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16 Bold Predictions For 2016

(photo courtesy of Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

(photo courtesy of Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

A new year is upon us and there will be many great sports events that will happen. Some will be expected like the Super Bowl, college football championship game and the college basketball national championship game. But there are also things that happen that catch us all off guard. It’s easy to predict things that will happen, but it is not as easy to predict the unpredictable events that can happen. But with that being said, let me take my shot at it. Without further ado, here are my 16 predictions for 2016

  1. The Alabama Crimson Tide will win the National title

Clemson is a worthy opponent for Alabama in the National Title game. They are solid in each facet of the game and can make some explosive plays. But versus Alabama, the game will be won or lost in the trenches. Alabama is a physical football team and they have dominated teams up front for majority of the season. Clemson is a physical bunch as well and they will not wilt when facing the Crimson Tide. But eventually the physical play and the explosiveness of the Alabama front seven will get to the Tigers.

  1. The Golden State Warriors will not win the NBA title this season

The Warriors are again having a great season. And of course they will be a factor in the West this year. But let’s not forget that there are some other teams that can get it going and potentially knock them off. Teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs are talented enough to give the Warriors fits. And this season, one of those teams jumps up and gets the job done, ending the Warriors’ season prematurely.

  1. Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke will not make the NCAA Final Four this year

All three teams are very deep and talented. But in this year’s college basketball, each team has some flaws going with them. Of course North Carolina is the most talented of them all and they are shooting the basketball well this year. But eventually the shooting will fall back to earth and they will have to win a game with defense. That will be where they fall. As far as Kentucky, they have been pushed around more in the post than usual. And even though they are talented, that shortcoming will leave them hamstrung in March. And as far as Duke, they may have their tough guy, forward Amile Jefferson, back before the season is over. But they still don’t have enough scoring from inside that will scare someone. And that will be something that eventually catches up to them.

  1. The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series

This past year, the Cubs went further than anyone thought they would. And heading into this season, the expectations are they will go even further. Some may wilt under those type of goals, but this team may just thrive under them. And with the additions they have made this offseason, the Cubs will finally make it back to the World Series and will win one, breaking the supposed curse that was placed upon them.

  1. The Carolina Panthers will win the Super Bowl

Quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers are sitting on top of the football world right now, sporting the best record in the NFL at 14-1. But that is not the ultimate goal for them. The thing that they are striving to get is the Lombardi Trophy. And for the Panthers, plenty keep speaking on all the reasons this team cannot win the Lombardi Trophy. Well, Cam and the boys have been listening and they will use that as extra motivation to go to the first Super Bowl for Carolina since 2003. And instead of coming up short like they did against the Patriots the last time they were there, the Panthers will seize the day and win their first Lombardi Trophy.

  1. Steph Curry will win another MVP

Curry was in another world last year. He averaged 24 points per game and eight assists last season while locking up the MVP trophy. And just when it was thought he could not get any better, he shows up this season and is putting up better shooting, scoring and rebounding numbers across the board. He has gone from another world to another stratosphere and there is no doubting that he is the best player in the NBA right now. And with the record the Warriors are currently sporting, he will be the MVP again. As much as some want to give this award to LeBron, it just will not happen again.

  1. The Philadelphia 76ers will swing and miss in the Ben Simmons sweepstakes

The talk around Philly is they are in tank mode once again. And the object of their affection this year seems to be LSU forward Ben Simmons. The Australian forward can do everything on the floor and that combination of size and skill has every NFL scout hoping Christmas comes in June for them. It would seem the perfect storm would have Philly getting the first overall pick this year in the draft. But unfortunately, it will not be for them this year either. The 76ers will get the second or third pick, not the first. And with that, they can kiss goodbye to Ben Simmons ever wearing a Philadelphia uniform.

  1. The Jacksonville Jaguars will make the playoffs next season

Head coach Gus Bradley is building something in Jacksonville. He has a quarterback in place in Blake Bortles, a reliable tight end in Julius Thomas, two young receivers that are making it happen in Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson and running back TJ Yeldon. Defensively, the Jags have taken a step forward this year and will more than likely add a pass rusher next season. That combination of things along with the state of the AFC South could have them either winning the division or making the playoffs as a wildcard.

