This is a Kings team that is proving itself to be consistently inconsistent. How else would you describe a team that can beat the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks (still a pretty good team) in back-to-back games, then the very next game get blown out by that same Utah Jazz team, a team currently residing at the bottom of the Western Conference? Or that can beat the Houston Rockets twice and the NBA champs Miami Heat (and drop one to the OKC Thunder by 2 points), but also lose games to the Charlotte Bobcats twice and Philadelphia 76ers?
So, inconsistency is the new norm this season. But as frustrating as that can be for us fans, stop and think a moment. Last year’s team was consistent, if anything…consistently bad. Every time I throw up my hands at another loss to a weak opponent, I also try to remind myself of what else I see from the Kings this year.
- DeMarcus Cousins playing at an all-star level. He may not make the all-star team this year because the West is so packed with strong teams and players, but I guarantee you if he was playing like this for the Thunder or Trailblazers he’d be a shoe-in. He is definitely a player to build a team around.
- Isaiah Thomas refusing to go gently into that good night. I love IT’s passion and ability, and even though I’d prefer to see him coming off the bench and starring as a sixth man – a la Bobby Jackson – I can’t help but admit that he deserves to be a starter on this roster.
- Rudy Gay’s resurgence. At the beginning of the season I often said that if the Kings had a third threat on the floor they’d be more competitive. Rudy Gay is that third threat, but alas, beyond him, DMC and IT there’s not enough regular production from the entire rest of the team to make them consistently competitive. But for a guy who supposedly couldn’t cut it in Toronto, he has shown he still has it in Sacramento.
There are a few other things I see this year that at least seem promising. I love Ben McLemore’s hustle and I think once he finds out how he fits in the pros he’ll be a good one. I think Derrick Williams has shown promise and once the Kings trade Jason Thompson (a seeming inevitability) he’ll get more minutes and give good production. I’d be a little sad to see JT go, but it seems like he doesn’t truly fit well in Malone’s offensive scheme.
As for the rest of the team, well, who knows? Will we ever know if Jimmer Fredette can play at this level? He’s shown a couple flashes of good play but he has never gotten consistent minutes here. Where has Marcus Thornton’s shot gone? If there was one thing you could count on in the past few years is that Thornton would score you some points. Although never a high percentage shooter, he is now struggling at around 38 percent from the floor. Ouch.
But aside from those questions, the Kings have three excellent players to build with and a couple more that could very conceivably be added to that mix. Pete D’Allesandro has done a terrific job already improving the consistently bad team he inherited, and I fully expect him to continue to build a better team. So for now I’ll take inconsistency over consistency with the Sacramento Kings.