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October 21, 2016

Sacramento Kings: Record last season: 33-49

Postseason results: None

Additions: Arron Afflalo, Ty Lawson, Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple, Anthony Tolliver, Malachi Richardson, Geogios Papagiannis, Jordan Farmar, Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Cousins, Lamar Patterson

Subtractions: Marco Belinelli, Rajon Rondo, Caron Butler, Seth Curry, Quincy Acy, Duje Dukan, James Anderson, Eric Moreland

Biggest move: Hiring head coach Dave Joerger

Projected finish: 14th in the Western Conference

Entertainment ranking: 15. Drama-loving rubberneckers rejoiced when owner Vivek Ranadive admitted that ex-coach George Karl tried to trade DeMarcus Cousins for months. Without a quality floor general, there’s no telling when the chaos will end. — Ben Golliver

Power ranking: 25. The Kings proved this off-season that they are the best team in the NBA when it comes to being the Kings. Free Boogie. — Jeremy Woo

One number: 266. DeMarcus Cousins is tightening his grasp on two titles: the NBA’s most talented center and its most tortured. Since the two-time All-Star arrived in 2010–11, the Kings have missed the playoffs every season. The franchise’s .345 winning percentage during Cousins’s career ranks 28th, topping only the Timberwolves’ and Sixers’. During the last six seasons Cousins has appeared in 266 losses, the most by a player with a single team. (Four others have appeared in more defeats, but they’ve enjoyed at least one change in scenery.)

Cousins, meanwhile, has been stuck in Sacramento through an ugly ownership change and multiple front-office regimes. This season he will play for Dave Joerger, the sixth coach of his career, and with a cast of teammates that isn’t much better than last season’s 33-win outfit. Despite having Cousins to build around, the Kings have a hole at point guard, limited three-point shooting and an excess of homogeneous combo forwards. Given that GM Vlade Divac has used three first-round picks on centers in the last two drafts, perhaps the plan isn’t to build around their 26-year-old franchise big man, but to start preparing for what comes next. Is Cousins finally inching closer to an escape? — Ben Golliver

Scouting report: Dave Joerger might be their biggest free-agent addition. That’s good and bad. He’s a nice coach with a solid track record, but they really needed a big talent infusion. . . . I expect Joerger to play with two bigs like he did in Memphis, just because they have DeMarcus Cousins and so many other power forwards and centers. It will be hard for Joerger to play pace-and-space because their wings and guards are so poor. . . . Joerger will use Cousins like he used Marc Gasol in Memphis: Put him on the elbow and let him create. But you want to put him in the post too. He can get you points from everywhere. . . . Willie Cauley-Stein is not a perfect all-around player, but he brings length and tons of activity. Still, playing Cousins and Cauley-Stein together isn’t great because that puts two guys without true three-point range on the court. . . . If they want to win, they would be better off giving Rudy Gay minutes as a stretch four, but then they’re just burying the young guys. [Rookie] Skal Labissiere is probably the best four for them; you could see him developing into a good shooter down the road. . . . They won’t miss Rajon Rondo at all. Darren Collison might not be able to put up Rondo’s numbers, but he’ll have a much better impact on their team as a whole. Rondo had the ball in his hands way too much. . . . They have enough average or below-average defenders in their rotation that it’s hard to take them seriously. It’s hard to even pick out their best lineup of five defensive players. They’ll have to play a little bit slower or they could give up 118 points on any night.

Bottom line: The roster will be big. The win total will not.

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