  1. The Oakland Raiders will make the playoffs next season

The team showed growth this season. Derek Carr showed even more improvement this season. And with the weapons he has offensively, the offense should do nothing but get better next season. And defensively, they have a standout player in Khalil Mack. If they are able to add more defensive backfield help, this team will definitely be ready to make the playoffs next year. The Silver and Black will be back next year.

  1. DeMarcus Cousins will not be a member of the Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus is a very talented player. Unfortunately, he has not been able to wrangle his temper on the court. And with the surroundings in the city of Sacramento, it may not be the place for him to have success and mature as a player. So with that being said, Cousins will be out of Sacramento this offseason. Boston would be one place that has assets to trade for him. But there will be plenty that will be vying for his services. Only time will tell, but he will be playing in another city come next basketball season.

  1. Kevin Durant will re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder

Much has been said of where Durant will land next year. There have been rumors floated out there of him landing in everywhere from Golden State to Washington next year. But in the end, the prevailing thought is he will end up staying in Oklahoma City. The chemistry he and Westbrook have is something that he will not find anywhere else. And if they can get some consistent scoring from a third option, then this team will be able to make that magical run like they did when they met LeBron’s Miami team in the NBA Finals.

  1. Peyton Manning will not retire.

It was looking like he would be done at the end of the season last year. But instead of doing so, he decided to come back this season. Needless to say, this has not been the most memorable of seasons for him as a starter this year. And despite the thoughts that he will be retiring at the end of the season (and by looking at him right now, he should), he will more than likely try to play yet another season in the NFL. The question now is where he will play because it surely won’t be in Denver next year.

  1. Hue Jackson and Teryl Austin will get head coaching jobs this offseason in the NFL

Both have been excellent coordinators and Jackson never really got a shot when he was in Oakland. Jackson has been very solid as the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati and Austin has been excellent as the defensive coordinator in Detroit. Both are definitely qualified and you are hearing their names mentioned over and over again in coaching searches. It will only be a matter of time before both become head coaches. And this offseason is the perfect time for both to become head coaches in the NFL.

  1. Luke Walton will be named the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers

Unexpectedly, Luke Walton has been the interim head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Some may have expected the Warriors to not do so well without their leader, but Walton has led the team very well in his absence. And he has done so well that he will garner some head coaching looks around the NBA. One place that will be looking for a head coach soon will be the Los Angeles Lakers. With his experience with the organization as a player and his familiarity with the team, he would be a perfect fit for them and their young team.

  1. The Kansas City Royals will not make the playoffs this upcoming season

I know this is something that Kansas City fans will not want to hear, but it could definitely happen. The Royals just won the title, so there is always that moment of relaxation knowing you have achieved your goal. And the Royals will be fighting that all season long as they try to repeat as champions. Unfortunately, they will not be able to overcome that as they miss the playoffs this upcoming season.

  1. Fans will continue to show no chill on social media

As time has gone on, keyboard courage has grown more and more amongst fans of sports. You can see on social media all the people that continue to call people out knowing they will never meet them in real life. Unfortunately, this is not going anywhere and there will be more of it to come. A thing I have proposed is that things would change if people had to attach their employer to the things that they say. I bet the fear of losing their job would change the things that people say.

The new year brings some new things and also some new happenings as well. It will be interesting to see if these sixteen things happen or if these thoughts going flying in the wind.

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The Best And Worst Fits For LaMarcus Aldridge’s Services

It's decision time for LaMarcus Aldridge. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Stewart/US PRESSWIRE)

It’s decision time for LaMarcus Aldridge. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Stewart/US PRESSWIRE)

There are many free agents out there that have some decisions to make. Some, like Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, are only taking meetings with the team he has played for in the NBA and no one else. While others have decided to open up the field and take meetings from everyone. There are some enticing names out there, but one that rings a bell for many is Portland Trailblazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Last offseason, the Portland Trailblazers tried to lock up the talented forward to an extension. And although it was believed by many that he would stay there and sign a more lucrative extension with Portland this offseason, there was some speculation as to him potentially leaving Portland this summer. This belief came to fruition a little bit more when Aldridge opened up his recruitment this summer as of the last few weeks. There are as many as seven teams that are reportedly interested in him and want to add him to their rosters. Aldridge, although he has not really won a lot in the playoffs, is a big man that many consider dominant and that can change a team’s fortunes just with a signature. And expectedly, he is the most coveted free agent out there (subtracting LeBron James from this one because we know he isn’t leaving Cleveland again). But where would be the best fit for him?

