Entering the 2010-2011 season the front court of the Kings has changed dramatically. Gone is fan favorite, size and offensively challenged PF Jon Brockman and the slow to develop young Center, Spencer Hawes. Less weeping and hand wringing occurred than was anticipated. Enter veteran Center Sam Dalembert , rookies DeMarcus (Big Trouble) Cousins and Hassan (The Whippet) Whiteside. These personnel are added to the mix of holdover big men Jason Thompson and Carl Landry. Lttg finally got his wish and the 2010-11 Kings are now one of the biggest teams in the league.
So, wish granted, who starts? Who matches up better with who, and in what combinations should Paul Westphal run them out there? Five guys. Let’s take care of part of the problem right now and assume that Hassan Whiteside has a ways to go physically and considering our new depth, will see little but garbage minutes this coming season. [Of note is that during his Combine workout Hassan declared himself ‘a year away’ though he changed that tune after his 1st Kings tryout] So, Hassan spends this season primarily in the weight room (we hope) and we remove him from consideration of major minutes.
Left to us to consider for the 96 minutes at the power positions are the various combinations of
Samual Dalembert 6’11" 9.6rbs/1.8blk/8.1ppg in 26 minutes per game in 2009/10 with a career per36 a steady 11.4/2.7/11.1
Dalembert is in my opinion strictly a low post player on offense and an effective goaltender and defender against most NBA big men on D. On offense, in most game situations he needs a more offensive minded power player next to him. Though he vows he can and will do more offensively, he has been essentially a garbage cleanup man on offense so far in his career. He can throw down the easy dunks in a crowd pleasing way. (Can Sammy play PF in some matchups? Interesting question, he seems to have the athleticism)
Jason Thompson 6’11" 8.0/1.0/12.5 in 31 minutes a game with a per36 of 9.7/1.1/14.3
Plays both PF and Center. There is still a debate over which position suits or will eventually suit him better. I’m in the Jerry Reynolds C camp at this point. JT has all the energy any team would want but suffers from occasionally resembling Mikki (the lobster) Moore with his hands, has unrefined/indecisive finishing skills around the basket and is foul prone due to too much (again) hand usage on D. We love the guy, but my belief is that he thinks too much out there, that there’s really nothing wrong with his hands, his enormous feet or his shot – he just needs to keep his head clear. Some guys do put it all together. He’s a double- double guy on most night if he gets the minutes.
DeMarcus Cousins 6’11" rookie 9.8/1.8/15.1 in just under 24 minutes per game in college
Unknown if he can play PF at the NBA level. In top condition? I say sometimes. He’s got the footwork for it offensively. Big Trouble excited us all with his play in Summer league, he showed that he has a chance to become one of the most complete big men in the league. Inside, Outside, rebounding, passing, footwork . . . . Refining all those glimpses we’ve seen so far and keeping his health and head about him, he seems destined to be a multiple All-Star someday. But not this year, no way. He'll quickly learn he's not (yet) the biggest and strongest without even trying hard, will turn it over a lot and probably foul a lot. I think that this season come hell or high water he’s limited to about 20-25 minutes a game. So who to play him next to in those 20 + minutes? Hmmmmm
Carl Landry 6’9" 6.5/.6/18.0 in 37minuts with a per36 nearly identical of 6.2/.6/17.2
Carl is a smallish PF with a lot of skill, both in the low and high post. Crafty and sure handed around the basket on offense, he doesn’t have a great nose for the ball when it’s time to rebound. I have my doubts that Carl will ever average 8 rebounds a game even given the minutes. He has a decent mid-range jumper that he uses pretty well.
There is some speculation that Landry may get some minutes at the SF in a ‘big’ Kings lineup, but let’s not assume that occurs against many teams.
BUT - Just for the fun of it, (and because it’s my post), I’ll preview and say that against LA my lineup would be Dal vs Gasol, JT vs Bynum and Landry on Odem. I like our new matchups against them, and wonder if any other team in the West counters them better (?). Omri and/or Donte’ match up well against Matt Barnes and I’d switch off Tyreke and Cisco on Kobe and hope for the best. Beno owns Fisher.
To get back to business: My choice here is Dalembert as Starting Center. Sammy is a veteran in his prime, a proven defender and we’re not paying him all those big bucks for nuthin’. Carl Landry, who can play high and low and is pretty effective at either, is my choice at the scoring PF most nights. My guess is that he’ll be more effective next to Steady Sammy than he was with Jason Thompson last season. I roll in JT as the 1st big man off the bench with either Dal or Landry. You lose some Defense or gain some offense and rebounding, depending. We plug Big Trouble in primary as a C across from JT or Landry and hopefully get pretty offensive to our opponents.
[Though I hate projecting minutes, it’s inevitable, so - ]
Sammy: 28 minutes
Landry: 30 minutes
JT: 25 minutes
Cousins: 13 minutes (at the beginning)
Lots of in and out, real savage like. I expect the 2010-11 Kings to be a top five or better rebounding team as TZ seems to back up with lots of great graphics and stats in his front page post found HERE and be top ten at points in the paint as well.