The Raps take on another struggling team tonight. The name “Sacramento Kings” is misleading for two reasons; the team has been rumoured to be decamping, & they haven’t been part of NBA royalty for a decade. Seattle Princes, anyone?
The Kings’ best players, DeMarcus Cousins & Tyreke Evans, are both headaches for management, but for different reasons. Cousins, their hulking Centre, can score & bang with anyone. He will tax Jonas Valanciunas to the limit. However, he’s quite capable of getting tossed from a game, as he can’t seem to avoid needless after-the-whistle battles. Cousins averages 16+ points & almost 10 boards per game. He has to start wearing big-boy pants. Evans was NBA Rookie of the Year in ’09-’10, but his development has stalled. He appears to suffer from Jerryd Bayless Disorder, that rare form of misapprehension in which a Shooting Guard thinks he’s a Point Guard. As a result, Evans is a better player than team mate. Evans’ name is constantly bandied about in trade chatter, which has to be wearing on him. Jason Thompson starts at Power Forward, & is the same player now as he was as a rookie 3 years ago. Off the bench, Marcus Thornton is the team’s second highest scorer. Another King who provides more potential than production is Jimmer Fredette, the one-dimensional college star who can’t quite step up to the demands of the pro game. One of the few pleasant surprises for Sac-to last season was the last pick in the college draft, Isaiah Thomas, who showed he can shoot from outside despite his height, or lack thereof. James Johnson was donated to this team by the Raps, & we’ll be watching to see if he has shaken off his bad habits on offence. He is a deluxe defender, so DeMar DeRozan better be ready to play.
The Kings give up almost 6 PPG more than they score, & have lost their last 3 games. The Raptors are healthy, with the exception of Linas Kleiza (what else is new?), desperate for a win & out of excuses. Time for a beatdown – Raps 108 – Kings 89.