Hey Mr. Hand Face, what Quarter do the Kings disappear in and decide not to play anymore? Yeah, that's the one.
Overall, this was a pretty bad week even with Kevin's return. The Kings go 0-3, and worse, 0-2 on the "easy" part of the road trip. The team is definitely slumping right now, and its time to get back on track. Unfortunately, the schedule isn't getting any easier.
1. The Arco Arena Proposals
January 14th could forever be remembered as the day that saved the Sacramento Kings franchise and altered the future of the city of Sacramento as well. Not only did the details of a new Arena plan come out, one which seems to have actual legs to stand upon, 6 more proposals were announced. This is a very big step in the right direction. We'll know more about which proposal the Mayor and the City will back in March, but its looking like the Sacramento Convergence plan is definitely the frontrunner at the moment. Only time will tell if it remains that way.
2. Kevin Martin's Return
Kevin was obviously a tad rusty on the court, and had trouble meshing with the rest of the team in his first couple games, but his return signals the beginning of a possible era, in which the Kings try to establish one of the better, if not the best backcourts in the league. Already in the 2nd game back we've seen improvements in chemistry between Tyreke and Kevin, and with time, we'll hopefully see that chemistry build with the rest of the team, and this could truly be a devastating combo. It's still too early too tell, but I have very good feelings about this pairing. Also with Kevin around, this team is getting to the line a lot more, and making a lot more shots there too (pretty much thanks to Kevin). Between Tyreke and Kevin, we have two very good foul magnets, and it helps that they hit a vast majority of their freebies.
3. Andres Nocioni
Why did I put Noc in the good? Because he is seeing a decline in his minutes, and I am glad of it. The more he is in the game, the worse our offense seems to become as he takes ill-advised shot after ill-advised shot. Thank you to the Coaches for finally benching Chuck.
4. Jon Brockman
Whatever else you can say about this guy, he comes into the games and busts his ass off. He has my respect and I love him for his consistency.
5. Jason Thompson against Philadelphia
JT had a darn good game in front of his friends and family (except for his turnovers). This looked like the JT we had grown used to seeing, and it seems he might have regained his jumper back. He also hit the glass hard, passed the ball around, and blocked a few shots. He was one of the few bright spots after this game.
1. Making Opposing Bigs look like superstars
Dwight Howard came to town to kick ass and chew bubble gum. Unfortunately he was all out of gum and the Kings paid the price, with Howards best performance of the year. Worse to me though, is how good the Kings make bigs that aren't supposed to be that great look. Samuel Dalembert, of the oft-derided contract, had 17 points on 100% shooting, with 12 rebounds and 3 blocks. You can't simply let players like Dalembert, who are supposed to be offensive zeros, unload on you like that. Against Washington, Haywood had a double-double and threw in 3 blocks as well. The Kings could really use another interior presence, one that focuses on defense (TYRUS THOMAS PLEASE).
2. Omri Casspi
A new host seems to have been found for Desmond Masonitis. Omri shot very poorly for the standards he's set for himself. It seems he's out of sync at the moment, and with Martin back in the fold, I can see why. Omri shot 2-12 from long range this week, and that really doesn't help the team. Fortunately though, his defense has been good and at some times superb (most effective defender in the Philadelphia game, playing Iguodala very well), and he still manages to rebound at a very good rate (another double-double against Orlando, and 6 boards in each of the road games). Its Omri's offense that has been struggling, and I don't blame him at all. It's a long season, and he's still transitioning. He's surpassed my expectations for what I thought his 2nd or 3rd seasons would have been already, so hopefully he finds a way to play through this slump.
Beno seems to be going through a little funk now as well with Kevin's return, and hopefully its only a minor transition period before he begins to feel comfortable again, because the Beno we've been used to seeing hasn't really shown up in the last two games. Again, I attribute this to Martin's return to the lineup because with his return, a lot of things change for this team on offense. Beno becomes less of a focal point. I do sincerely hope this is only a temporary thing with Beno because he has truly been phenomenal this year.
4. The Quandary of Hilton Armstrong
On Paper, Armstrong looks exactly like someone we could need, and yet he still has not played a single second in a Kings uniform. I do know the Kings made a bit of money on the trade, but I also wonder what is to become of him and if something else is in the making. I'm putting this in the bad section because of the uncertainty of the situation with him.
5. Ime U'DOH!'ka
Ime just wasn't very effective when he played this week. He didn't shoot well, he didn't handle the ball well (see Philadelphia game especially). It's a shame as well because he has definitely been growing on me, but his play as of late has been relatively ineffective.
