Cauley-Stein made his presence felt in this new era of proud
No Boogie, no problem as Willie Cauley-Stein went for a career-high 29 points in the Kings’ 116-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets. The level of efficiency that Cauley-Stein played with last night wasn’t like any other game from this season, as he went 14-of-22 from the field.
The comfort level and poise that Cauley-Stein played with was felt by all of his teammates. His 29 points did not feel forced because they came within the flow of the offense, which is a very positive sign going forward.
Cauley-Stein made himself the most agile King on the floor Thursday night putting himself in the position to get the easy basket. Whether it was rolling to the basket or hustling to the rim for a putback, Cauley-Stein brought forth an element to his game that can now be exploited with DeMarcus Cousins’ departure.
With Cousins now gone this gives Cauley-Stein the necessary minutes to truly explore what he has been working towards the whole season. His offensive arsenal was on full display last night as he confidently made 15 plus foot jumpers and was creative off the dribble getting him to the basket.
The more impressive asset in Cauley-Stein’s game last night was his rebound positioning. In the past he remained in his comfort zone not willing to go after the long rebounds or the 50/50 ball but that all changed last night against Denver.
Cauley-Stein put himself in a position where he was able to grab the 10-13 foot rebound rather than just rebounds around the rim. He finished with 10 rebounds on the night.
The level of intensity that Cauley-Stein brought forward can be contagious to the young Kings roster as they are making the push for the eighth playoff spot.
“We have a goal, we’re trying to make that eighth spot,” said Cauley-Stein. “So, that’s one down, 24 to go. We’re trying to bring that kind of intensity every game for the next 24. That’s all we really focused on. The outcome of the game is just going to come by how hard we’re playing and the intensity we have on defense.”
Confidence is what will expand Cauley-Stein’s game as he had the opportunity to turn a new page last night. With time he’ll gain a better understanding of his teammates and try to imitate a night like this on a consistent basis.
A second year player who’s been waiting for his chance in the spotlight, can now breathe with his new found confidence. Cauley-Stein can now play the game how it’s meant to be played and how he has played his whole life, loosely.