Cousins and Karl work towards reconciliation in LV
DeMarcus Cousins, George Karl, Vlade Divac and Mike Bratz met in Las Vegas on Tuesday and the picture that came out of the meeting could say a thousand words.
The first word is relief. This had to happen. This means absolutely everything for the Sacramento Kings. Success and failure completely depends on a star player and a star coach walking the same path.
The Kings’ new Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations had to use his well-advertised charisma and even-handed approach to at least bring Cousins and Karl to the table. This may be a baby step, but you have to start somewhere and without Divac, this simple meeting of the minds would never have taken place.
Divac has done his best to play both sides of the fence over the last few months. He went out of his way to draft Willie Cauley-Stein, who fits both Karl’s scheme and Cousins’ need as a player. He went after specific players that make sense for the dribble-drive motion offense Karl loves to run and to compliment the immense skill Cousins has in the post.
Regardless of how many players Divac adds, the only thing that really matters is that Cousins and Karl are ready to move forward together.
An odd pairing from the start, there are realities that both of these men must come to grips with.
First, if Karl wants to chase down Don Nelson for the all-time lead in coaching wins, he must have Cousins 100 percent engaged. Not just to start this season, but for the long haul.
The Kings roster is improved, but it’s built around the team’s talented 24-year-old center. Kosta Koufos was a solid addition to the team and so was Cauley-Stein, but Cousins is the best center in the game and he hasn’t even reached his full potential. There is no replacing Cousins in the Kings rotation.
For Cousins, he needs to look at Karl’s success and buy in. Not every NBA player gets a shot at playing for a future Hall of Fame coach and Karl is exactly that. With the improvements around him, Cousins can lead the league in scoring and if the team wins, he can be in the MVP discussion. He’s that good.
Cousins isn’t a trusting fellow, but he has to give in to the magic of Karl. He has to forgive and forget and move forward. If he is going to stay in Sacramento, this is his only path.
Karl needs to stop with the antics. He has to stop with the media conversation regarding Cousins and come to the realization that this isn’t Gary Payton or Carmelo Anthony. Cousins is unique in almost every way and sometimes you have to bend when working with him. It’s that simple, even if Cousins is anything but.
You have to start somewhere. Without harmony between stars, the Kings are going nowhere fast. With the two pulling the same direction, there is major potential for success in Sacramento.
What is success? I’m not sure that there is a number or an accomplishment, there has to be an upward direction. 29 wins isn’t a successful season. 40 might not be either. This team has the potential to compete for a playoff spot if they are on the same page. At least for a day, Karl, Cousins, Divac and Bratz were in the same area code. That sounds like progress.