Greivis Vasquez and John Salmons had enough. The two veterans addressed teammates in a private locker room meeting following their 105-100 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The comeback fell short Tuesday, as the Sacramento Kings played to their weaknesses with over-dribbling and lack of ball movement. The loss leaves the 1-3 Kings searching for answers entering their next game.
Head coach Michael Malone, who won in his head coaching debut, knows this isn’t all on DeMarcus Cousins. But the star center was taken out of the game mentally before and following a deliberate punch to the groin that reversed a previously called flagrant foul on Cousins, and eventually led to an ejection of the Hawks’ Dennis Schroder. If DeMarcus is taken out of a game against the Atlanta Hawks and their frontline, then the Kings are in trouble moving forward. But like I said, this isn’t all on Cousins.
“He has to do a better job with his low-post defense, and we have to do a better job of helping him. And to his credit, the non-basketball stuff … I give him a ton of credit. He’s really trying to contain his emotions and handle it.” – Head Coach Michael Malone
For a player that called his teammates out, there sure are some players that could take offense to Vasquez’ point guard play as well. Isaiah Thomas has been eating his lunch since the season started. Meanwhile, John Salmons has been a non-factor as expected, and really shouldn’t be trying to call anyone on the team out, given his Jimmer-like lack of production. But I digress. Listen, I applaud the players for holding themselves accountable while trying to resolve this issue once and for all. But really, the whole team needs to step up. Right now it’s Cousins and friends featuring Isaiah Thomas, and that’s just not going to cut it. The team has benefited from the step up in production from Ben McLemore though. The rookie has 34 points off the bench in his last two games
The Kings get the Portland TrailBlazers in a two-game series before taking on the Brooklyn Nets. They currently have a losing streak against both teams. I think if the Kings can steal one of those games, it won’t be time to go nuclear. But let’s hope that the players meeting had the desired effect the first time around.