2010-11 record: 39-43
Jerry Sloan… no, wait, Tyrone Corbin
Key Departures: Ronnie Price
Key Additions: Enes Kanter, Alec Burks
Best-Case Scenario: Enes Kanter and Al Jefferson combine like Voltron to be one of the best offensive frontcourts in the league. Devin Harris reminds everybody why they thought the Jason Kidd trade was so stupid when it happened. Andrei Kirilenko and his insane World of Warcraft tattoo returns to the Jazz (an iffy proposition) becomes the player he was when he was putting up 5-by-5s. The Jazz squeak into the playoffs.
More likely scenario: Harris and Kirilenko continue to be relatively underwhelming. Kanter and Jefferson have inefficient offensive seasons, Jefferson continues to be perhaps the worst defensive player in basketball, and Kanter struggles with the athleticism of NBA centers and power forwards as well. The team never really threatens a playoff run.
Prediction: 27-31 wins
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.