Kyle Korver is a must-guard every night. It’s on every scouting report — it has to be. His 3-point shooting kills teams that lag on rotations while making guards pay for getting out-muscled on pick-and-rolls. The Sacramento Kings apparently didn’t get that memo.
Sacramento used a 24-2 run to tie the game in the first half, but ultimately fell to the Atlanta Hawks 124-107 on Wednesday. Korver hit eight 3-pointers to lead the Hawks in scoring. It’s the second consecutive road loss for the Kings as they now trudge on to play the Miami Heat.
DeMarcus Cousins has played up to the max contract given to him this offseason and is in the All-Star race. Isaiah Thomas was the leading candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year, but has flourished in his role as starter. Rudy Gay is just a handful of games into his Sacramento tenure and is easily the most formidable and consistent forward the Kings have had since Ron Artest.
But even with it’s recent tinkering of the lineup and the roster, this team sits at the bottom of the Pacific at 7-17 and just a few games from being out of any sort of contention. The entire roster needs to step its game up, but maybe some sage words from the Big Aristotle could shine a light on the state of the team.
“This team is good but good ain’t good enough — that’ll come with wins”, Shaquille O’Neal told Sacramento’s KTHK 1140 radio before the game. O’Neal of course ponied up for a small stake and joined the team as a minority owner this offseason. With a mind like O’Neal nurturing a young mind like Cousins, it’s easy to see why he has responded in a big way.
Before the Kings game Wednesday, O’Neal spoke with Cousins, challenging the Kings’ big man “to finish the season at 20-10”. O’Neal was referring to Cousins’ stats this season, and so far so good.
Cousins is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds per, well above Shaq’s mandate. But with this team constantly finding ways to throw away games, Cousins may need to go for 30-20 each night. This team revolves around its big three of Thomas, Gay and Cousins, but even the big three need co-stars. That’s the kind of help that can only be found by players looking inside themselves and the GM looking into cold-calling.