Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kings' Cousins and Evans can learn from Suns' Hill and Nash

Juxtapose the situations of Phoenix veterans Grant Hill and Steve Nash with Sacramento’s young duo of Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins.

Therein sits tremendous perspective for observers and the Kings neophytes alike.

Neither Hill nor Nash has been able to corral that elusive NBA title, but there’s not much individually they’ve been unable to accomplish.

Hill, who turned 38 Tuesday, is beginning his 17th NBA season. Cousins, 20, was four years old when Hill began his march towards sharing the 1995 Rookie of the Year award with Jason Kidd.

Nash, 36, is entering his 15th NBA campaign with statistical achievements that pale in comparison to none. He’s a two-time Most Valuable Player and a seven-time all-star.

For the record, Nash averaged fewer than 10 points in each of his first four NBA seasons. Meanwhile, ankle problems prevented Hill from playing in more than 29 games in four different seasons.

Hill and Nash, despite decidedly different and distinct paths, have been places where Cousins and Evans only can dream of walking.

In Tuesday night’s first preseason game for both teams, Cousins and Evans predictably logged approximately 30 and 28 minutes, while Hill and Nash combined to play just 12.

Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said the Kings have a strong duo in Cousins and Evans.

“I like Cousins,” Gentry said. “I think he’s going to be very good. He’s a skilled guy and I think he’s a pretty cerebral player, just watching him out there (Tuesday night). And they’ve got Tyreke, who I think is one of the top five point guards in the league.

“And they’ve done a good job with the support players around these guys. It’s just a matter of getting some experience. But they’ve got a nice solid team.”

Hill also is a Cousins fan.

“I like Cousins,” Hill said of the rookie who had a game-high16 rebounds and 16 points. “That was his first game and they’ll have to learn to fit him in with Tyreke. He should be better after having his first year. (But) mixing in all the pieces together is the thing.

“They have good size and they are crashing the boards. Now it’s a matter of blending it all together.”

Hill said Evans, the 2010 Rookie of the Year, will benefit from his rookie year’s experience.

“I was a lot more comfortable in my second year,” Hill said. “I think having a year under your belt, a summer to reflect on it, a summer to work on your game and knowing what to expect makes your second year a little easier.

“Really, I think the third year really is the big year, but I think he’ll have a good year this season.”

2010 Preseason Game One Fast Breaks

Arco Arena – You can put lipstick on a pig, but the first sounds still will be ‘Oink, Oink.’ The Kings need a new arena.

Shaquille O’Neal’s longtime personal security man, Jerome Crawford, now works for the Phoenix Suns. Crawford said the Celtics initially agreed to him accompanying the Diesel and then balked. Former Phoenix team security director Kevin Tucker now works with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Former Kings head coach Garry St. Jean scouted the game for the New Jersey Nets.

The first time Cousins touched the ball in the low post, the Suns immediately double-teamed. That was Sacramento’s first possession and should provide an indication of how many teams will attack the Kings defensively.

The Kings no longer will be at a disadvantage when it comes to athleticism and size. This is their most athletic team since Keon Clark, Bobby Jackson and Jimmy Jackson came off their bench.

If it’s possible, Cousins has a power game that also can flow into a finesse game.

Right now, swingman Marcus Landry appears pointed towards not only a battle for a roster spot, but a surprise small forward starter. He’s been more impressive than older brother, Carl.

Power forward-center Jason Thompson had been extremely active during practices and continued that approach in game one. Thompson and Cousins on the floor together showed the promise of a team capable of physically battering opponents.

It’s hard to believe I just typed that about a Kings squad.

There still were too many times the Suns got to the rim with little or no Kings challenge. When shot-blocking center Samuel Dalembert gets healthy, it will be interesting to see if he can close down some of that.

Sacramento’s first-half defensive rotations consistently were too slow.

If Evans is capable of stroking his jump shot as he did Tuesday night, he’s going to become even more lethal offensively. Evans clearly can learn from backup Pooh Jeter about pulling up and taking mid-range jump shots on fast breaks.

When Jeter goes up straight on his jump shot and does not fade away unnecessarily, he shoots extremely well.

Antoine Wright clearly knows how to play and his defensive ability and skill stand out.

Beno Udrih easily can play with either Evans or Jeter. Francisco Garcia did not play in the first preseason game because of personal reasons. However, he appears capable of contributing more at shooting guard than at small forward.


  1. thoughts on DG? I know him and casspi were/are battling for the starting role...could Landry really be a dark horse?

  2. what it is robert... thanks for the hit... Donte has been struggling a little bit.. probably will do something on Friday... I do think Landry has a shot, but it is early... I know westphal likes what he's done so far... It's about consistency for everyone, especially a free agent... But hey, what do I know? Lol... It'll play itself out... thanks again..peace

  3. Here's hoping the Kings don't re-sign the Cat, as I heard Cuttino Mobley was trying to get back into the NBA!

    Great article, and good insight. Should be a nice follow up to last year's exciting season, and interesting to see how Coach Westphal builds this team and where it goes...

  4. Yoh Marty,

    Do you have any type of prediction on how the Kings will do this year? I think they could go and win 40 games.

  5. I'm not Marty Mac or pretend to be. Keep up the excellent work by the way. But 40 wins is a big jump, i think they'll get close. 37-45.

  6. Hmmm, 40 wins are difficult to acquire, especially for a group of guys who have never before done it. The team is trying to learn how to win. That won't come easily. Prediction time comes before the season opener.