The list of teams interested in Aldridge are the New York Knicks, the Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, the Houston Rockets, the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns. Looking that list of teams, there are a couple that stand out in regards to his talents. If you have taken a look at Aldridge’s game, it is very versatile in terms of his range. The 6’11” power forward can post very well when he wants to. He can face you up and take the jump shot as well as drive the middle of the lane or the baseline to attack the rim. But what makes Aldridge even more special is his ability to stretch the defense for a man his size. He can shoot all the way out to the three-point line and he can also be a good pick-and-pop big with as well as he shoots the jumper. At times he can get too comfortable shooting the jump shot, but he is effective with it nonetheless. The team that would obviously benefit from having him the most is the San Antonio Spurs. Tim Duncan is not getting any younger and with Kawhi Leonard getting ready to accept a big extension from the Spurs, San Antonio needs another piece to go along with him. By adding Aldridge, that helps stabilize the team down low once Duncan decides to hang it up. In essence, you would be replacing Duncan with a player that is very similar to him but more athletic. Add him to what they have coming back next year reportedly (Duncan and Manu Ginobli are reportedly coming back on cheaper salaries to help the team) and this team could be hoisting the trophy again in 2016 with Aldridge. And the good thing about the Spurs is that they can pay Aldridge as much as they want due to the sacrifices of Duncan and Ginobli. At this point in their careers, they know they are playing more for rings than salaries. And for Duncan, that can help them potentially get one more before riding off into the sunset. For Aldridge, it would help him add a crowning achievement to his career and also help the Spurs bridge the gap successfully into the next era of San Antonio basketball. Imagine the motion offense they run with Aldridge and Kawhi being the main options. But for the here and now, Aldridge and Duncan would remind many of the original Twin Towers that San Antonio had when they won it the first time with a young Tim Duncan and a veteran David Robinson. Amazing how things can change over time as Duncan would be the veteran in this scenario.

The Spurs would be an excellent fit for Aldridge and he could very well land there. But like there is a best fit for Aldridge, there is one fit that would be the worst for him. The Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are clamoring for the services of Aldridge. Both are looking at him as the missing piece to what they want to accomplish. But in reality, both teams are a tie for the worst fit for his services. In Dallas, the team there is a jump-shooting team for the most part. And even though Aldridge can shoot the jump shot, he would basically be asked to be the post presence for that team. That is fine and dandy on the offensive end of the court, but on the defensive end that would be trouble. Imagine Aldridge having to be the rim protector for the Mavericks. Even though Chandler is older, he is still far and away a better rim protector than Aldridge will ever be. The only way the addition of Aldridge could work is if the Mavericks can send Dirk to the bench and allow Aldridge to start with a guy like Chandler as the center alongside him. But the reality of that happening is slim to none and even if it did, the Mavericks still would not have enough in the West to win a title. As far as Houston, they seemed to be run by James Harden. And that can be a good thing and a bad thing. Harden is a playmaker on the offensive end of the court and a lot of the offense runs through his hands. But Harden has said that he would like for Houston to bring another playmaker in besides him next season. Looking at the Houston Rockets as they are (when healthy), there are devoid of another playmaker and need one sorely to take the load off Harden a little bit more. In the draft, they had the opportunity to add a playmaker and chose to add Sam Dekker instead. So with the addition of Aldridge, that would not address the need they had. Dwight Howard occupies the post and that would take away from the touches Aldridge would have in there. And as far as him pairing with Harden, he would become exclusively a pick-and-pop guy, and that would not be what the Rockets needed. Ironically, Josh Smith actually fits this team better than Aldridge because he has the ability to be a playmaker, although he is inconsistent at times. Aldridge going there would not make this team any more dangerous unless they got rid of Dwight Howard or he found a jumpshot, two things that are not likely to happen anytime soon.

