- Teams: Sacramento Kings (11-19) at Detroit Pistons (11-22)
- Date: January 1, 2013
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Television: FSD
What to look for
Every now and then, buying into the hype and forming a narrative can be a little boring, overdone and even leave you with a cheesy impression. And yet, it’s extremely difficult to avoid doing so when discussing the Sacramento Kings.
Earlier in the year, the Kings looked like a selfish team, as players routinely took low percentage shots and failed to share the ball. For the most part, it felt as though the Kings players took bad shots because they were afraid that if they passed the ball to a teammate that it wouldn’t come back to them.
The main culprit as I wrote a few weeks ago was DeMarcus Cousins.
The Kentucky product had all the talent in the world, but he just didn’t seem to get it. Cousins has since been suspended due to poor conduct with the team and recently returned to the lineup on December 28th against the New York Knicks.
In the two games that Cousins has played since his suspension, the Kings have not only been victorious, but they’ve looked quite impressive against the Knicks and Celtics.
The Sacramento Kings are averaging 19.8 assists (28th in NBA) this season and yet have produced 28 assists in back-to-back games.
Again, making this somewhat of a feel good story is rather mundane, but the truth is that the Kings have shared the ball more since Cousins has returned to play with his teammates. The third year pro is averaging 7.5 assists in the past two games and has played like the talented big man that he is. He’s settled a little less for long 2-point shots, preferring instead to drive the ball to the hoop for high percentage shots, sharing the ball when defenses converge on him or simply being perfectly fine with running the offense.
It’s worth noting, the sample size is obviously quite small and both games have been played at home, hence it’s quite possible that these new tendencies might not make the trip to Detroit; considering how bad the Kings have been on the road this season. They have lost 12 of their 13 road games, which suggests that they obviously have a problem with winning away from home.
Thus one has to be intrigued to see if Keith Smart’s group will play with the same level of commitment to one another that they’ve exhibited in their last two wins or whether they will revert back to old habits.