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Game of Kings

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By Brandon Niles Sports Writer

The Sacramento Kings are one of the
young and exciting teams in the NBA
right now.

The team has Tyreke Evans, a potent
scorer with the ability to develop
into a star. Paired with Evans in the
backcourt is rookie Jimmer Fredette,
an excellent shooter in his first season
out of BYU.

Additionally, the Kings have De-
Marcus Cousins, an enigmatic yet
tremendously talented force in the
frontcourt. Marcus Thornton, J.J.
Hickson and John Salmons round out
this talented team.

The Kings have been banking on these
young players, under head coach Paul
Westphal, to carry them back to the
playoffs and into basketball relevance.
The Western Conference is experiencing
a power shift as the rosters of the
Lakers, Spurs and Mavericks are aging
rapidly. This shift should provide
an opening for a young team like the
Kings to take the reigns and contend
for the Western Conference title.

Despite this potential, something
seems amiss in Sacramento, as the
Kings look inconsistent so far this season.
The team struggles with typical
problems that come with inexperience
including turnovers, missed assignments
and similar breakdowns. But
they’ve also suffered from tremendous
internal conflict.

Only a few games into the season,
word leaked out that Cousins had
requested to be traded from the
team. There were multiple conflicts
between Cousins and Westphal last
season, as well. Additionally, bench
altercations between Cousins and the
Kentucky coaching staff were common
scenes while he was in college.

These issues contributed to his being
selected fifth in the draft last year,
despite being widely considered a top

After the trade request, Cousins was
forced to sit out a game. Shortly after,
Cousins denied the reports of his
trade request. Days later, with the
team off to a 2–3 start to the season,
the Kings unexpectedly fired coach

Only the Kings’ management knows
for sure if personality issues involving
Cousins led to the firing of Westphal,
but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t the
biggest factor. The Kings are hoping
that Cousins can be a superstar for their

However, I question this course of
action. Everything we’ve seen so far
from Cousins indicates that he lacks
the maturity to step into NBA greatness.
Evans is far from the most reliable
player, and these two fiery talents
are supposed to be the future for the

My solution is to trade them both and
try to get as much in return as possible.
This won’t be a popular opinion, but
you can’t turn a young team driven by
immaturity into a consistent winner.
While these two players will light up
the stat sheets from time to time and
occasionally look brilliant, they will
ultimately hinder the progress of the
franchise and create headaches in the

Players with these types of problems
often thrive in an environment where
they can learn from veteran stars under
the guidance of a well-respected and
long tenured coach. Conversely, they
tend to foster an environment of undisciplined
behavior on and off the court
on teams which ask too much of them
early on. While Evans is not nearly
the head case that Cousins appears to
be, it may be best to move on, before
the Kings are too far into their future.

Otherwise, I fear that the other pieces
they have in place may suffer from
the negative environment brewing in

Brandon Niles has done online freelance
writing about professional sports since
2007. His articles range from NFL news
to team-specific commentary. A Communication
Studies graduate student at the
University of North Carolina Greensboro,
Niles is also an avid Miami Dolphins fan,
which has led to his becoming an avid
Scotch whisky fan over the past decade.

Megan Paulson is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Outlaw Partners.

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