With the first week of basketball in the books, power rankings are drifting in. It's always interesting to see what the vibe is around your basketball team and what the national media is talking about now that we're actually starting to see what this Kings team can do. I suspect that the Kings would have seen a big jump across the board if they were able to sneak one of those games against the Clippers, but even still, the Kings impressed with their ability to compete in both of those games while also taking care of business against the Lakers.
On to the rankings:
NBA.com has us 17th but is apprehensive in the wake of Cousins' injury and a tough upcoming schedule:
Rajon Rondo has been pretty good and the Kings hung tough in both meetings with the Clippers last week. But they played Rondo and Darren Collison together down the stretch and saw both of them get punished on switches against Paul Pierce and Blake Griffin. They're playing nine of their first 11 games at home, but almost all the opponents are tough and DeMarcus Cousins is dealing with a sore Achilles.
CBSSports also put us at 17 but wants to see how they handle themselves on this tough upcoming stretch:
Sacramento hung with and pushed the Clippers. Those were both good losses. So with their drubbing of the terrible Lakers, they have two good losses and a dominant but still unimpressive win (on account of, again, the Lakers being terrible). We'll have a better way to evaluate them after the next ... oh, five games against teams expected to be in the playoff race in the West.
ESPN dropped us three spots to 22, seemingly on account of Cousins' injury. They like what they're seeing from Rondo though:
For all the inevitable fretting attached to the sudden uncertainty surrounding DeMarcus Cousins' right heel, here's the flip side: George Karl is already getting quite a response from Rajon Rondo, who put together back-to-back games over the weekend with at least 20 points for the first time since December 2012.
Yahoo! isn't doing normal power rankings, but instead ranking the most interesting teams, and they currently have us at 9th:
They're not good yet, but hanging with the Clippers twice suggests they might be closer than expected. DeMarcus Cousins remains monstrous, averaging 22 points, 11 rebounds and 2.3 assists in just 26 minutes per game while shooting 40 percent from 3. George Karl's getting production from the point-guard tandem of Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison. First-round pick Willie Cauley-Stein has shown flashes. Rondo's trying to pull dudes' pants down during games. Top-shelf business.
Sadly, the most interesting thing about Sacramento right now is Cousins leaving Saturday's game with an Achilles strain. When Boogie missed time early last season, the entire organization went into upheaval. If he's sidelined again, can the Kings stay the course?
SportsIllustrated is also concerned about Cousins:
Has the cookie begun to crumble, or is DeMarcus Cousins just day-to-day with an Achilles strain? For all the jokes surrounding the franchise, the Kings played the Clippers close twice this week and have the makings of a solid bench. But without Cousins in a four-game week, the going could get rough pretty fast.