Preseason Prediction: 22 wins (14th)
Revised Prediction: 20 wins
Small-picture issue that doesn't involve the question "Wait, is Tyreke Evans a point guard?": The Kings have only 96 minutes available for Sam Dalembert, DeMarcus Cousins, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson every night, which means Thompson (a 6-foot-11 banger) has been playing out of position at small forward, which makes no sense, which is why the Kings are a mortal lock to be involved in our first in-season trade. Fortunately for them, the Pistons are Bizarro Sacramento: too many perimeter guys, not enough bangers, too many guys feuding with their coach, and if that's not enough, they have Charlie Villanueva and Charlie Villanueva 2.0 (Austin Daye). Can you imagine Joe Dumars accepting the Larry O'Brien Trophy within the next five years and telling Stu Scott, "I knew once we had two soft forwards with size who love to jack 3s and can't rebound or guard anyone, the league would eventually be our oyster!" Me neither.
The Picasso of the Trade Machine offers these suggestions: either Daye straight up for Thompson; Dalembert straight up for Tayshaun Prince (who's so disgruntled that he's practically ungruntled); or a three-way deal with Dalembert going to Detroit, Prince going to Dallas and Caron Butler and $3 million of Mark Cuban's money going to Sacramento. Thank you, and please drive through.
Big-picture issue that doesn't involve the question "Wait, is Tyreke Evans a point guard?": We knew Cousins was a tough guy to, um, manage. (Recent reports of strife between Cousins and his coaches weren't exactly shocking.) We knew he'd be a work in progress, that he might launch an occasional gawd-awful 3, draw a dumb technical or make you say "We're losing by 22, why is he laughing hysterically on the bench right now?" But I never realized how much Cousins would struggle to stay on the court. Through nine games: 196 minutes, 40 fouls. That's 9.8 fouls per 48 minutes, which (if it held) would be the highest number for anyone averaging 16-plus minutes since Danny Fortson's legendary 12.0 in 2005. You watch Cousins, thinking "No, no, don't go for the upfake … NOOOOOOO!" and "No, don't jump over his back, NO!!!!!!" Then he'll take over a game for 60 seconds so easily it makes you say "I'm going online and buying 10 Cousins rookie cards." What a roller coaster.
Reason No. 14,727 I love the NBA: I fully expect to change my opinion on Cousins 570 times before his career is over. Minimum.