Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento Kings
12:30 p.m. PST
FOX Prime Ticket
1. Is this the Darren Collison revenge game or is that not a thing?
Roscoe Whalan, (@RoscoeWhalan7): Only if DeMarcus Cousins denies Collison the chance to shake hands with his former teammates. Look, Collison was great for the Clippers (shout out for that Game 4 Conference Semifinals performance against the Thunder) but both camps have moved on. However, if it is a revenge game, Ryan Hollins wants in on it too.
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): If it is, that probably means 10-plus assists as opposed to 20-plus points considering Rudy Gay just dropped 40 and is licking his chops as he enters LA to play a defense whose wings, as Bart Scott might say, “can’t stop a nose bleed” right now. What are the chances Gay is on the phone with Perry Jones III (AKA Perry Jones XXXII) at this very moment?
Michael Shagrin, (@mshaggy): Not a thing. But if Collison fancies this a revenge game, all the more reason to celebrate for Clipper fans! Keep your fingers crossed that he puts up more than 20 shots.
2. Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported in a recent column that Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé suggested playing defense 4-on-5 with a cherry-picker in the backcourt. Your thoughts?
Whalan: Is that a watered-down version of what the Clippers are trialling this year? You know, when everyone starts leaking out after a missed shot and DJ’s left battling the defensive glass against five opponents?
Katz: Do it, Vivek. Just do it for us. Look, playing 4-on-5 doesn’t make much sense in normal, half-court possessions. NBA players will eat that up. But how about in transition, when the defense is backpedaling, the offense is moving at full speed and the chances of a quick shot increase regardless of whether you have a fifth defender there or not? C’mon, Mike Malone. You got this.
Shagrin: Ranadivé may want to avoid relying on the lessons he learned coaching his daughter’s highly successful National Junior League team. In his short tenure as Kings owner, he’s had lots of ideas, most of them falling in the range of pretty weird to downright outlandish. Remember when he wanted to acquire Josh Smith to lure Rajon Rondo? This cherry-picking business sports similar levels of crazy.
3. Where does DeMarcus Cousins rank among the NBA’s best players?
Whalan: Last season, only five players averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds per game: Kevin Love, Anthony Davis, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins. Nice company. A tendency to foul means Cousins did it in fewer minutes per game. He’s got a new contract and promised a new attitude, if the Kings ever make the playoffs he’d be in the Top 10.
Katz: Somewhere in the top 20, while also holding the title of Most Skilled Center in the Western Conference. We talk about the uniqueness of Blake Griffin all the time, about how Griffin can get a rebound and go coast-to-coast in a way no other power forward can. Well, Cousins—though he doesn’t do it as well or as often as Griffin—has moments where he goes coast-to-coast like no other center. For now, he’s a top-20 player with top-10 talent. Once he puts it all together, which could be this year, he’s going to be horrifyingly good.
Shagrin: DeMarcus Cousins is without question the most skilled pure center in the league. While his touch around the rim is unparalleled among players his size, Boogie’s consistent mental lapses are hard to ignore. But on talent alone, he’s a top-20 player.