The Sacramento Kings scored a major win last night when it was revealed that DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay were officially named to Team USA’s World Cup Roster. To play for the United States on an international stage is one of the most celebrated accolades a player can earn in his career.
“It’s been my goal for the summer,” Cousins said to reporters last night at Madison Square Garden. “It’s a huge honor. Who wouldn’t want to represent their country?”
For the Sacramento Kings, this is a major deal that goes beyond the prestige it brings to the franchise. Having their two best players play meaningful basketball together this summer should also have a major impact on the Sacramento Kings’ upcoming season.
“It is good to have a teammate,” Cousins told media in New York following Team USA’s win over the Dominican Republic on Wednesday. “I am definitely going to take it as a positive. This is good for Rudy and me, because we can use what we have learned here and take it back to Sacramento. With me and Rudy being leaders of the team, it will help us out tremendously.”
Before Team USA, Cousins and Gay got a head start on the regular season earlier this summer. Cousins returned to Sacramento in late June and worked out with fellow teammates. He and Gay also spent time in Las Vegas working out with the Sacramento Kings Summer League Team.
Last year was a season of constant upheaval for the Sacramento Kings. A total of 23 players suited up in white, purple and black. They opened the season against the Denver Nuggets with a starting lineup featuring four players (Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and Patrick Patterson) who were eventually traded during the year. Not only were the Sacramento Kings playing the game of basketball on a daily basis, they also were playing a game of musical chairs.
As the upcoming season rapidly approaches, the Sacramento Kings appear to be far from a finished product. They’ve made some notable additions (Darren Collison and rookie Nik Stauskas) and they’ve made some notable subtractions (Isaiah Thomas). With the roster still in flux, having their two cornerstones play together for Team USA will bring some much-needed continuity to head coach Michael Malone’s locker room.
“This is the most productive way to spend your summer,” Gay told reporters after Friday night’s victory over Puerto Rico. “Obviously, I didn’t have any playoffs last year or the year before, so this is a good way during the off season for me to get in shape… and mentally get back into playing shape.”
Quotes from USA Basketball were used to write this story.