With all the hoopla about the King's new, architecturally splendid arena, it's easy to forget that the team inhabiting that palace is not playing basketball well. Vlade brought in veterans to stabilize the defense and boards, and support Cousins, and, perhaps, keep the lid on the big man's tantrums. It's not happening. I see little in the way of solid man-to-man defense. I see very little in the way of rim protection. Rim protection should be an important responsibility of Center, Demarcus Cousins, but the big man has little talent for it. He doesn't have the instincts of a shot blocker, plus he has no hops. That leaves Koufus, who makes the effort, but has only a little more natural talent for shot blocking than Cousins.
What about the other guys? Gay is not a boarder and only an average defender. So, the front court is susceptible to the drive. What about the back court? Maclemore III has the athleticism and works hard at defense, but loses his way. Mac's natural condition on the court is one of confusion. Poor kid, I look at his baby face and wonder if anybody's home. Ty Lawson has speed, but does he have the will? Collison will be back. He will help with speed and defensive smarts. But he is not strong and can be overpowered by big, fast guards.
I like Temple. In my opinion, he needs to start instead of Maclemore III. Collison and Temple as starters would make a better defensive front than Lawson and Mac. Some would argue that Matt Barnes should be starting instead of Koufus to shore up the D intensity. But Barnes is so edgy, one wonders when the short fuse will burn down before the bomb goes off. I'd still vote for him as a starter with Koufus coming off the bench. Casspi is the type of player whose worth can only be measured if he has substantial minutes. On a Euro League team where he would be a starter, he could be an All Star. Omri doesn't get the minutes in this rotation. Either play him more or trade him. Tolliver won't hurt you. Solid off the bench performer. The rooks. The Greek and the Haitian are really raw, although Labisiere seems to have a nice touch. Maybe, maybe Richardson should get some minutes. Looks to have talent.
A couple of questions. 1) Does Cousins ever "show" or switch on screens? 2) Does anybody sense there is a team defensive effort. ie: players on a string?
Finally, there simply isn't enough athleticism on the Kings for them to compete against the strong NBA teams. So, expect a few more wins than last year, but not many. If that happens, expect Cousins to ask to be traded.
I've always liked this poem written by the Roman poet, Virgil, from his Georgics translated by Smith
Palmer Bovie as it demonstrates the mentality it takes to win.
The Chariot Race by Virgil
Have you not seen them fighting for the lead,
Their chariots plunging when the barrier drops,
The drivers' surging hopes, the pounding fear
That drains exulting hearts? They close in,
Ply the lash, crouch over loosened reins,
The glowing axle spins, the drivers' bodies
Seem now to scrape the ground, and now to soar
Through empty air, wheels rising in the wind;
No hanging back, no rest: a golden cloud
Or sand swirls in their wake, the flecks of foam,
The breath of the pursuers, soak them through;
So great is their love for praise, their will to win.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.