DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard lead NBA All-Star snubs
Classic Kings continue to show up during skid
From ESPN.com January 31,
I’ve seen this type of Kings talk too many times on social media
Who cares if Rondo can’t defend the pick-and-roll? He is averaging 11
assists a game!
How dare Bill Simmons bad-mouth the Sacramento Kings! We are a
playoff team this season for certain.
What does it matter if we give up the most points in the paint out of
any NBA team. DeMarcus Cousins is fourth in the league in scoring and
fourth in rebounding!
Oh, the Kings just fell out of the eighth seed and are in the midst
of a four-game losing streak.
Don’t worry, the team is just underperforming. They’ll come around.
Will they, really?
Now nearly 50 games into the season, this is just who the Kings are.
They make the same mistakes, show the same effort, and yet they expect
to change their losing culture.
Sacramento has become painstakingly entitled, for a team with just 20
wins and no validity as a playoff organization in the Western
Conference in the past decade.
After Saturday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento is
now on a four-game losing skid. Falling further behind in the playoff
Last night, the Kings dug themselves into an immediate hole against
Memphis. Falling to a deficit of 22 points in the first half, the
Kings gave up 65 total points to a below average offensive team.
Shooting nearly 10 percent better from both the floor and behind the
arc, the Grizzlies finished with a scorching 53 percent from the field
and 44 percent from three.
“It was a classic case of we showed up too late,” Rudy Gay told the
Associated Press, who led the Kings with 21 points, including 13 in
the fourth quarter. “We showed up to the game at 8:30 (p.m.) instead
of 7 when it started.”
Sacramento was incredibly inefficient with the possessions they did
have. The two stars of the Kings combined for 13 of their 19
turnovers. Rajon Rondo finished with seven turnovers, while Cousins
finished with six turnovers himself.
For the Grizzlies, it was all Jeff Green. Sacramento had no answer for
the undersized forward as Green went on to finish the night with 29
points and three steals. Marc Gasol had a very quiet 22 and Vince
Carter also contributed in his limited minutes off the bench, scoring
The Grizzlies extended their lead to as much as 18 in the third.
Scoring 92 points in 36 minutes, Memphis was five points shy of their
season average with 12 minutes left to play.
Scoring from all areas of the floor, Sacramento played very soft
defense against a much more aggressive team.
Sacramento was able to string together a 13-2 run with eight minutes
left in the fourth through the elevated play of Darren Collison and
Omri Casspi. Collison scored 14 fourth quarter points and Omri had 17
points to go along with seven rebounds.
Sacramento scored 40 points and closed the Grizzlies lead to as little
as two points with three minutes left remaining.
Then Memphis became Memphis and the Kings became the Kings.
The Grizzlies were able to score 16 in the final three minutes and
sealed the game with four late free-throws by Courtney Lee. Finishing
the night with a 121-117 win over Sacramento.
Another disappointing loss for the Kings.
Trying to bounce back from a long week, the Kings take on the Bucks
Monday night at Sleep Train Arena.
The 2015 NBA All-Star Game starters were named a week ago and the
All-Star reserves have been named by the coaches around the league.
Now that we know who has made the All-Star rosters in both
conferences, it’s time to talk about which players were omitted. One
of the toughest parts of getting All-Stars everybody can agree on in
each conference is having enough spots for deserving players.
That’s practically impossible in the loaded Western Conference and
even a bit of a problem with the Eastern Conference this season. Guys
like DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard were surprise omissions in
the West. Kyle Korver and Brandon Knight didn’t make it but could
still find their way in with Dwyane Wade’s injury. In fact, we’ll have
at least two injury replacements with Wade and Kobe Bryant, and maybe
even another one if LaMarcus Aldridge decides to rest that injured
So who were the toughest omissions/snubs in both conferences and
whocould have a great chance at being an injury replacement? Let’s
take a look atthe candidates:
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks: Kyle Korver probably isn’t your
traditional type of All-Star but in an era of basketball in which
we’re getting smarter about the way we judge and dissect players, we
can see just how deserving he is. He’s been arguably the most
impactful player on the Eastern Conference’s best team. Yes, he
doesn’t average that many points, but his shooting threat makes all
defenses terrified to leave him. When they do, he buries them with
historically great shooting. And don’t think of him as just as hooter;
he’s a fantastic team defender on one of the best defenses. He’s the
early favorite to replace Wade.
