Kings mid-season report card

The NBA’s All-Star Weekend happens in Orlando this week, marking the halfway point of this (abridged) pro-basketball season. And with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, boy, do the Kings need a breather.

It’s been a long time since the Kings sent any players to the All-Star Game—Peja Stojakovic and Brad Miller in 2004, to be exact. Sure, Demarcus Cousins will play this Friday night in the Rising Stars Challenge—the revamped rookies’ game with a new format—but that’s the only Kings action. So to hold you over, here’s a reflection on the Kings’ first half, and a preview of Tuesday’s home game against the Utah Jazz:

Basically the Kings are still in limbo. Not only does Sacramento have a half-thought-out plan to finance and build an arena, the team is also in rebuilding mode—still—and adjusting to interim coach Keith Smart since Paul Westphal’s firing.

But at least now the Kings are playing as a team. Sure, the Kings have the worst record in the Western Conference, save for the New Orleans Hornets—who don’t really count, right? But the wins have all been impressive: Many of them were come-from-behind victories and the Kings also defeated nearly every Western Conference playoff team they have played, including the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder.

It’s also always a plus that no one from the Kings organization has been arrested for a DUI this season (as far as we know). Plus, the team looks pretty snazzy in those new black uniforms.

As the team looks ahead to Tuesday’s home game against the Utah Jazz, the official second-half kickoff, they can at least take comfort in the fact that Cousins is playing some great ball. Despite his disagreements with former coach Paul Westphal early in the season, coach Smart’s laid-back coaching style and free-flowing offense seem be allowing Cousins room to grow. At the time of writing, he’s nabbed the third-most double-doubles in the league this season. And this Tuesday, look for the Kings’ big three—Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton—to all explode for 20 points each in front of a home crowd.

Now, if only we’d signed Jeremy Lin in the offseason …