Cousins loving transition to high post, but switch hasn't been easy


Cousins loving transition to high post, but switch hasn't been easy

SACRAMENTO -- DeMarcus Cousins entered Kings training camp with yet another new head coach. In now his seventh NBA season, Dave Joerger is the sixth different man to don a whistle and start directing Cousins and his teammates.

Sacramento has had a revolving door at the top, but there is a different feel with Joerger. After three successful seasons in Memphis, including a 147-99 regular season record and three trips to the Western Conference playoffs, Joerger joined the Kings on a 4-year, $16 million deal this summer.

The hope is that Cousins and Joerger will form a unique relationship that will help the Kings snap their decade long playoff drought. But there is a ton of work to do before we can even start discussing the P-word.

“There’s a lot of learning,” Cousins said of week one of camp. “It’s a new system of course. A lot of options, man. The offense is different. I think it’s a good look for our team. I think this will help this team get to the next level. It’s just about us getting the system down pat and like I said, getting these options, there’s a lot of options.”

Cousins has played in plenty of different systems during his time in Sacramento. He’s been used all over the floor, but Joerger is attempting to convert him to a high-post center, which might play perfectly to Cousins’ strengths.

“I love it, I love it...I love it,” Cousins said.

After a season in George Karl’s frenetic offense, Cousins is excited for the change in schemes. Although the switch over hasn’t been easy.

“It’s been tough, honestly,” Cousins said. “To shake off the way we used to play, to more, you know, I guess you could say traditional way, it’s been tough. But I think guys have been great about it. We’re working hard. We’re taking in as much information as we can in a short period of time. We’re growing at a fast pace, but we still have a lot of growing to do.”

Adding to the workload, Joerger has focused primarily on defense during the first week of camp. For a team that couldn’t guard their own shadow last season, the adjustment to Joerger’s "grit and grind" system has taken plenty of coaching. By the time he gets to the media session following practice everyday, Joerger's voice is raspy and toned down considerably.

“You mean over-drilled us,” Cousins said with a smile when asked about Joerger’s defensive-minded approach. “It’s good. It’s something we need. You could tell this is really starting to work. It’s starting to become a natural thing for this team and that’s what we need.”

Fresh off his gold medal run with Team USA, Cousins is healthy and in the best shape of his life. He looks prime to have another big season for the Kings. He'll be asked to be more than just a scorer this year as the offense will go through his giant hands on most possessions.

He's survived two full relocation attempts and plenty of turnover in his time in Sacramento, but the 6-foot-11 big man is in good spirits heading into the new year.

“I’m excited,” Cousins said of the upcoming season. “It’s a beautiful arena. This city was more than deserving of this arena. You can feel the energy, feel the buzz throughout the city, so it’s an exciting time for Kings basketball and I’m ready to get started.”

Despite boasting the best big man in the NBA, the Kings continue to fly under the radar. The early season focus will be on the Golden 1 Center, but there is a positive vibe in Sacramento as they try to improve on last season’s 33 win season.

Start of Hawks-Kings game delayed due to protests outside arena


Start of Hawks-Kings game delayed due to protests outside arena

SACRAMENTO -- Giving new meaning to playing under protest, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks game at Golden 1 Center was delayed 13 minutes Thursday evening due to an actual protest outside the building.

Protesters locked arms in front of the entrance to the building, blocking ticket holders from entering the arena.

The Kings released the following prepared statement.

“Tonight’s game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund.”

Minutes before the 7:10 game start time, the Kings invited what few fans made their way into the building to sit in the lower bowl. A couple of thousand fans moved as close to the court as possible, while the doors remained closed to the outside.

The protest stems from the release of police body cam footage of the officer involved shooting death of South Sacramento resident, Stephon Clark, on Sunday evening. The video was released on Wednesday.

As of 8pm PST, the Golden 1 Center remains surrounded by protesters with security and police officers stationed insider every entrance and exit door.

De'Aaron Fox and the Kings seek revenge on the Hawks in Sacramento


De'Aaron Fox and the Kings seek revenge on the Hawks in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- The countdown has begun. The Sacramento Kings host the Atlanta Hawks Thursday evening in game 73 of the regular season. With just 10 games remaining on the schedule, the Kings are in full evaluation mode.

Sacramento is coming off a sub-par showing against the Detroit Pistons. Buddy Hield posted his fourth straight 20-point game and De’Aaron Fox added 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, but the Kings lost by 16.

The Hawks sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, but they are coming off a shocking win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Dennis Schroder dropped in a season-high 41 points to help Atlanta snap their six-game losing streak.


Kings by 1.5


De’Aaron Fox vs. Dennis Schroder --  Fox is one of the fastest players in the league, but Schroder is no slouch. The Kings’ rookie point guard played sparingly the last time these two teams faced off, but it’s his show now in Sacramento. Schroder is coming off a big performance in the Hawks win over the Jazz on Tuesday. He plays with a force that Fox hasn’t quite figured out yet. It’s speed vs. speed. 


Kings: 23-49, fourth place in Pacific

Hawks: 21-50, fifth place in Southeast


Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (sore hamstring) probable, SG/SF Garrett Temple (ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (gastroenteritis) questionable, SF Iman Shumpert (knee/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Hawks: SG Kent Bazemore (knee) out, SF DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal strain) out, PF John Collins (ankle) out, G Jaylen Morris (ankle) out, G Antonius Cleveland (ankle) out, G Malcolm Delaney (ankle) out.


Ten Games to Make a Lasting Impression -- The Kings’ young core is getting an opportunity to show what they have. A couple of players are jumping off the page in the post All-Star break schedule and a few are fading. The team is evaluating what they have and what they need for the upcoming summer.  

Play Hard -- Atlanta lacks talent, but they don’t lack heart. Mike Budenholzer teams come to play, which Utah just found out the hard way. The Kings had an active practice on Wednesday. Hopefully that carries over to Thursday night’s game. 

Revenge Game -- Dave Joerger’s group got their lunch money stolen the last time they faced the Hawks. The 46-point drubbing was the worst loss of the year for Sacramento. Atlanta comes in short-handed and with a 21-50 record, but they are still capable. The Kings need show up and get a little payback.  


Atlanta torched the Kings in their early season matchup, running over the Kings for a 126-80 win at Philips Arena. The Hawks hold a 159-154 advantage all-time over the the Kings and lead the series 43-18 during the Sacramento-era.