Weekend poll: Can the Kings make the playoffs next season?

Leading Off: Can the Kings make playoffs next season?

Published: Saturday, Jul. 13, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 - 7:00 am

Overheard recently at a sports bar in town:

"All these changes the Kings are making … I think they can make the playoffs next season."

"Come on, seriously?"

Well, maybe, but only if …

• DeMarcus Cousins controls his emotions, stops getting tossed out of games and suspended, proves he's one of the best centers in the league by averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, and leads this young team on and off the court.

• The young backcourt of Greivis Vasquez and Ben McLemore jells – with Vasquez getting the ball to Cousins and others and McLemore making outside shots – and backups Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton bring energy off the bench.

• Luc Mbah a Moute is the small forward the Kings hope he can be, providing great defense, some rebounding – and just enough offense to keep opposing defenses honest.

• Some combination of Patrick Patterson, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson gives the Kings a stronger presence at power forward to complement Cousins.

• Coach Michael Malone somehow, some way persuades the Kings to share the ball – remember there's no "I" in team – and play aggressive defense.

That's a lot of ifs, but it beats the pessimism of recent offseasons.

What to watch

NBA, Kings vs. Dallas, 3 p.m., NBA: It's only summer league, but it's the first chance to see draft picks Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum play.

What to do

Tennis, Washington at Capitals, 7:35 p.m., Capitals Stadium: The Kastles' winning streak was stopped at 34 matches on Wednesday by the Texas Wild.

Weekend poll

Can the Kings make the playoffs next season?

• Sure, it's possible.

• No – wake up, folks.

• It's too soon to say.

Vote above or leave your comments in the comments field; or, go to www.sacbee.com/sports

Friday's results

Should Colin Kaepernick have posed for ESPN The Magazine?

• Sure, why not? 31%

• No, it's too much: 17%

• Who cares? 52%

Total votes: 532

Call The Bee's Tom Couzens, (916) 321-1097. Follow him on Twitter @tomcouzens.

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