Opinion: Massive Season Awaits Willie Cauley-Stein

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: Willie Cauley-Stein
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 28: Willie Cauley-Stein /

Willie Cauley-Stein has a massive season awaiting him. He needs to show the world his true potential, and Kings fans cannot wait to see him perform. Let’s find out why!

The 2017-2018 season will have numerous headlines regarding the Sacramento Kings. Whether it involves the veterans coming in, the Ball-Fox rivalry, or anything else, there’s one other massive headline I want everyone to keep their eyes on.

That headline is none other than Willie Cauley-Stein. Believe it or not, facts tell you that “Trill” is the longest tenured King on the roster. It’s true folks, and he was only drafted back in 2015.

Being the sixth overall pick in his draft, Willie has been waiting for his chance to shine. For most of his career, he was just a reserve/role player playing behind star player, DeMarcus Cousins. However, when Cousins was traded and no big man coming over from New Orleans, it was the next man up.

Life After Cousins

Willie was and is that next man, and he’s starting to prove it.

The first game after the Cousins trade, Willie starred against the Nuggets. He finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Although his overall 2016 numbers don’t shine, they don’t show the full story.

His overall 2016 stats were 8.1 points and 4.5 rebounds a game. As Kings fans all know, Willie’s role after the Cousins trade saw a change in numbers. He posted seven double-doubles after the Nuggets game and had 19 games where he scored more than 10 points. Before the trade, he only had nine with way more games during that span.

In a roster primarily filled with rookies and sophomores, Willie will be called upon to perform big, and Kings fans know he can do it. One way is through his freakish athleticism. Want proof? I’m glad you asked:

“IF YOU DON’T LIKE THAT, YOU DON’T LIKE NBA BASKETBALL!” – Grant Napier. The seven-foot center can do it all as a big man, and without Cousins for a full season, he should really thrive.

Willie has shown that he can score around the rim while displaying the ability to hit jumpers outside the paint. A greater role has also seen Willie’s rebounding numbers go up and fans can only hope Willie can start putting up big numbers game in and game out.

Compared to the other big men on the roster, Willie is the main man. Kosta Koufos is mainly a defensive center and Zach Randolph’s contribution prediction is hard to say at this point. As summer league showed, Georgios Papagiannis and Skal Labissiere still need a ton of improvement to their games. Also, Harry Giles isn’t expected to contribute much his rookie season, which is understandable due to his knee injury.

Final Thoughts

The “Trill” is always bringing the thrill, and fans can only hope he delivers on his potential this upcoming season. It’s a massive year for a player that we Kings fan know can show out, but he needs to do it consistently.