When Samuel Dalembert was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2001, he joined a team that had just lost in the NBA Finals. The roster was filled with veterans, meaning Dalembert wouldn't be much of a factor in his rookie season.

Then there's DeMarcus Cousins, who came to the Kings last year with high and maybe unfair expectations for success as a rookie on a team with several young players.

Ideally, this combination of youth and experience was going to be part of the new, bigger Kings frontline. Dalembert was going to start at center with Cousins next to him at power forward.

But between a training camp injury to Dalembert and concerns about Cousins' conditioning and ability to stay out of foul trouble, the pair didn't start together until Feb. 1.

"With Sam's injury and DeMarcus' need to develop and play power forward without fouling, and the logjam we had at power forward, it took a long time to put that lineup out there," said Kings coach Paul Westphal. "It's something that we hope is together for many years."

Most of the season, neither Cousins nor Dalembert appeared comfortable coming off the bench.

It also meant either the Kings' best post scorer (Cousins) or best interior defender (Dalembert) was beginning the game on the bench. The trade of Carl Landry for Marcus Thornton in February meant one fewer power forward in the rotation.

Lately, Cousins and Dalembert are looking comfortable together. They have started 23 games together, including the last 20, in which the Kings are 8-12.

"We're working on the chemistry, still trying to build one," Cousins said. "(We're) trying to get the big-man thing going with the high-low (on offense). It's just a process. Maybe if we would have tried earlier on, we'd be further along."

The Kings have learned that Dalembert and Cousins complement each other better than expected. Both can make mid-range jump shots and rebound.