What Willie Cauley-Stein’s Injury Means For The Sacramento Kings


Last night’s score of 114-97 wasn’t the only loss the Kings suffered in Mexico City, as the Kings also had to see their rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein go down with a finger injury late in the fourth quarter.

Once the game concluded, it was confirmed that Cauley-Stein suffered an open dislocated finger on his right hand, and that it will take up to 4-6 weeks before he can come back and play (per Sacramento Bee). Just what the Kings needed. Another loss, another player on the injury report. They just can’t catch a break.

No one is campaigning Cauley-Stein to be this season’s NBA rookie of the year, but the Kings did lose an asset to their ball club. Cauley-Stein has had a solid rookie season so far, averaging 4.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and just over 1 block per game. He also has a PER of 13.70, which is ranked in the top ten out of all rookies.

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Obviously the biggest part of Cauley-Stein’s game that the Kings will miss going forward is his defense. He has done a good job so far in making defensive rotations smoothly (compared to other bigs), thanks to his athleticism and length.

His length has also factored in the paint as well, as Cauley-Stein’s “Redwood” stature has caused opponents to alter shots, or not even attempt them at all, if they do dare to challenge the seven footer.

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This injury is also a big blow because it stalls the development process that Cauley-Stein is currently in. Cauley-Stein is still a project that is getting used to the size, speed, and strength that the NBA presents, and has done a good job so far. But if he is going to be out around 4-6 weeks, that is around 12-20 games he could potentially miss. Valuable games and playing time where Cauley-Stein could of made huge strides going forward will be wasted as he sits back and recovers.

Overall, nothing good came out of this injury to Willie Cauley-Stein, and coach George Karl is going to have to find players that can fill in for him on a consistent basis.

Expect a player like Quincy Acy to be granted more playing time. His effort and energy have been a part of his game that coach Karl has praised in the past, therefore he may reward Acy with this opportunity.

Next: What Went Wrong For The Kings In Mexico City?

Also expect Eric Moreland occasionally to come in and play meaningful minutes as well. Although not ready to be part of the rotation yet (my opinion), this is a good dry-run to see how Moreland’s development has been so far since being picked up back in 2014.