2011-12 Preview: Pacific Division

Sacramento Kings (2010 record: 24-58)

In the off-season the Kings retained shooting guard Marcus Thornton and signed forward Chuck Hayes. The addition of the defensive-minded Hayes gives the Kings at least one defender in the front court. Jimmermania is the talk of the town in Sacramento. The prolific college scorer was drafted 10th overall by the Kings. In addition to a young nucleus of Evans and Cousins, the Kings hope that Jimmer will be able to score in bunches like he was able to in the NCAA.

Key Players: The hope of the King’s franchise lies on the shoulders of Tyreke Evans. After a successful rookie campaign, his sophomore year was a sour disappointment. He will need to stay healthy and play well in order for the Kings to have any measure of success. Reportedly, big man DeMarcus Cousins showed up to camp sleeker and slimmer. There is no doubt that Cousins has the potential to be a solid power forward. Cousins showed flashes of potential in his rookie year but he also had trouble controlling his temper. He has a chance to be a key contributor if he can keep his attitude in check. Jimmer’s story will be one of boom or bust. No doubt he will have many eyes following him to see if he’ll be as successful in the NBA as he was in college. However the story ends, it’ll sure be an interesting narrative to follow.

Season outlook: Will they contend for a playoff spot? No. But, this young team can definitely improve from last year (they finished last in the division). The development of Evans and Cousins will be key to the King’s rebuilding efforts.

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