next to Cousins. Rudy’s avg. 22.3 points/game thru 3 • Seeing plenty of time at the four, maintaining efficiency (51% FG).
- Sacramento’s Winning Despite…avg. just 28 rebounds/game, good for 29th in the league. SAC is 2-1 despite getting crushed on the glass – Boogie grabs the majority of boards but aside from him, Coach Joerger doesn’t have any sort of specialist in his lineup. Winning consistently is impossible if you don’t control the glass – SAC has done a better job limiting paint points (4th fewest in the league) – can someone like Willie Cauley-Stein key in on the glass?
Current Outlook: Optimistic