Salmons is injured
Greene, Outlaw needed up front
The Kings are back in Sacramento, ladies and gentlemen, and this time, it's serious, only it's not, because it remains the preseason.
Monday's devastating Chuck Hayes news still hangs in the air, and while the Kings have yet to make a subsequent and expected move to replace the Chuckwagon, the contingency plan will be unveiled against the Warriors: J.J. Hickson, starting power forward. If the Kings fail to pull Samuel Dalembert or Andrei Kirilenko over the next few days, and perhaps even if they do, Hickson looks like the opening night starter against Josh McRoberts and the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the mean time, John Salmons still isn't fit to play after a quad nick suffered last week, so rookie Tyler Honeycutt will get the preseason start at small forward. Paul Westphal is a real wild card when it comes to early season line-ups, so you can never rule out that he's crash-testing Honeycutt for opening night duty. (I'm not kidding. Are you betting against Westphal making a left-field line-up card decision?)
As eager as I was to see Jimmer Fredette in action (very eager) and Tyreke Evans back on the floor (very, very eager), I most look forward to seeing DeMarcus Cousins on the court. It's preseason, sure. But getting back on defense, hitting the offensive glass, moving the ball, knowing when to shoot: those aren't things you turn off and flip on for the regular season. If any of that is improved with some strong offseason conditioning -- this guy worked really, really hard, and it shows on his body -- and on-court work, it'll start showing up. That's what a lot of people don't get about preseason. The box scores don't totally matter. The binary result definitely doesn't matter. But you see things out there that do matter, that translate, that become evolutions of a player. I'm looking to see what evolutions DMC has made.