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The Sacramento Kings have a leadership void

The Kings still haven’t fixed their biggest problem

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Sacramento Kings focused on a very specific type of player in free agency this past summer. They brought in Anthony Tolliver, Garrett Temple, and Arron Afflalo, and all three were touted as leaders. They were high-character guys. Great teammates. They would strengthen the locker room and the resolve of the team. Even Matt Barnes was supposed to help. Barnes was supposed to be the guy who would force teammates to play hard and practice hard. All of these moves, while they didn’t look flashy on paper, would improve the team. The Kings coupled those moves with the hiring of Dave Joerger, a hard-nosed, no-nonsense, defensive-minded coach who would hold players accountable.

The Kings finally had a break in their schedule. They had a rare in-season break to have multiple days of practice. Time to reset, work on some plays, and prepare for a brutal stretch of home games.

So what happened?

I don’t care that the Kings lost to the Spurs. The Spurs are a damn good team. But let’s take a look at the post game quotes.

Joerger allowed a loose shootaround, nobody on the team took it seriously, nobody came out with effort. Nobody was ready to play basketball.

Taking blame after the fact is fine, but this team needs leaders who recognize the issue when it is happening, not after. That falls on Joerger, that falls on the veterans, and it absolutely falls on DeMarcus Cousins.

I tend to think Cousins gets more grief about his leadership than he deserves, but things like this sure make it hard to defend him. Cousins talks about how much he hates to lose, but doesn’t step up and demand his team be ready. He’s been doing this too long now for this to fly.

The Kings have far too many duplicate pieces, the lineups and rotations are suspect, Kosta Koufos had offseason surgery to replace his hands with rubber clubs, but none of these issues are bigger than the massive leadership void facing the team.

Someone needs to step up.