When it comes to the Pacific division, the player most are looking at as a breakout candidate is the young guard from the Suns, Devin Booker. He’d be an easy choice here. The Warriors have 2 of the top 5 players in the league and 4 of the top 20. The Clippers have 2 superstars and the Lakers have a bunch of young kids looking to improve. But it’d be harder to find more intrigue around a player than around DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings.
By the numbers, Cousins is a clear superstar. He’s the most dominant offensive big man in the game. He’s a beast in the paint and added the 3-ball to his game last season. He’s coming off a career-high 27 points per game. He just won the Gold Medal with Team USA in Rio. So why hasn’t Boogie made the jump from great numbers on a bad team to putting up these numbers on a team that can at least make the playoffs?
Most of the blame for the struggles of the Kings lies elsewhere. They have a roster stacked with centers in a league that’s moving away from them. Rudy Gay is probably best suited at the 4 at this point but he’s arguably the team’s best wing (this says more about the state of Sacramento’s wings than Gay’s skills). Their starting point guard is just very average and is suspended 8 games for domestic violence. This team is a mess and the season hasn’t even begun. So where’s the intrigue? It’s probably fair to say that it’s more from a front office or organizational perspective; will the Kings finally move Cousins for brighter pastures?
Cousins in Sacramento will most likely spend another year putting up monster numbers for a below average team. There is some new blood in Sacramento, with Dave Joerger taking over as head coach after a successful reign in Memphis. But the roster is mostly the same as last year, minus some minor free agent additions like Garrett Temple and Anthony Tolliver. It’d be pretty surprising for Sacramento to make the jump to playoff team.
Cousins has this season plus one more left on his contract. If (when) the Kings begin to struggle this year, the front office should explore the possibility of moving Boogie. His trade value will be higher this year, when he still has one extra year on his deal. Sacramento losing for another season or two would significantly raise the odds of Cousins bolting for a new situation. Boogie in Sacramento will most likely be more of the same; phenomenal offensive basketball, some signs of really good defense and occasional emotional outbursts.. If Boogie is moved, he could drastically change another franchise.
Who are some teams that could make a move for Cousins? Boston comes to mind because of their young players like Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown along with some draft picks their still owed from Brooklyn. Maybe if Indiana struggles, they would think about a package with Myles Turner as the centerpiece? Would the Lakers package some of their young guys for that superstar they’ve been craving? Orlando has an abundance of frontcourt guys. Do the Raptors have enough to get Boogie? If he’s available, you can be sure front offices all over the league will be making calls to Vlade Divac in Sacramento. Superstars on the trade market only come along once every few years and Boogie will be coveted. Let’s see if this is the year something finally breaks one way or another with Cousins and the Kings.