Shane Battier, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes — no report yet on whether Danny Ainge has called to coax Yao Ming, Dikembe Mutombo and Steve Francis out of retirement to officially revive the 2007-08 Houston Rockets.
Posts tagged: Carl Landry
The season is approaching (but not quickly enough), so that means it’s NBA preview time. Starting with the league’s worst team and working our way to the top, we’ll preview one team per day.
Last year’s record: 25-57
Head Coach: Paul Westphal
Projected Starters: Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi, Carl Landry/Jason Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins
I had a spirited debate with one of my friends the other day, and oddly enough it was actually about the Sacramento Kings. He said their future was bleak; the Western Conference is too loaded with talented young teams (he listed the Thunder, Blazers and Grizzlies). I said their future was bright; Tyreke Evans screams “superstar in the making” and DeMarcus Cousins could (could, with a few question marks attached) become the NBA’s biggest low-post threat. If you fast forward a few years, let those two mature and surround them with skilled role players, the Kings should be a contender. But for now? They’re still going to lose a whole lot of games. (Note: Back to my conversation, the Grizzlies??? If Rudy Gay’s your best player, you’re not going to win anything meanwhile.)
Tyreke Evans’s improvement. Question: What if Evans makes the leap sooner than we all expect and becomes a 25 and 7 guy next year? Answer: Then the Kings might win 30 games. They will go as far as Evans takes them, but his supporting cast needs work. And lots of it.
By the way, about Evans? Some players have an All-Star ceiling. Evans’s is even higher.
Biggest Question Mark:
DeMarcus Cousins. Really, was there any other choice? When Fran Fraschilla says a player ”is either going to get a general manager fired or get him executive of the year,” naming him his team’s biggest question mark is pretty much automatic. I think it’s an unwritten rule that you can’t read or write about Cousins without mentioning attitude problems.
At Kentucky, he once sat out a mandatory conditioning test. He registered 16.4% body fat at the NBA Draft combine. (For comparison’s sake, only six other players at the combine had a body fat percentage in double figures.) After Cousins worked out for one team, its GM told Sports Illustrated that Cousins “looked like he didn’t even want to be on the court when he went through drills.” Teammate Daniel Orton said Cousins is “unpredictable,” and that watching him get out of hand is “kind of like watching a kid throw a temper tantrum.”
And still, Cousins could be Rookie of the Year. The power of natural talent.
Most important newcomer:
Antoine Wright. He gives them a smooth hand off the bench, someone who can score buckets at will and hound the opponent’s best player.
Just kidding, guys. It’s Cousins. You sick of hearing about him yet? Good, because I’m sick of writing about him. Instead, I’ll leave you with this:
Umm, Spencer Hawes? Needless to say, the Kings won’t shed any tears over the players they lost.
Most compelling storyline:
With mounds of cap space and two young studs, the Kings finally have a future worth discussing. But how long will it take that future to become the present?
Player to watch:
Omri Casspi. Watching him last year, I fell head over heels. For those of you who haven’t seen Caspi play basketball (which means anyone who isn’t addicted enough to buy League Pass), he’s all hustle, heart and attitude, a player teams can win with. He’s also part of one of the corniest announcing calls ever. Casspi hit a bank shot and the Kings announcer shouted in joy, “Casspi off the glass-pi!” He’s a poet and he doesn’t even make sense.
Descriptive movie quote:
“Ooh that boy’s a fine piece of work all right. He’s a fine piece of ass though, too. “ – Juanita, Billy Madison
To DeMarcus Cousins. He still needs a lot of work, but Cousins is — for lack of a better description – one fine piece of ass.
Projected Record – 24-58. The future will come, but not yet.
Brian Scalabrine checked in, and his substitution was supposed to signal the end of the game. The proverbial white flag, Scal represented. But the Sacramento Kings had other plans, though they would still succumb to a better Boston Celtics team, 94-86. The Celtics saw their 20-point halftime lead dwindled to six with three minutes left, but held on for the victory.
