What will Sacramento’s power forward depth chart look like?
Last week we took a look at the small forward position and how things may shake out for the Sacramento Kings. How do the minutes break down for Rudy Gay, Matt Barnes and Omri Casspi and what would their numbers look like?
Today, we’re doing the same thing for the power forward position. More specifically, we’re going to look at DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Tolliver and Skal Labissière.
Now, some of you may be saying, “I thought Cousins was a center. What’s he doing on this list?”
Yes, technically, you’re correct. However, if you take a look at the game logs you’ll see that Cousins is listed as a power forward on NBA.com in 28 of the 65 games he played last year and most of those came next to Willie Cauley-Stein.
Again, just like the small forward position, don’t be surprised if Cousins, Tolliver and Labissière are moved around to center if certain matchups dictate it to be a good idea.
We even heard coach Joerger mention that Labissière is a good ball handler and talked about him getting some minutes at point guard, even if it was only the NBA Summer League.
Therefore, without further ado, let’s take a look at the three players and how they did last year and who plays what number of minutes this year.
For Cousins, he’s the starter, and he gets the most minutes, period. There’s no need to get cute and think that maybe, if someone impresses someone else in the preseason, perhaps he can start. No, Cousins will be the starter.
He’s a two-time All-Star and the clear face of the team. Last year Cousins averaged 26.9 points per game (Fourth in the NBA) 11.5 rebounds per game (Fifth in the NBA) and 3.3 assists per game.
Also, because the Kings have a bit of a backlog at the center position, it only makes sense that they’ll play Cousins alongside Kosta Koufos, Willie Cauley Stein or Georgios Papagiannis.
Now that we understand that Cousins will get the majority of playing time, how do the other minutes get split up between Tolliver and Labissière?
For Tolliver, his role looks to be that of a stopgap. Tolliver is someone who may get a few starts here and there but is mostly used as a big man who can hold down the paint for a few minutes and spread the floor with his range from beyond the arc.
Here’s a quick breakdown of some of Tolliver’s stats last year playing for the Detroit Pistons.
(2015-16) Anthony Tolliver: 5.3 PPG 0.7 APG 3.2 RPG 18.6 MPG
If those numbers seem similar to a former King, it’s because they’re not too far off from Quincy Acy. Take a look.
(2015-16) Quincy Acy: 5.2 PPG 0.5 APG 3.2 RPG 14.8 MPG
What do you remember about Acy? He’ll bring you toughness, rebounds and a few hard fouls when Cousins needs a breather. Expect to see those same things from Tolliver.
For Labissière, perhaps he doesn’t get that much playing time next year. After all, he’s a rookie that wasn’t taken until the 28th pick. He’ll get some playing time, maybe around ten minutes a game, but don’t expect much more than that.
After all, the man only played 15.8 minutes at Kentucky when he was the second overall prospect coming out of high school. What makes you think that his minutes will rise when thrown into the NBA?
For a quick understanding of how each player performed last year (either in college or the NBA) here’s a look at Cousins, Tolliver and Labissière.
Cousins: 26.9 PPG 3.3 APG 11.5 RPG 34.6 MPG
Tolliver: 5.3 PPG 0.7 APG 3.2 RPG 18.6 MPG
Labissière: (Kentucky) 6.6 PPG 3.1 RPG 1.6 BPG 15.8 MPG
What do you think? Would you prefer Labissière to be thrown into the fire right off the bat or let him watch from the bench?