13. Sacramento Kings
Let’s start off with the obvious: DeMarcus Cousins is one of the top players at his position in the NBA. Cousins is extremely talented, and at just 26 he likely hasn’t even hit his prime yet.
Sure, Cousins has had his issues with the franchise, which has caused many to assert that the two sides would best be served to part ways via trade. That hasn’t happened yet, and the latest notion from the franchise would suggest that it won’t be happening. The Kings once again changed head coaches, and it’ll be interesting to see how Cousins gels with Dave Joerger after the George Karl fiasco.
Cousins is undoubtedly Sacramento’s best player. But the problem in 2016-17 is still the same problem that has persisted since they drafted Cousins: There isn’t enough talent around him to compete in the West.
Sacramento still has Rudy Gay, and they’ve drafted a few notable pieces recently in Willie Cauley-Stein and Ben McLemore. The Kings also took a couple of interesting prospects in this year’s draft in Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson, but as a whole, Cousins may not have been pleased with the draft.
The reason Sacramento is above the Suns and Lakers is because Sacramento will have nights where Cousins will put the team on his back and carry them to victories. Sacramento’s young talent isn’t as notable as either Los Angeles’ or Phoenix’s, but the fact that the Kings still employ Cousins certainly counts for something.
Next: No. 12