It’s human nature to try and make sense of an irrational world. People like finite responses to questions that sometimes don’t have clear-cut answers.
If you asked fans or pundits who this season’s Sacramento Kings belongs to, you’d be hard pressed to hear any other name besides DeMarcus Cousins. But are the Kings really Cousins’ team yet?
“You know I think there’s a debate there,” said Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports on last week’s Cowbell Kingdom Podcast. “That’s just kind of a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder thing. Until DeMarcus can consistently just stay away from silliness, drama, I don’t know if we can call it his team.”
As a reporter who covers the national NBA scene, Spears made some fair points. And perhaps, until the Kings become relevant again outside the capital city, maybe he’s right.
There’s no denying Cousins’ talent, his abilities. Look no further than these plays from last season against the Atlanta Hawks and Utah Jazz to understand. But, averaging a double-double doesn’t hold much weight when accomplished on a perennial cellar-dweller.
Since the Kings have made more headlines off-the-court than on it , maybe there’s still reason to believe Tyreke Evans is just as valuable as Cousins. In fact, Spears argued that the 23-year-old wing should still garner some consideration when determining who’s “the man” on this year’s incarnation of the Kings.
“He just seems more in-tuned to it,” said Spears of Evans, whose offseason training was the subject of a piece for Yahoo! last week. “If you’re getting up at four o’clock in the morning (to work on your game), it’s deeper than your contract to me. And that’s something that he’s done.”
It’s easy to discredit Evans. Numerically-speaking, he’s regressed since his historical, rookie-of-the year campaign. However, you can’t gloss over the talent now surrounding Evans, which has improved over his three-year Kings career. Last season was the first time in his basketball life that Evans wasn’t asked to be Mr. Everything.
Cousins and Evans both had highlights as well as lowlights last season. As dominant as Cousins was, the 22-year-old big man still displayed poor-shot selection, which resulted in just a two-percent improvement in field-goal percentage (43 to 44.8 percent). Evans, meanwhile, continued to struggle with his jump-shot, which trends downward for his career.
“To me they’re still co-stars, so to speak,” said Spears. “And does DeMarcus have the potential to be the guy, the face of the franchise? I certainly think so. But I just think he has to play basketball in a lot of ways just to make that happen. And we’ll see if he gets there…”
In the end, does it even matter whose team it is? If the Kings see marked improvement during this upcoming 2012-13 season, maybe it doesn’t.