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Thursday, February 27, 2020

George Karl says Willie Cauley-Stein will ‘probably’ start to open season


The Sacramento Kings’ mad science experiment is finally beginning to take shape.

On Saturday, head coach George Karl said that rookie big man Willie Cauley-Stein will “probably” start the team’s season opener next Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers, per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento.

The Kentucky product’s capacity for defending all five positions was a huge reason why the Kings selected him No. 6 overall last June, so he should have no trouble hanging with opposing power forwards on defense or acting as the team’s rim protector de jure. But his offensive game still doesn’t go beyond three feet, and it remains to be seen if DeMarcus Cousins’ increased jump-shooting proficiency will afford the duo enough spacing to be a playable frontcourt alongside one another.

Nevertheless, it’s incredible progress for Cauley-Stein, especially after reports earlier this month that he was out of shape at training camp.

The 22-year-old will have to keep things real trill if he wants to hold onto the starting gig, especially with Kosta Koufos and perhaps even Omri Casspi in small-ball lineups breathing down his neck. But for a Kings team that has had a spectacularly bad track record of developing their lottery picks (Nik Stauskas, anyone? Jimmer Fredette?!), this is a huge step in the right direction.

H/T NBA Reddit

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