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks: The Milwaukee Bucks have been one of
the nicer surprises in the Eastern Conference and Brandon Knight has
been the best player on the team all season long. Jason Kidd relies on
Knight to set the tone on offense and he’s been a willing and capable
defender too. With 17.9 points, 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals,
and 43.9 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range,
he’s having a career year across the board. He’s in heavy competition
with Korver for the replacement.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards: The Washington Wizards are one of
the top defensive teams in the NBA and Marcin Gortat is a huge reason
for that.John Wall’s top pick-and-roll partner has been anchoring the
Wizards’ defense all year, helping them be a top 7 defense. Gortat’s
averages of 12.0 points and 8.2 rebounds are lesser numbers for him,
but his impact has been felt throughout the season.
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons: Andre Drummond had a disastrous first
month of the season, but once December hit and especially after Josh
Smith was waived, Drummond came on board to be the monster center we
expected under Stan Van Gundy. He’s one of only a couple players
putting up averages of at least 12 points and 12 boards, and his field
goal percentage is about to eclipse the 50.0 percent mark, despite the
uptick in post possessions. Without that bad November, he might be a
lock to have made the team.
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic: Speaking of giant, double-double
centers, the 19.5 points and 11.2 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic every
night have been stellar for the Magic. He’s still not a great defender
but he’s slowly improving his team defense. Having Aaron Gordon back
in the lineup and the starting duo of Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton
should help that a bit. And he’s their anchor on offense, forcing the
defenses to swarm the post and battle him on the boards. He might be
tough to keep off the team next season.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings: The uproar of DeMarcus Cousinsnot
being on the roster was very loud right after the West reserves were
announced. Cousins could end up being the first player in league
history that isn’t named to the All-Star team with averages of about
24 points and 12 rebounds. Cousins’ team isn’t bad because he can’t
lead them. They’re bad because he got sick, the coach was fired during
that window of opportunity, and Tyrone Corbin hasn’t been able to
bring things together. Cousins is one of a handful of deserving guys
in the West, squeezed out because of limited spots. He’ll be in heavy
consideration for replacement spots.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard will also be in
heavy consideration as Kobe’s replacement when Adam Silver makes that
decision.Lillard has helped the Blazers get to one of the best records
in the NBA, and his exclusion from the first run of reserves before
replacements were announced was surprising. He has the highest scoring
average (21.8), rebounding average(4.6), steals average (1.3), and
field goal percentage (43.2 percent) of his career. He’s also one of
the best clutch scorers in the NBA.
Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies: Mike Conley has been one of the best
point guards in the NBA on one of the best teams in the first half of
the season, but the Western Conference is so loaded that I’m not even
sure how you argue he should be in over any of the reserves selected.
That’s not a knock on him either. It’s just that loaded. For Conley,
he’s one of the league’s best defensive point guards and he puts up
17.4 points, 5.6 assists, and shoots over 40.0 percent from 3-point
range.He really doesn’t have aweakness on the floor and plays
perfectly off of Marc Gasol at the end of games.
Monta Ellis, Dallas Mavericks: Monta Ellis have it all, but he didn’t
have it All-Star this season.He’s been a revelation since joining the
Dallas Mavericks last season. This season, he’s putting up 20.5 points
and 4.4 assists, while posing as the top playmaking option at the end
of games for the Mavericks. Prior tothe Rajon Rondo trade, Ellis
helped the Mavericks put up the league’s bestoffense.He’s hard to call
a snub,but it’s hard to say he hasn’t had an All-Star caliber season.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors: The Atlanta Hawks got three
All-Stars, so why don’t the Golden State Warriors have three
All-Stars? Well, they play in the crazily packed West, so that cuts
down on chances to make the All-Star team. Draymond Green has been
their third best player and one of the league’stop defenders. His
averages of 11.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6steals, and 1.4
blocks show his versatility. His 3-point shooting has dipped below
league average but he’s still a very real threat you have to close out
on. He wasn’t robbed but he was pretty deserving.