Wading through the national perception of the 2012-13 Sacramento Kings

Thomas Robinson defends Carl Landry (Photo: Steven Chea)

Locally, there’s cautious optimism about this year’s Sacramento Kings.  The environment on and off-the-court is more upbeat thanks to a foundation based on team-building.  They have more talent than they’ve had in years.  And lastly, they have a potential star in the making who has game-changing skills.

But what about around the country?  Do the national critics share the sentiment that local observers have when it comes to a new season of Kings basketball?  Compiled below is a variety of opinion, analysis and commentary about the 2012-13 Kings from NBA writers and bloggers from around the country.

Predictions

Sports Illustrated: Lee Jenkins has the Kings finishing last in the Pacific Division.

Two seasons ago, Tyreke Evans was Rookie of the Year, and the bedrock of the rebuilding process in Sacramento. Now, he is a man without a position, playing for his future with the Kings. This team belongs to DeMarcus Cousins and its success hinges on his development, a familiar refrain for anyone who has followed the tantalizing and at times frustrating center. Cousins is by no means alone in Sacramento, with vaunted rookie Thomas Robinson joining him in the low post to form a promising frontcourt for the future. Despite all the Kings’ problems, they have drafted fairly well recently, snagging Robinson and point guard Isaiah Thomas in the past two years. The Kings will compete regularly but still won’t win enough.

NBA.com: David Aldridge of Turner Sports, however, has chosen the Kings as his sleeper in the Western Conference playoff picture.

Sacramento. Yeah, I said it. The Kings have enough talent, with new additions in Aaron Brooks and first-rounder Thomas Robinson, to be in the postseason hunt. As ever, they will probably go as far as DeMarcus Cousins can take them.

Yahoo! Sports: Kelly Dwyer likens the Kings as a league pass darling and forecasts a 30-52 record.

The hope is that these various youngsters will want to make their latest chance work, after a few deadening seasons of playing under coach Paul Westphal, and a 2011-12 turn that every player knew was doomed to the lottery just a week in. Rookie Thomas Robinson and second year guard Isaiah Thomas appear as enthusiastic, undeterred sorts that won’t let the malaise and giant hill get to them, while DeMarcus Cousins genuinely appears to want to turn his reputation around after a very good second season and a frustratingly short stint working out for Team USA prior to the Olympics.

Power Rankings

ESPN.com:  Marc Stein ranks the Kings’ 26th.

Brace yourselves for countless jokes about the newly named (but sadly outdated) Sleep Train Arena. As well as the usual ups and downs from a (really) young team still unclear where the franchise will be long-term, while sporting a roster of ill-fitting, unpolished parts.

CBS Sports:  Matt Moore ranks the Kings’ 24th.

“Hold on, I’m on the phone with my realtor.” So much talent, so little fit.

NBC Sports:  Kurt Helin ranks the Kings 25th.

DeMarcus Cousins looked good in the preseason, except when he was launching threes. Still, the big question here is where does Tyreke Evans fit in? Or does he?

Video Analysis

Grantland - Bill Simmons on Sacramento: “They’re like a pick-up basketball team from hell.”

ESPN.com – John Hollinger on DeMarcus Cousins: “He’s such an overpowering player around the basket.  He needs to stop settling for jumpers so much and really focus on where his strengths are.”

Sports Illustrated – Chris Mannix on the Kings:  “Can they meet the expectations that are there with their talent?”

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.