July 19, 2016, 6:51 pm
While this likely isn’t anything to get too worked up about, DeMarcus Cousins, according to various media outlets, voiced his confusion with the direction that the Sacramento Kings took during the draft:
DeMarcus Cousins – Kings getting younger/bigger: ‘Like I said I don’t really understand what’s going on, I just control what I can control.’
— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) July 18, 2016
Again, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this story blow over, but right now this isn’t a great look for DeMarcus or the organization. As most have already seen, Cousins sent out a tweet immediately following their selection that showed some pretty clear disappointment with the pick, although he did later say that the it was unrelated.
Whether you believe that or not, the organization had a clear opportunity to reach out to their star player and explain their direction following the picks. If they are truly trying to build around him, then their picks should be explainable. How do the players fit into the organization’s plans?
No matter what the answer is, the pick only makes sense if the Kings see a way to extract the value from it down the road, and I don’t see any reason to not reassure Cousins afterwords. He has had to deal with far more difficult situations than most young NBA players ever do, so his skepticism shouldn’t be that much of a shock.
Their Kings’ inability to at least appease Cousins to the point where he can offer a generic response when asked about the draft is not a good thing, especially for an organization that should strive for relative anonymity after everything that’s gone on for the last few seasons.
DeMarcus’ stance is a little more concerning. The face of the franchise needs to be supportive of his teammates, and there’s no doubt that young players are the ones in need of the most encouragement. Georgios Papagiannis is an especially good example because he’s just 18 years old, and he’s also living in a completely new country. Cousins was fairly quick to compliment Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere:
Cousins said he was impressed with Malachi Richardson prior to the draft based on workouts in Las Vegas.
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) July 18, 2016
DeMarcus Cousins’ impressions on the Kings’ summer league showing: “Skal was very impressive.”
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) July 18, 2016
Cousins has been fairly quiet about Papagiannis. No matter what he thinks of the picks, he needs to show his support for the players. The three of them will surely be searching for guidance in their first professional seasons, and there’s no better place to get it than one of the top players in the league.
As a young player looking to establish himself, public encouragement would be a huge boost, especially if it’s coming from arguably the best player at your position in the league. Not only that, but his praise directed towards the other two picks, coupled with his public lack of enthusiasm surrounding the draft as a whole, paints a clear picture for Papagiannis about where the problem lies for Cousins.
I’m sure he understands that part of it is the frustration associated with the team picking another player that plays his position, but on another level this could still be difficult to hear. We have no idea how he’s taking the comments, but this just isn’t the best way to start a relationship with a new teammate.
January 17, 2020, 2:50 amD'Angelo RussellPG, Golden State Warriors
D'Angelo Russell scored 19 points on 6-of-18 shooting to go with three boards, nine dimes, three steals and six triples in Thursday's 131-134 loss to the Nuggets.
Russel's shooting was off, but it's a good thing that all six of his made field goals were triples. The game-high nine assists also help boost his line and even though he'll be dinged up here and there, the Warriors don't risk much by playing him so there's not too much to worry about here.
January 17, 2020, 2:49 amWillie Cauley-SteinC, Golden State Warriors
Willie Cauley-Stein logged 33 minutes in a start on Thursday and scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting with six rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.
Cauley-Stein has always had ample opportunity to run away with the job, but he just can't. He's simply not good enough to establish himself as a frontrunner for this spot so it's too hard to trust him on a regular basis. Omari Spellman (17 minutes, three points, one rebound, two assists and a triple) got relegated to the bench, but should be held onto for a few more games to see how things shake out.
January 17, 2020, 2:47 amDamion LeeSG, Golden State Warriors
Damion Lee scored 21 points on 7-of-16 shooting to go with four rebounds, six assists, a steal, a block and three triples on Thursday.
Lee started and logged a team-high 37 minutes on Thursday and should be rostered in all standard leagues. The Warriors like what they see from him and he's proving himself on the court in both reality and fantasy.
January 17, 2020, 2:46 amAlec BurksSG, Golden State Warriors
Alec Burks led the Warriors in scoring on Thursday with 25 points on 6-of-14 shooting to go with four rebounds, one assist, one steal and four triples.
Burks played 32 minutes off the bench as Coach Kerr rode the hot hand. The Warriors took this game into OT, but fell short and Burks continues to provide a strong scoring punch for them. He doesn't do much else, so keep that in mind when looking at him.
January 17, 2020, 2:44 amEric PaschallPF, Golden State Warriors
Eric Paschall logged 20 minutes off the bench on Thursday and scored 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting to go with five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one triple.
Paschall was efficient from the floor and was able to fill up the stat sheet in a limited amount of minutes, but our main concern is the playing time. He just doesn't get enough on a regular basis to warrant standard-league ownership.
January 17, 2020, 2:43 amDraymond GreenPF, Golden State Warriors
Draymond Green scored six points on 2-of-8 shooting with eight rebounds, eight assists, a steal and two blocks on Thursday.
He's never going to score a lot, but the overall line was juicy enough for us to pay attention and it might be enough for owners to sell-high. There are plenty of risks that come with owning Green and if he can keep up this level of play you should definitely ship him off for a more reliable option.
January 17, 2020, 2:41 amNikola JokicC, Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic posted a 23-12-8 line with two blocks in Thursday's 134-131 win over the Warriors.
Jokic went 10-for-20 from the floor and hit all three of his free throws in 44 minutes of action. Now that he has his legs under him, he's been pushing out first-round lines on a nightly basis. The eight turnovers were a bit uncharacteristic, but we'll live with that as long as he keeps bringing the rest.
January 17, 2020, 2:40 amWill BartonSG, Denver Nuggets
Will Barton led the Nuggets in scoring on Thursday with 31 points on 11-of-20 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, a steal, a block and seven triples.
Barton was an inferno from deep, connecting on 7-of-10 from distance and looks to be the biggest beneficiary of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris sitting. He should have been owned and starting in all standard leagues prior to tonight anyways, so expect some increased production in the next few contests.
January 17, 2020, 2:39 amMonte MorrisPG, Denver Nuggets
Monte Morris had a quiet night on Thursday, scoring 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting to go with three rebounds, three assists and a triple.
Morris got the starting nod with Jamal Murray (ankle) sitting and while he didn't put up a spectacular line, he's still worth streaming if Murray misses more time.
January 17, 2020, 2:37 amMason PlumleeC, Denver Nuggets
Mason Plumlee scored 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting with 15 boards, four dimes, one steal and two blocks on Thursday.
Plumlee logged the same amount of minutes (27) as starter Jerami Grant (27 minutes, six points, four boards, two assists and two steals) and outplayed him on both ends of the floor. Grant couldn't capitalize with Paul Milsap sitting and it's unlikely that he'll be the top-100 guy he was in OKC last season anytime soon. He still has potential to reach that point, but it's just not now.