One season removed from drafting Tyreke Evans, who won Rookie of the Year with LeBron James type numbers, the Sacramento Kings looked to add young talent to complement the young cornerstone they had in Evans.
When the 2010 NBA Draft arrived, they drafted two centers in DeMarcus Cousins (No. 5 overall) and Hassan Whiteside (No. 33 overall).
Cousins started contributing right away for the Kings and it appeared that he and Tyreke Evans would become a force in the league for years to come. However, even when Evans stopped living up to his potential, Cousins continued to blossom into a bonafide star in Sacramento and arguably the best center in the league.
In 2015, he made Sacramento’s first All Star appearance since Peja Stojakovic. He repeated this honor in both 2016 and 2017 despite the Kings being far from playoff contention.
Shortly after the finish of the 2017 All Star Game, Cousins was informed that he would be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. Vlade Divac sent Cousins and Omri Casspi over to New Orleans for rookie Buddy Hield, former King Tyreke Evans, and Langston Galloway.
This move not only angered Cousins but Kings fans everywhere. The front office had decided that Cousins was not part of the winning formula in Sacramento and moved in another direction.
While producing another All Star season in New Orleans in 2018, DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles in late January, an injury that would keep him out for the rest of 2018.
During the 2018 offseason, Cousins signed a cheap contract with the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. With the addition of Cousins, the Warriors had arguably the best starting five in history when healthy on paper.
Cousins played only 30 games for the Warriors, and though they sailed smoothly into the playoffs, their second playoff game saw Cousins suffer a quadriceps injury. The first of many injuries the Warriors would face during their postseason run.
Cousins returned to the floor during the NBA Finals, but his added presence wasn’t enough for Golden State who would lose Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant to injuries during the same Finals.
Cousins’ chances for an easy ring went away as the Toronto Raptors beat the short-handed Golden State Warriors in six games in the 2019 NBA Finals.
During the 2019 offseason, Cousins would repeat his thought process and sign a veteran minimum contract with a championship-seeking team, the Los Angeles Lakers. But before the season could even start, Cousins’ injury history caught up with him yet again, this time in the form of a torn ACL.
In February, the Lakers waived Cousins to sign Markieff Morris.
Now, with the NBA looking to resume in a month, teams have interest in signing the big man, although he is unsure if he should sign with a team or sit out the rest of the season and look for a new contract when the offseason arrives.
When the Kings drafted Hassan Whiteside in 2010, nobody batted an eye. Whiteside would appear in 1 game for 2 minutes in his rookie season and in just 18 games during his sophomore campaign.
In July of 2012, he was waived by the Kings and by December of the same year, he was acquired by the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the D-League. Between 2012-2014 Whiteside bounced around locker rooms, leagues, and countries, playing in both Lebanon and China during that span.
In November of 2014, Whiteside signed with the Miami Heat and by January, he had recorded his first double-double. Twenty-one days later, he had recorded hist first triple-double and put the league on notice.
Whiteside emerged as a dominant big man and finished the 2014-15 season averaging a double-double while doing the same the following year but this time leading the league in blocks.
During the 2016 offseason, Whiteside re-signed with the Heat for a contract worth $98 million over four years. Whiteside lived up to his large contract immediately, scoring 17 points a game and leading the league in rebounds with 14.1 per game.
Whiteside would play two more seasons in Miami before being traded to the Portland Trailblazers during the 2019 offseason.
Whiteside has not slowed down since being given a chance with Miami in 2014 and is currently averaging 16.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game while leading the league with 3.1 blocks a game in Portland.
With Portland being the same amount of games behind the eighth seed as Sacramento, Whiteside has the opportunity to help push the Trailblazers to the playoffs once the season resumes in July.
The Kings drafted two centers in 2010 who would blossom into stars. Although neither one remained on the Kings, it helps to know that neither player has led a team to a championship ring since their departure from California’s capital. At least not yet.