Of course there are four other teams that fit in this scenario and the Lakers are reportedly the leading candidate for his services. The fit there would be nice, but with the fluidity of the situation there in regards to the potential trade for Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, there is no telling what kind of team will be there. If they get Cousins, the team would be tough provided Kobe can stay healthy this season. If they don’t trade for Cousins, then he could potentially have to play center and that would not be a good thing defensively at all. In the end, Aldridge will get paid one way or the other. The decision is his ultimately, but if he is seriously thinking about getting a ring along with getting paid, San Antonio is the spot where he needs to go. They have the best coach, system and scenario for him to succeed immediately.

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The Power Struggle Between George Karl, Vlade Divac And DeMarcus Cousins

Vlade Divac is in a tough position just three months into his job with the Sacramento Kings (Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

Vlade Divac is in a tough position just three months into his job with the Sacramento Kings (Photo Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports)

When the Sacramento Kings hired George Karl, the prevailing thought is that they would get better with him. The veteran head coach had one of the most talented big men in basketball in DeMarcus Cousins and a roster that had some young players that could fit his style. It was not going to be an easy transition with Karl, as many saw and assumed when he took over. But given time, it was thought that Karl could take this roster and with a few changes make them competitive in the West. They started off slow under his tutelage, going 11-19 in 30 games after the All-Star break. But heading into this offseason it was expected that he would be building this team up so they could be even better this offseason. Unfortunately, news has come out that he is trying to break this team down. Recently, it was reported that the Kings were shopping their best player, center DeMarcus Cousins. And many reports have the brainchild of this move to get rid of Cousins being Karl. Crazy as it sounds, he has been going around trying to recruit different members of the Kings front office to unite with him to ship the young and talented center elsewhere. The most recent rumor has the Kings trading Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-way deal that also involves the Orlando Magic. Even though details are sketchy at this time, it is believed that Magic center Nikola Vucevic may be the big guy coming back to Sacramento to replace Cousins while Orlando would obtain the 2nd overall pick. This deal would be something that would bolster the Lakers while giving the Kings a center that is talented but not on par with the talented Cousins. Karl would be ecstatic to get rid of Cousins and Cousins is apparently done with Karl due to him not being able to trust him. Reportedly Cousins has had teammates tell him of Karl’s desire to get rid of him. Karl is a great coach, but underneath that, he is exposing another side of himself.

Karl has always been known as a coach with a solid reputation amongst players to those that have observed him around the league. But apparently, there is more than meets the eye with him. There have been a few players that he has had run-ins with that were not directly spoken upon apparently. In case you have not noticed, Karl has been painted as a snake in the grass by a few players over his coaching career. Players for him or recently traded by him to another team have said they needed to cut their grass during their careers. For those that don’t know, when someone says they need to cut their grass, it does not necessarily mean they need to do that literally. It means that they want to expose the snakes that are out there and they need to move a few things out of their way to make them visible. While players like Andre Iguodala and Carmelo Anthony have come out and said his name, they have alluded to Karl by if you put two and two together. And DeMarcus Cousins is the latest to join in with that phrase. If anyone knows Cousins, he is big on trust. He trusted his coach at the beginning of the 2014-2015 season, Mike Malone. Cousins was playing good and was also being more disciplined on the court. But when Malone was fired, the unraveling began. It was almost as if the Kings ownership sabotaged themselves. And in doing so, they ruined any chance of success that team had last season. The funny thing is Malone got fired when Cousins was injured. It would have been understandable if they were doing horrible with Cousins on the floor, but that was not the case. Cousins lost control as the season went on and reverted back to his old behavior. And with that, Karl is now back to his snaky ways going behind Cousin’s back trying to get the Kings to trade him. But trading Cousins will not be as easy as Karl may think.

