The Sacramento Kings lost on Saturday night against the L.A. Clippers, but more importantly, they lost their best player to an achilles strain. DeMarcus Cousins is probably going to miss two games at the minimum, if not more. To make matters worse, Sacramento's upcoming schedule is already incredibly tough without the added challenge of playing without Cousins.
Starting on Tuesday, the Kings play five straight Western Conference teams with the only one that wasn't an upper echelon playoff contender last season being the Phoenix Suns. Then they get the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors. Fortunately, all those games except for the one against Phoenix are at home.
The Kings acquired a lot of depth this past summer, and it will be put up to the test with Cousins gone. Kosta Koufos has played well through the first three games and will likely see an increased role and a return to the starting lineup in Boogie's absence. I also wouldn't be surprised if Coach Karl opts to inject more offense into his starting lineup to replace Cousins' production by starting either Darren Collison or Marco Belinelli in place of Ben McLemore.
Further down the bench, this could be a chance for either Eric Moreland or Quincy Acy to make the case for an increased role. Moreland played better than Acy during preseason and provides another good rebounder and rim protector. Acy is probably the more versatile offensive player. Sacramento also could opt to just play more small ball while Cousins is out, as they have the weapons to do it.
These upcoming games are very important for Sacramento to help get this team off to a good start. Not having Cousins is going to make things more difficult, but it hopefully shouldn't be a death-knell like it has been in previous seasons. The Kings played pretty well against a good Clippers team on Saturday without Cousins in the second half, and the bench unit has proven to be a real contributor. If Rajon Rondo can keep playing like he has the last couple games and other guys step up, the Kings might be able to make it through this obstacle alright. The important thing is not to completely fall flat on our faces while he is gone. I have confidence that this team's new depth can continue to keep the Kings in games, and they'll have the chance to either prove me right or wrong starting tomorrow against Memphis.