Talk about a Jekyll and Hyde summer league for the Kings.
After starting out 3-0, the Kings struggled in their final three games going 1-2 (and were seconds from going 0-3). DeMarcus Cousins was a man among boys in the first three games of summer league but it was clear the heavy minutes as well as the odd summer league double/triple teams (wtf?) were starting to take their toll. Cousins, along with most other Kings, struggled in their final three appearances, a total 180 from their first three tilts.
I’m not sure you’d even call the Kings exhibition versus the Dallas Mavericks last night a game – there might have been some guys on the court, but, it certainly wasn’t an inspired effort. Donte Greene and Omri Casspi both sat this one out, but really, so did the rest of the Kings even though they were suited up. The Kings, as a team, shot an impotent 25% for the game. Yes, you read that right. Even more shocking was that they only managed 17 made shots and had 16 turnovers to 5 assists. It was just, well, painful to watch – even for a summer league contest. So painful that I really can’t even write about – since, well, there isn’t anything to tell that I haven’t already.
My overall impressions of the summer league were extremely positive however, despite the free fall in the final few games.
DeMarcus Cousins, while he struggled MIGHTILY in the final three games was uber-impressive in the prior three. It’s clear that he is much more talented than many people thought/expected. His court vision, passing ability, and unique ability to understand the game at the ripe age of 19 years old is downright scary. Many players never have that ability, and those that do usually become regulars at NBA All-Star weekend. Cousins obviously has some conditioning issues, as was to be expected, so that’ll be something the Kings and he need to work on almost exclusively until October. But past that, Cousins was extremely impressive all summer league, even when he shot wasn’t falling.
Omri Casspi and Donte Greene both impressed and disappointed. Neither seemed to take a strangle hold on the starting small forward position, so, we’ll see more battling come training camp. Casspi was focused on improving his all-around game per the wishes of the Kings coaching staff while Donte was Donte, just an improved version. Both started slow but progressed as the summer league came to a close.
Ryan Thompson, Dionte Christmas, and Hassan Whiteside all had impressive summer leagues as well. Whiteside has some serious potential, but, he’s a ways away from being a large minute rotation guy in the NBA. He attempts to block anything within a 10 foot radius which usually leaves his man wide open for a put back, something that wont fly come the regular season. He also has no idea differentiating between a potential block and a potential goal tend – but that will come with time. Overall, he was impressive as was Cousins for their age and experience level. But unlike Cousins, Whiteside has a lot of work to do on the floor before ample time comes his way. As for Thompson and Christmas, they had the two best summer leagues of the un-signed players, in my humble but fucking epic opinion. Both players are worthy of a deep bench role on a variety of NBA teams – I just don’t know if either fit exactly what the Kings need. But considering the lack of talent available on the free agent market, I certainly wouldn’t mind extending training camp invites to both players and possibly contracts after that if they continue to play well.
Overall, the 2010 Vegas summer league was a great peek into the Kings window of the future. I was overly excited with what I saw and can’t wait until training camp.