Well this certainly throws a wrench into the Kings plans. Dalembert was to be the Kings opening night starter at the five slot, but the Sacramento Bee is reporting that the big man will now miss at least 4-6 weeks with a left groin strain. Assuming Dalembert doesn’t make an extremely quick recovery, it’ll be the first regular season game(s) he’s missed in five seasons.
As far as the rotations, it’s expected that rookie DeMarcus Cousins will take over the starting center duties until Dalembert returns and Jason Thompson will move to the backup position, a role that suites him well.
Last season, as a center, Thompson averaged 35 minutes a game, shot 52% (5.9 of 11.2), grabbed 9.7 boards and put up 13.6 points.
As a power forward, Thompson averaged 32 minutes a game, shot shot 45% (5 of 10.9), grabbed 8.5 rebounds and put up 12.8 points a game.
The critical difference though is the the number of fouls Thompson committed and didn’t commit. In the 35 minutes a game at the center position, Thompson averaged 2.8 personal fouls. At the four slot, Thompson averaged 4.1 – more fouls in less time.
With his improved conditioning and another year under his belt, I’m excited to see what he can do at the center slot. I’ve always felt he’s a better center than power forward – guess we’ll get an opportunity to see that first hand for a bit. And if I’m wrong, well, shit – who am I kidding? I’m never wrong.
Any way you slice it though, losing Dalembert is a big blow to the new and improved Kings defense.
I need a drink already.