By now, NBA season previews are rolling out. Countless basketball sites, podcasts, and television shows are breaking down all 30 teams; projecting how each will fare based on additions and subtractions. I would like to do something different and focus on teams through the fish-eyed lens of their respective most intriguing player or players. I continue with the Sacramento Kings.
My favorite part about tracking the careers of players is being wowed at how young some of them still are. At 26, DeMarcus Cousins is younger than Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook, and he's the same age as former Kentucky teammate John Wall. However, like a good number of the players that are profiled in these NBA season previews, he's old enough for his career to no longer carry the perfumed scent of baby's breath, yet also not old enough to be coated in English Leather. The man affectionately called 'Boogie' is at a crossroads. What's interesting about the intersection Boogie is currently staring at is someone he's been at odds with could shed insight on how to approach it. That person is Charles Barkley.
Barkley and Cousins have had occasional verbal spats in recent years. While both acknowledge and respect the other's on-site court abilities, I'm sure there won't be a blossoming friendship between these two in the near future. But Sir Charles was in a similar career predicament during his time in Philly. A fan favorite and on the cusp of being a perennial All-Star, Barkley's Sixers teams were not that good. Barkley facilitated a trade to a better team, the Phoenix Suns, and got a chance to play with better talent surrounding him. This resulted in his only regular season MVP--while Jordan was still in his prime--and his only Finals appearance, in which his Suns lost to Jordan's Bulls in six games.
Let's return to the present. Last year (yes, I know), Cousins was phenomenal. In his second-straight All-Star campaign, he finished fourth in scoring and fifth in rebounding. He further established himself as an elite player and the Kings' foundation's I-beams and antennae. But as great as he is, he has been unable to return Sacramento to the playoffs. Turnover and turmoil envelop him, with coaching changes, roster moves and even an ownership switch. As sturdy as a pillar as he is, he can't support the team that calls
ARCO Sleep Train Arena Golden 1 home by himself.
I am not asking DeMarcus Cousins to do his best to force his way out of Sacramento. I like when superstar talent is spread across the Association. He is also still under contract for a couple of years, so pending free agency is not in play. I do believe he should do what is best for career. Sacramento does not seem to have direction, and a player as amazing as Boogie should not have to be a living monument of the crumbling structure around him. Choose wisely, Boogie. Your future depends on it.
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse's good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.