In the Kings front office, they want to build around Cousins. They see the enormous talent and potential that he possesses and feel that a team with the right pieces around him can bring success to the Kings. The main person that has been steadfast in wanting to keep Cousins is Sacramento Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac. The veteran who once played for the Kings has stepped into the organization and is essentially one of the loudest voices heard in the organization. Many times he has been asked about the availability of Demarcus Cousins and he has repeatedly said that Cousins is going nowhere. Divac is bent on keeping him in Sacramento no matter what they may be getting offered. But the thing that has to be bothersome is his head coach wanting to trade his best player. Karl has probably been in Divac’s ear since the end of the season if not sooner. And over this time, it seems as if Divac’s answer has not changed one bit. The question remains with Divac and Karl as to how their relationship goes in conjunction with Cousins. Both Divac and Karl have been around the NBA a long time. But Divac does have one thing over Karl: he was a player in the NBA. And in this instance, it pays off because he can call on former players that he played with or against and ask him about the reputation of Karl and what all is going on. Some of those calls could be to guys like Gary Payton, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell. Many forget that Divac was not really around when Karl was hired. In fact, he was hired to his position almost one month after Karl was hired by the team. Essentially, they were guys that had not worked together and the owner paired them in Sacramento despite not knowing how they would get along. And in this instance, the owner helped create some friction amongst the organization. Divac and Karl’s relationship will probably be revealed even more as this goes on. But from the outside looking in, it looks like both management and ownership are on different pages. And for a team building, that isn’t a good thing.

The temperature is starting to rise in Sacramento between Divac and Karl. They brought Karl in to be the coach and Divac to be a main player in the front office and both share different thoughts on a team apparently. In the end, Divac has been put in a tough position not even three months into his job. He has to choose between his best player in Cousins and his recently-hired coach that he inherited when he took the job. Essentially this is a three-ring circus that is close to spinning out of control. And the onus goes to the owner who helped create it. It remains to be seen who will win this power play, but it seems like Karl is fighting an uphill battle. Management wants Cousins there and Cousins does not trust Karl anymore after this fiasco. One will have to go and will have to leave soon. But will the Kings get a deal they cannot refuse or will they side with Cousins. That will be the question that will have to be answered very soon because this is getting out of hand in Sacramento.

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Rajon Rondo, Shaq and words and actions that could lead Rondo to Sacramento

Unfortunately, the marriage between Rondo and Dallas was a short and painful one for Dallas. (photo courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com)

Unfortunately, the marriage between Rondo and Dallas was a short and painful one for Dallas. (photo courtesy of http://www.washingtonpost.com)

When the Dallas Mavericks traded for the services of point guard Rajon Rondo from the Celtics, many thought they were adding a piece that would make them a big contender in the NBA’s Western Conference. The skills he displayed over his career along with the skill of players like forward Dirk Nowitzki and guard Monta Ellis had some fans salivating over what they could be. Well, what some thought they could be and what they actually are did not end up being the same thing. Instead of being an additional piece on a contender, Rondo seemed to be a round peg in a square hole in Dallas. It seemed like he was just missing something there and the relationship between Rondo and the head coach, Rick Carlisle, never seemed to get on the right track. Well, that situation seemed to reach a head Tuesday night when the Mavericks were playing the Rockets in Houston in a crucial Game 2 showdown. You would think that Rondo would be up for the game and the challenge of leading his team to victory. But instead of a prepared and ready Rondo, the Mavericks point guard looked uninterested in the game and very spaced out. Viewing the game, it just seemed like something was off about him at that time. And as viewers were noticing that something was off, the coach of the Mavericks did too. When Rondo picked up his fourth foul in the third quarter, Carlisle took him out of the game in favor of guard JJ Barea. Some thought he may just be taking him out due to foul trouble, but it was more than that as Rondo never saw the court the rest of the game. And the drama did not stop there with Rondo. Usually after the game, reporters meet with players and do interviews. Rondo promptly got dressed and walked out of the locker room without speaking to them. Some wondered what the next step for Rondo and the Mavericks would be. Would they play him the next game or would they sit him and go along without him? After all, some essentially believed that he quit on his team. Well, the Mavericks released a statement today and said that Rondo had a back injury in Game 2 and he will be out for the rest of the series. Asked about Rondo and if he would make an appearance in a Mavericks uniform again today, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was straight to the point and said “No, I do not.”

