DeMarcus Cousins can sum up his feelings about the Kings’ offense in nine words: “I love it. I love it. I love it.”
New coach Dave Joerger plans to use Cousins in the high post more, allowing the two-time All-Star center to be more of a facilitator while continuing to be a scoring threat.
Joerger wants the Kings to avoid bad habits, such as players staring at Cousins and not moving when he has the ball. So expect a lot of movement around Cousins when he is in the high post.
The Kings will unveil their offense in Tuesday night’s preseason opener against the Los Angeles Lakers in Anaheim.
Though Cousins said he isn’t too concerned with result because the Kings still are figuring out how to play together, he likes the possibilities in Joerger’s attack.
“A lot of learning,” Cousins said after Monday’s practice. “It’s a new system, of course, a lot of options, man. The offense is different. I think it’s a good look for our team. I think this will help this team get to the next level. So it’s about us getting the system down pat and getting these options, a lot of options.”
Last season, Cousins averaged 3.3 assists, just below his career-high 3.6 in 2014-15. He also averaged a career-high 20.5 field-goal attempts per game, including 3.2 three-pointers.
Cousins’ assists could increase as his shots decrease because the team isn’t playing as fast as it did under George Karl. Cousins loves Joerger’s strategy, but it hasn’t been an easy adjustment.
The offense is different. I think it’s a good look for our team. I think this will help this team get to the next level.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings center
“It’s been tough, honestly,” Cousins said. “To shake off the way we used to play, to a … more traditional way, it’s been tough, but I think guys have been great about it. We’re working hard. We’re taking in as much information as we can in a short period of time. I think we’re growing at a fast pace – still got a lot of growing to do.”
Much of that growth must come on defense. Joerger has emphasized defense, admitting his players probably need a mental break before absorbing more details.
“The offense that we’re putting in, it would not be such a big deal, but it’s doubly hard because of all the defense that we’re doing,” Joerger said.
Cousins isn’t complaining about the workload.
“It’s good,” he said. “You can tell it’s starting to become a natural thing for this team, and that’s what we need.”
Focusing on themselves – Joerger said Tuesday’s game is “a great opportunity” to see the Kings in a game situation, but they are focused on executing what they’ve learned.
Joerger said he is uncertain how his lineups and rotations will unfold. But he added no one will play in the 30-minute range and he wants to get everyone into the game.
The offense that we’re putting in, it would not be such a big deal, but it’s doubly hard because of all the defense that we’re doing.
Dave Joerger, Kings coach
“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet,” Joerger said about the lineups. “That’s a good question. Which groups play with who? I don’t really worry about who starts and what message you’re sending and all that stuff.”
Barnes ailing – Joerger said forward Matt Barnes “dinged” his knee in practice last week, which is why he sat out Saturday’s scrimmage during Fan Fest. Other than Barnes, the Kings are healthy.
Joerger said Barnes has a good grasp of the coach’s concepts after playing for Joerger with the Memphis Grizzlies last season, so he’ll pick and choose when to rest Barnes, the team’s oldest player at 36.