Is Evans a Superstar?
The Maloof brothers have chosen to build form within, and are paying healthy dividends. With the core of the team only recently receiving drivers licenses, King management is hoping their current roster will be enough for the team to be contenders.
A team that has won less than 25 games in a season during the last three years is going to have to look at various factors that could possibly impact how their season pans out. In the deep Western Conference, it's going to take a lot to get into that Top Eight and into the playoffs. Let's take a look into what might make the Kings a 35-win team that has to be reckoned with come playoff time.
Can Evans lead the way?
Coming into his third season, Tyreke Evans has had to endure losing over 100 games in two years after probably winning most of his past games during his hoops career. Evans has endured the tough times while finding his true role for the team. The Memphis College alumni is 6' 6" combo guard who can break down his defender in many ways.
Evans is evolving into a deadly scorer, and the team is surrounding him with great shooters due to his ability to get by his man off the dribble. The Kings list him at point guard and his five assists a game show his ability to find the open man. He gets to the basket leading to many foul line visits.
Foot woes seem to have taken away his full explosion last year and with a new year upon us, Evans will have the chance to showcase his ability to finish games in the fourth quarter. He will also have to play both ends of the court with the same vigor he attacks opposing baskets.
He is an excellent rebounder and should allow his length to generate some more steals and deflections on defense.
The question that might linger all year long: Has Evans become a star now or is he still just a youngster making some noise in the league?
Time to Grow
When Cousins name comes up in conversations, no one wonders about all the all the fabulous skills that he possesses. Rather, its more about when he will put it all together. His run-ins with coaches and teammates have marred his image somewhat, but at 21, a smart owner knows the growing pains a young man will go through.
With a full season under his belt and Samuel Dalembert in Houston, Cousins will inherit both minutes and touches—and fantasy buffs could see his numbers rise to over 20 points and 10 rebounds.
With such an array of posts moves, Cousins is a true force in the paint. For the Kings to be in playoff contention, Cousins will have to put his total game together, which even consists of a strong knack to pass the ball as his 2.5 assists showed last season. He will see more double teams this year and this total could rise as well.
Management will keep there fingers crossed with hopes that Cousins can handle the new expanded role and that he doesn't divert to old habits that hurt him in the past.
How can the bench impact
Management has brought in a small cast of players to compliment this core group. Guard Marcus Thornton leads a slew of shooters ready to fire when called upon. After scoring 21.3 points per game in his 27 (23 started) game stint, the Kings knew they had instant offense in the 24-year-old and signed him instantly.
In John Salmons, the Kings have a steady veteran who still plays both ends of the court and multiple positions as well. He also has the ability to create his own shot while still being able to create for others. Chuck Hayes has been brought in to solidify the interior with his solid post defense and rebounding.
Four forwards vying for time are: J.J. Hickson—a great high energy guy off the bench—and former Net Travis Outlaw. The Kings still have the shooting services of two players who have been around in Francisco Garcia and Donte Greene. These two guys have produced for the Kings in the past, so it should be interesting to see how this plays out now that they are not in the immediate rotation.
NBA Defenses will be out to slow down Jimmer
Which so much hype by such a storied individual, one has to remembered why he is here in the NBA. His ability to shoot the ball with such range has gotten him in the building, so now we all will look forward to seeing how his overall game develops.
Jimmer's play off the pick in roll will allow for open jump shots, that he can surely drain. He has shown the ability to adjust to the speed of the NBA, but its the length of the defenders that might give him trouble.
Point Guard Isiah Thomas could wind up as a major sleeper in the draft. In Thomas you have a ultra quick guard who sets up teammates and will be the guy sent in to change the pace of the game. Was an accomplished scorer in college as well.
Tyler Honeycutt, whose games will remind some of former UCLA alumni Matt Barnes with his knack for playing defense and passing. He will have time to become stronger and adjust to the rigors of of NBA with so many players ahead of him.