Sacramento Receives: Alex Len, Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin
Phoenix Receives: DeMarcus Cousins
The Kings have been one of the worst franchises in the NBA since the end of the Chris Webber era; a time that ended ten years ago. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the best and most talented players in the NBA, but he has been a nightmare for Sacramento, and the Kings have not improved with him. Cousins has already been rumored to be traded, and it is up to the Kings to get as much value as they can for him. This package of Alex Len, Markieff Morris, and Archie Goodwin is one of the better ones they will get.
Len is a bright young center. He is averaging 14.4 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes. He is 7’1″, and he moves well for someone that height. Len showed signs of being the NBA’s next best tower last season, when he finished 5th overall in block percentage. He doesn’t and very likely won’t have anywhere near Cousins’ offensive abilities, but defensively Len is arguably already better.
Morris is going to be traded. He created a storm of problems in the offseason when Phoenix traded his brother Marcus without telling him. Morris has also slipped in his production. After averaging 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds last season, Morris is now averaging just 11.4 points and 5.2 rebounds on 38.6% field goal shooting. Morris is literally hurting Phoenix in that he has negative win shares. He needs a change of scenery to play like he used to: happily.
Goodwin is a player who has not had the opportunity to play as much. He was one of NBA Genius’ Top Players That Need Opportunities in the Western Conference, and he still is. The Kings could use another shooting guard, after average player Ben McLemore, is Marco Belinelli, another average rotation piece, and James Anderson, the third stringer, was not even in the league last season after a brief and uneventful stint with various teams.
All of these players could help turn around Sacramento, a team that is 26th in defensive rating. A starting five of Rajon Rondo, Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay, Markieff Morris, and Alex Len is fair, and a bench of Darren Collison, Marco Belinelli, Archie Goodwin, Caron Butler, Omri Casspi, Kosta Koufos, and Willie Cauley-Stein is above average at the very least. This team is helped by the fact that head coach George Karl took a similarly balanced 2012-2013 Denver Nuggets team to a 56-26 record and a playoff berth.
The Suns get the best offensive big man in the league. Cousins is only shooting 42% from the field right now, but he is the center of attention, literally, to all opposing defenses. Cousins is averaging 25.2 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He is a superstar plain and simple.
The Suns already have Eric Bledsoe as an all-star, and they also have Brandon Knight as a fringe all-star. Among Bledsoe, Knight, and Cousins, all three of them played for John Callipari’s Kentucky Wildcats in college, and Bledsoe and Cousins played on the exact same team in 2010. Suns rookie Devin Booker also played for Kentucky. Chemistry will not be an issue for these players who all played in the same system.
DeMarcus Cousins has been criticized for his defense in the past, and some of it fair, but Cousins won’t have to worry about being a rim protector for Phoenix. Tyson Chandler already does that job extraordinarily well. Cousins will only have to worry about staying in front of other power forwards and not letting them get off easy shots.
A starting five of Bledsoe, Knight, P.J. Tucker, Cousins, and Chandler is loaded with talent. A bench of Ronnie Price, Devin Booker, Sonny Weems, T.J. Warren, Jon Leuer, and Mirza Teletovic isn’t horrible, especially if Booker figures out the NBA game soon.
If everything works out like it should, the Kings would have a nice young talent base in their front court, and the Suns would be a perenial playoff team.