6. Tyreke's shot selection
Tyreke has a bad habit of throwing up jumpers when he should drive (which is almost all the time at this point) , and driving when a shotblocker is in the paint. Each team the Kings played this week had a good shot blocker, and as such, Tyreke had his shot blocked quite a bit. More than any other King in fact. Its a tad worrisome, but he'll eventually learn when the right time to take it to the hole and when to kick it out is. We're already witnessing improvement in those areas, and Tyreke has to have led the league in NotanAssists (NaA) where he kicks it out and his teammates miss their shot, or are fouled, etc.
7. Spencer Hawes
Hawes had a decent week on offense, but he still can't seem to manage to grab a rebound. Its not like he didn't play enough minutes either. When you're that tall and smart, knowing where to position yourself to get the board shouldn't be that hard. I would just like to see some consistency and effort by Spence on that end.
8. Lack of Playing Time for Donté
I honestly think Donté should play ahead of Udoka, and especially ahead of Nocioni. He needs to learn to mesh with this core more than either of those guys, and he's proven to be our best defensive player and a pretty good team player as well. Against Philadelphia, I thought it was a travesty he only played as much as he did, and I think the game would have been different in a good way if he had had Udoka and Noc's minutes.
1. The Kings in the 4th Quarter
The Kings have been terrible at executing in the final quarter this season. All year long the Kings have been losing leads or falling even further behind in the 4th and crucial quarter. Thanks to teamrankings.com, I can find the statistics to back it as well. Sacramento ranks 11th in Points in the 1st Quarter, 4th in Points in the 2nd Quarter, 5th in Points in the 3rd Quarter, and 24th in Points in the 4th Quarter. Even worse, the Kings are dead last in Point Margin in the 4th Quarter. Clearly, something bad happens to this teams offense during the 4th. Whether its from trying too hard and forcing things, or to being a young, inexperienced team when other teams step up, this team is not getting it done when it counts.
2. The Kings decision making against the Sixers
Nobody was making good decisions with the ball against Philadelphia, not the vets, not the rookies, not the coaches. For starters, Donté should have seen a lot more time against a very athletic Philadelphia team that he played very well against at ARCO. The Kings passes into the post were absolutely horrid and continuously got picked by Philadelphia's defender, Ime Udoka could not figure out whether he wanted to shoot or pass the ball and ended up just throwing the ball away each time he touched it. It was just a very, very sloppy game to watch. 19 turnovers, and 12 of them were from Philadelphia steals. Twelve steals. The best stealing team in the League, Golden State, averages 9.89.
3. Jason Thompson, Turnover Machine
JT had totals of 3, 4, and 3 turnovers this week, leading the team in the category in 2 of the games. At the beginning of the season we marveled at how well JT had been taking care of the ball, but lately he's been making a lot of poor decisions. He definitely has some mental frustration that is becoming evident in his game. He's letting his frustration take him out of his game.
4. The latest Kevin Martin trade rumors
Hedo and Calderon for Kevin? This is starting to become ridiculous and almost embarrassing to read. If a trade like that did happen, I might quit being a Kings fan.
5. Ziller's 14 point win predictions
The madness must stop! The Kings are now 1-5 since this prediction has been bandied about, and the only reason it isn't 0-6 is because Tyreke Evans is a wunderkind. Forget all the other things I said above, this is the real reason the Kings are struggling!
Player of the Week:
7 APG (Arena Proposals Gained)
Mayor Johnson outshone even Speedracer's return with the unveiling of the 7 Arena Proposal plans, and I must say that he definitely has his work cut out for him. But he has done so much more to move this process forward than any other political/public figure that has tried in the past 10 years, and it really seems like we might be able to get this done. Because what does it matter that Tyreke is a possible superstar, that the Kings are fun to watch again, that Tyreke and Kevin might not mesh, that Spencer can't rebound, if none of this happens in Sacramento?
Comment of the Week:
Highlight of the Week:
Last week's contest winner: section214
Reke: "Dude. You’re 7 feet tall. I saw you."
This week's picture:
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
@ Charlotte 1/18 W (Charlotte's defense is tough, but their offense stinks. Easiest game of the rest of the road trip, Kings need a win here.)
@ Atlanta 1/20 L (Too athletic and too good on the home floor, Tyreke is going to get his shot blocked a bit)
@ Orlando 1/22 L (This game will likely not be pretty as Dwight relishes on feasting on King flesh)
@ Miami 1/22 W (Kings end the road trip on a high note with Speedracer hitting a 3 at the buzzer from a Tyreke kick-out)
Nostradumbass Record for the Season: 21-18