Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

January 6, 2012
Kings, Westphal, Late-nght leftovers

So, after another eventful night (and yet another coaching change) at Power Balance Pavilion, here are a few late-night thoughts, quotes, observations:

• Considering the Kings were playing their fifth game in six nights and their first under new head coach Keith Smart, their comeback victory over the Milwaukee Bucks was impressive. Other than the 2010-11 finale against the Lakers, we haven't seen this type of emotion in the arena in a long time.

• If anyone needed further evidence that Joe and Gavin Maloof give team president Geoff Petrie an inordinate amount of autonomy, consider that the Kings co-owners were informed of Paul Westphal's statement regarding DeMarcus Cousins' one-game suspension long after the fact. But the thing about the Maloofs: Hard to believe, but they do leave the basketball decisions to the basketball people. They can be upset about the statement in one moment - totally taking up for Cousins - and then change their minds in an instant, insisting that the coaches have to maintain order and discipline in another.

• My biggest question about the Westphal Era remains this: Why the sudden public anti-Cousins campaign? I still haven't heard anything to convince me the second-year center has done anything more offensive than act like a goofy, immature 12-year-old in the locker room or occasionally mouth off. In fact, I think Cousins has made terrific progress in terms of conditioning, postgame locker room demeanor (when the media is admitted) and his attitude in general. I still don't get it. Career suicide. Plus, if we want to talk about selfishness these last two-plus seasons, let's talk the entire Kings roster.

• Expect more playing time for Jimmer Fredette. He can shoot, and it appears, he can create plays.

• With his late defense on Brandon Jennings, the long-armed, quick-fisted Evans once again demonstrated that he can be a superb, game-changing, on-ball defender.

• Finally, it was interesting the way Smart implemented sets to offset the Kings' poor passing and movement. Everyone is getting touches and shots, which keeps all the players happy. Energy, effort, defensive commitment and spacing can overcome a lot of deficiencies. Make the pass ... and then the extra pass ... and then move and let the ball come back. Are these Kings capable of learning? Imagine a fastbreak where the ball doesn't dent the floor? I have covered the NBA since 1981, and I can't remember a team that made the game so unnecessarily difficult ...

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