According to James Ham of The Purple Pajandrum, Kings coach Paul Westphal plans to start veteran center Samuel Dalembert over rookie DeMarcus Cousins now that Dalembert is healthy:
“I am going to change the line. Hopefully it will be the last time this year. Now that Sammy’s healthy, I think he is the right fit to start with Carl, Beno, Omri and Tyreke. This is something that we always envisioned doing, we just haven’t been able to do it until now.”
“It’s good to have a defensive oriented player in the front court. It’s good to have experience. It’s good to mix up our post threats, meaning that our two best post players are Carl and DeMarcus. When they start together, it’s like- which one do we throw it to. Well, if we can bring DeMarcus off the bench, throw to him when he’s in there and then throw to Carl when he’s in there.”
Cousins, whose reputation as something as a head case followed him from college to the NBA, seems to be taking the news in stride and thinking team-first:
“I thought it was a great idea and I think it will really help the team. I won’t have to start the game off and I’m still learning. Coming in off the bench, I can see how aggressive the game is so I can know how aggressive to be and not be. I’ll get the feel of the game a lot better.”
I think this is a good move for the Kings — it’s important for a player leading a second unit to be able to create scoring opportunities for himself, and that’s an area Cousins excels in and Dalembert most assuredly does not.
Cousins has averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds over his first five NBA games, but has only shot 43% from the field and picked up a foul every five minutes, both of which suggest Cousins is going through some to-be-expected growing pains. Hopefully the move to the bench will take some pressure off the ulta-talented Cousins and give him time to make the necessary adjustments in his game.