Despite the Kings’ comeback, accomplished largely against a Celtics 12th-man unit including both Brian Scalabrine and Shelden Williams, the C’s again took care of business at home. Rajon Rondo, though he scored only six points on 3-10 shooting, was a maestro for the Celtics all night long. His play was a beautiful symphony of drives and dishes, and he broke the immortal Rick Fox’s single-season Celtics steal record on the night. Besides breaking the steals record, he established a personal career high with 18 assists, and inched ever closer to Bob Cousy’s Celtics record for single-season assists.
Kevin Garnett also played one of his better games this season, finishing with 18 points and 13 rebounds. The 13 rebounds represented a season high for the Celtics power forward, as he continues to look more healthy by the night.
One of the more interesting aspects of tonight’s game was that Doc Rivers chose to play Tony Allen with the second unit. Marquis Daniels, after weeks of disappearing acts and inconsistent play, was relegated to garbage time, finally being inserted to the game when Doc Rivers waved the white flag and put Shelden and Scal in the game. For Daniels, it was either a wakeup call or a sign of what the rest of the season will entail. Allen performed well in Daniels’ place, putting in six points and four rebounds during his 11 minutes, while staying away from the turnover column.
Besides Allen’s hostile takeover of Daniels’ minutes, the second unit also saw another change: Nate Robinson went down with what was called a sprained ankle. Nate played only seven minutes before injuring himself, leaving the Celtics with a hole off the bench.
- Paul Pierce wasn’t vintage Truth tonight, but still ended with 22 points and 12 trips to the line. He continues to look spryer than he has all season long.
- Carl Landry — brother of Celtic Marcus, who has been assigned to the Maine Red Claws — destroyed the C’s, with 30 points and 8 boards.
- Ray Allen scored 20 points for the C’s, making 3-7 three-pointers.
- Shelden Williams played 23 minutes, and wasn’t great but didn’t make a fool of himself either. He continues to show he can be a solid presence if needed.
- Scal was active because Kendrick Perkins was inactive for the night, down with a sore left knee. For Scal, every time he gets in a game nowadays could be the last time he plays a game in a Celtics uniform.
Let me give it to you straight. I wouldn’t want to sugarcoat anything.
Tonight’s matchup with the Sacramento Kings is a game the Boston Celtics should win.
Unless you happen to fear midgetized power forwards who can score, score, and score some more, Tyreke Evans is the only King who strikes any semblance of fear in your heart… and he’ll miss the game due to a concussion.
The Kings also start a 7-footer at center, one with legitimate skill and post touch. The problem is, he’s softer than silly putty and his best highlight so far this year is a pre-game chest bump with his coach. Never a good thing, when aspiring to win basketball games.
But fear not, Kings fans, your team has a talented, 6’7″ guard to pick up the slack. Of course, a physio-ball got the best of him before the season, and he hardly fares better against the NBA than he did against that blasted workout ball.
Don’t worry though, Sacto, the Kings also have a Slovenian point guard averaging 19 points and 11 assists over his last three games. The stuff of legends. You know, if legends were as good at defense as a stick of celery and as overpaid as Antoine Walker’s financial consultant.
Still, everything’s okay in Sacramento. The Kings still have that Jewish guy who participated in the H.O.R.S.E. contest. Of course, he was put to shame by Kevin Durant and Rajon Rondo in that competition and has been even more humbled during his last four games. Over that time, he has scored nine more points in the NBA than his rabbi.
No need to frown though, Sactown. The Kings have a tough, veteran small forward known for his shooting prowess and gritty play. Then again, he’s older than most of his teammates and doesn’t seem to fit into his organization’s plans. Actually, come to think of it, he just asked to be traded.
There is a silver lining, though. The Kings just lost to the Nets during their last game. As Celtics fans, we all know how humiliating that is. But why is such public embarrassment a light at the end of the tunnel?
Because, for the Sacramento Kings, there’s nowhere to go but up.
The game is at 7:30 p.m. EST. Enjoy.