Essentially the Mavericks went for it all by acquiring Rondo and it did not pan out. And they essentially gave up their starting point guard( Jameer Nelson), two key reserves (forward Brandan Wright and wing player Jae Crowder) and the Mavericks 1st round pick in 2015. And in the end they were burned mightily as the marriage between the Mavericks and Rondo was toxic from the beginning. Rondo was a point guard that was used to running his own show. And Carlisle, as many have seen in his previous coaching stops, is a coach that likes to control things and run plays all game long. That mix was doomed from the beginning, especially with neither man giving any on what they were accustomed to. Many fans of the NBA have voiced their opinion on Rondo. Some are disappointed in Rondo and think he is just about over. Others have spoken of his past dealings following him to Dallas. And others even said that he quit. But the fans were not the only ones to talk about Rondo and his actions on the court. The NBA on TNT crew touched on the subject of Rondo on Tuesday after the game and as usual, there was some disagreement. Charles Barkley felt the Mavericks should go with Barea. It seemed to really both him that in this big a game, a player like Rondo would should up like he did. But on the other end of the spectrum, there was Shaquille O’Neal trying to deflect the attention off of Rondo. O’Neal, a former teammate of Rondo’s in Boston, touched on the coaching of Carlisle when it came to Rondo. He said many times that the Mavericks needed to “let him go” on the court and that Rondo could not play with the coach calling everything from the sideline. And he also went out of his way to dodge the conversation of talking about Rondo and went at Dirk Nowitzki, who struggled mightily against the Rockets in Game 2. All in all, it seemed like Shaq was more interested in defending his former teammate instead of openly criticizing what looked like a subpar and unenthused effort. But along with the talk of Shaquille O’Neal on the other things that went wrong besides Rondo, O’Neal was playing the part of owner without anyone even thinking about it.

If you are not aware, Shaquille O’Neal has some ownership with an NBA team. In 2013, O’Neal became a minority owner of the Sacramento Kings. The team he once tormented and famously taunted by calling them the “Sacramento Queens” was not a team that he had ownership in. While O’Neal and new owners are now there, the fact still remains that the Kings have been stuck in neutral for a while. The team has not made the playoffs in almost a decade and they have not resembled a team that will make it in a while. But this season started with renewed optimism that they may make some noise in the West. The team was playing well under coach Mike Malone and they looked like they were finally getting it together. Big man DeMarcus Cousins was playing solid basketball and controlling his temper, small forward Rudy Gay was playing solid and new point guard Darren Collison was playing well. But all that optimism and excitement came crashing down when the Kings inexplicably fired Malone when the team started stumbling after a Cousins injury. The firing was viewed as a bad one by many people, but it was also viewed as a move Kings fans were used to them making. In the end, the Kings let Ty Corbin coach the team until they decided to bring in coach George Karl at the All-Star break. Of course the coaching change was not enough for the Kings to make a push this season and unfortunately, the combination of Gay and Cousins was not enough to lift them. That and the combination of a new system led to frustration by fans and frustration by Cousins, who at times looked like he was frustrated and took some plays off as well. Going forward change is needed and a shot in the arm is needed as well. Over time it was shown that Collison was not the guy and that Sacramento needed help there. Of course this season there was no help to be found the rest of this season. But this offseason, there may be an option that fits what they need. That option, you may ask, is Rajon Rondo.

