Unfree Ron-Ron

Can we suspend Ron Artest?

Seriously. I know he's an elite defender and a good player, but c'mon. The last four games: at New Jersey, Ron plays and dominates the ball, Kings lose in an incredibly ugly and uninteresting way; at Indiana, Ron sits, Kevin Martin dominates the ball, Kings look lovely on offense and win walking away; at Philadelphia, Ron plays and dominates the ball, Kings lose in an incredibly ugly and uninteresting way; vs Charlotte, Ron sits, Kevin Martin and Mike Bibby dominate the ball, Kings look lovely on offense and win walking away. I have no doubt Ron will play Friday against the Lakers. Hmm... wonder what's going to happen to the Kings' offense. Anyone seen Fibonacci around? I have a question for him.

And this is what it has come to for us: We see the Kings in their McDonald's All-American glory and we get pissed because it's not like that every night. I don't expect the team to shoot 62% every night, that's silly. And I don't expect John Salmons to keep the Magic Johnson impersonation alive or Francisco Garcia to make it rain like Pacman or even Brad Miller to resemble a low-post beast.

It wasn't the result I got so hyped about last night, it wasn't the huge totals for Martin and Garcia, or the incredible saltrub from the Garbagetime Globetrotters (Quincy Douby and Justin Williams, natch). It was the brand of basketball the Kings seemingly discovered they could play. Get up and down the court, get to the rim, get to the line (50 FTAs!) - or get out of the way.

With Ron-Ron, that brand is impossible and frankly miscast. Artest is best in the half-court, both on offense and defense. Martin flourishes on offense either way, but it should be clear that Bibby, Salmons, and Ronnie F. Price would prefer to pick up the pace. (It's strange that Bibby thrives in the fast-pace setting, considering he's one of the slower point guards in the league. His stroke is so much more deadly on that transition pull-up three or curling at "full speed" off a pick. When they play the half-court game, he spots up too much. It's showed this season.)

The only ways to establish this (successful, entertaining) brand as the Kings identity going forward this season is to a) get Ron to buy into it somehow, or b) discipline him for having a sore knee.

Sadly, options a nor b are going to happen. (B would be out of line, anyways. I don't doubt players' injuries, unless that player is Peja Stojakovic.) So, we're going to be stuck with the Philadelphia game, the New Jersey game. Can't wait. Enjoy.

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