How will DeMarcus Cousins approach his homecoming?
The stage has been set for the reunion of multiple former Kentucky Wildcats at Rupp Arena tonight. If you think about it, this game might have a larger significance than any other preseason game to one Wildcat that plays on the Sacramento Kings.
That man is DeMarcus Cousins.
The same 23,500 fans at Rupp Arena that experienced Anthony Davis lead Kentucky to a 16–0 SEC regular season and ultimately a National Championship, never experienced Cousins’ class reach a Final Four.
Cousins’ talented class was eliminated in the Elite Eight to West Virginia. But he is on record saying that his class would definitely beat the 2012 class that won a National Championship.
“That team is too small, way too small,” said a laughing Cousins on ThePostGame. “Anthony is too light.”
Can we really argue that?
I can’t because John Wall and Eric Bledsoe have had larger impacts on the NBA level than Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Terrence Jones. Some can even argue that Patrick Patterson has had a larger impact on the NBA level than Kidd-Gilchrist and Jones.
What does this all mean?
Cousins loves his passionate blue and white family and knowing how much he enjoys to go against great big men (especially against Davis), we should expect a determined basketball player looking to send one of the top-five basketball player’s in the world a message heading into the regular season in front of a capacity crowd.
Cousins will look to dominate and George Karl should show us a little bit more of what the rotation will look like on opening night.
My 3 keys to the game:
Control the glass
Davis, Omer Asik and Ryan Anderson are solid rebounders, which means Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos will need to be strong in the paint and win that battle if they expect to win the game.
Limit dribble penetration
Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday love to take it to the cup and if they succeed, they are very capable finishers at the rim and willing passers, which means if you collapse on them, Eric Gordon, Luke Babbitt and Anderson will be waiting on the perimeter to shoot a high percentage 3-pointer with their feet set. And of course, that will not be good news for the Kings and their chances of wining.
Ben McLemore needs to assert himself not only on offense but his ability to defend the Pelicans’ talented group of guards will be key if the Kings expect to come out with a victory. He is slowly showing signs of improvement in order for this team to take the next level but his slow development will not be enough to earn him significant minutes on this team, which means his impact won’t be significant this season.
The Kings need to see an aggressive shooting guard looking to score the ball just as Marco Belinelli has done this preseason. This passive McLemore that has struggled throughout training camp needs to wake up and prove that the Kings made the right decision in picking up his option.