Many have Rondo already pegged to go to Los Angeles and play with Kobe Bryant, but can anyone depend on Bryant even being healthy ever again. And with the attitude that Rondo has displayed in Dallas, it seems that some may be souring on bringing him into their franchise. In Sacramento, there would be a chance of a blowup. You have DeMarcus Cousins who has had some issues with his attitude. Those two together could be volatile. But in the same breath, Rondo can be a person that could flourish in the George Karl system. Karl has had a free-flowing offense for most of his time in the NBA. Karl is going to have to taper some of that with the presence of a big man like Cousins. But imagine Rondo at the point guard slot for them being a one-man fast break and also being able to get the basketball to high-fliers Ben McLemore and Rudy Gay on the wings on a fast break. And in the halfcourt offense, imagine him breaking down defenses and making the job for Cousins a lot easier. Rondo would easily be the best point guard that Cousins had played with. Rondo is a free agent this offseason and there will be some teams that will fight over his services. That’s why Shaquille O’Neal was thinking two moves ahead when he did not criticize Rondo like the rest of his crew. He is a former teammate of O’Neal, but he is also making it look like he stood up for him in front of the nation. That could go a long way in helping Rondo make his decision. And assuming the money is right for Rondo, he could be wearing purple and black and give the Kings their best point guard since Mike Bibby in his prime.

Rondo is coming up on what could be one of his last chances to make it happen in his career. His perceived lack of getting along with franchises has been a topic of discussion since his Boston days. But all in all, he is still a talented player. And with a big man, two wings in place and a franchise that longs for the days when they went crazy over players like Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, Rondo would be the magic elixir that Karl would need for his team. And in joining the Kings and potentially making them a team to be reckoned with, Rondo would rehab his image among some. He would go from a player many see as a malcontent to a guy that has resurrected a franchise that once had a team that was a contender. The sting from what happened in Dallas will stick with him and all of us right now. But they always say you are as bad as your last moment and as good as it too. In joining Sacramento, he could make resurrect his image and his ability to be one of the best point guards in the game. Under the tutelage of George Karl, he would be a special player for the Kings but first he has to decide to consider them. There is no question that he will be looking for more than just a good fit but a good place. And with Shaq taking a step in showing he still has love for his former teammate, Shaq could have made his biggest contribution to helping Sacramento as a minority owner of the team.

Will Demarcus Cousins Ever Get It?

Demarcus Cousins

Demarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings is an extremely talented player. At 6’11”, he can handle the basketball, shoot the mid-range jumper and use his bulky frame (270 pounds) to bully opposing players in the paint. The sky is the limit for him in regards to his talents. If you ask people about him, they will say he is easily one of the more talented big men in the NBA. But unfortunately his attitude seems to overshadow his skills.

Cousins started off the season doing better with his attitude. But even with that, he still had some hiccups in the early going, most notably this moment against the Los Angeles Clippers:

Some would get the impression that Cousins was just mad at losing while others said “there goes Demarcus again”. But even in this so-called “instance”, Demarcus was not angry or emotional high-strung at all. As the season has gone on, however, it is apparent the losing has worn on Cousins. This recent incident versus the Rockets this week was the tipping point:

Cousins completely lost control again and forgot some of the things that Shaq had talked to him about as one of the new owners of the Kings. His coach was handling the issue, but Cousins just had to get his point across and in an emotional way. Honestly, Cousins should not have gotten the initial foul call and it did not look like he even said anything to receive the technical. But even in that, he has to handle that situation better. And because of his slow erosion back to the things he did last season, he has become a target for referees and a distraction for his team.
Cousins cheering on his teammates

This is now Demarcus’s fourth season in the NBA and it seems that when he takes two steps forward, he takes three steps back. The talent keeps getting blocked by the attitude. And with him being signed to a new four-year, $62 million extension in Sacramento, it looks like he is not leaving anytime soon. The Kings are counting on him to lead their franchise. But the big question is if he will ever mature into the player and person the Kings need him to be? That remains to be seen, but one thing needs to happen to give Cousins a better shot to make it. The Kings need to bring in a veteran presence that he respects to either be an assistant coach or be a part of the bench. An assistant coach like former NBA player Rasheed Wallace, who was a volatile personality at times himself, would be perfect for Cousins. Wallace would be able to teach Demarcus how to handle his temper on the court while helping him be an even better teammate than he is now. After all, Wallace was a loose cannon at one point and time until he learned when to reel it in for the sake of his team.

Until something like this happens, Demarcus may still continue to have his moments on the court. Hopefully he eventually matures or someone gets through to him. Because if he continues down this path, he could end up taking it too far and permanently damaging his career.

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