Hopefully the extra positivity in today's picture will allow you to forgive me for throwing you off your weekly Sunday routine BlueJohn. But there's a Kings game at 10 AM tomorrow! Yay East Coast Road trips.
A winning week for the first time since the first week of the season! It feels great, and the best part is that the victories came against two quality teams, and the loss was to another quality team in a game where our guys played their butts off to try to come back.
1. DeMonstrous Cousins (Just so its clear, I was not the one to come up with this nickname if it catches on, that was TZ at the beginning of the year. But feel free to use it Jerry, we'll split the royalties again)
See Player of the Week
2. Tyreke Evans
Disregarding a poor performance against Phoenix, Tyreke has looked like himself as of late, if not better. His quickness and explosiveness are back, and he Reke'd Havoc against the Hawks and Nuggets. His rediscovered aggressiveness has also helped his playmaking, as he had a combined 20 assists to only 2 turnovers in those last two games. His shot selection has also returned to where I like it, shooting more at the rim (He was 15-18 combined in the last two games at the rim) and thus getting to the foul line more as well. I have no problem with him taking a wide open jumper every now and then to keep the defense honest, but he needs to rely on his slashing ability. Hopefully this trend continues and its a sign that his injuries are healing faster than expected.
3. Francisco/Omri SF combination
I'm really starting to like this two man rotation at the wing with Cisco and Omri. Both are pesky defenders, and both bring that needed reliable shooting into our lineup that we were missing when Donté was in, and it really has helped our offense by spreading the floor. Both players are now at above 41% for the year from 3 (a great percentage), and both have been working harder than ever. Omri has renewed his focus on rebounding (something he is very good at when he puts his mind to it) and he ended up having two double-doubles off the bench because of it, as well as leading the team in boards against Denver. I love bringing in Omri off the bench because he provides a great spark and is deadly on the fastbreak with his quickness, but I also think he should be playing the majority of the SF minutes, which has also been happening (Cisco getting some spot minutes at the SG too) so I'm a happy camper this week.
4. Pooh Jeter
Pooh did a good job in his sparkplug role this week, especially against Phoenix, where he helped key that 19-2 run that won us the game. He does a better job than anyone on the team at getting the ball to players where/when they want it, and it definitely helps our offense. I don't think he's a long term solution, but he definitely shows you what a true point guard can do for this team.
5. Playing to our Strengths
Its bugged me all year how often the Kings were settling for jumpers instead of using their size to get inside and pound the ball in, but this week the Kings took advantage, attacking the basket constantly. The added bonus is we saw FTA go up, and we hit a good % in every game but the one we lost in.
6. Top Hat
Yes he still shoots way too many jumpers for my liking, but he's been more aggressive as of late, and he provided a solid lift off the bench for us. He didn't shoot a great percentage (again, too many jumpers. STOP SHOOTING SO MANY JUMPERS CAAAAARL) but he got to the line quite a bit and was hitting them too.
7. We've Found a Rotation
If you hadn't noticed, Coach Westphal has been running a pretty tight 9 man rotation lately of the Starting Five with Omri and Carl almost splitting that 6th man role, and then Pooh and Sam playing most of the leftover minutes. I approve.
I mentioned it in the Denver recap, but I thought I'd do so again. The Kings have found some poise, and are now playing down the stretch without regards to past mistakes, and its for the better. Against Phoenix, it won them the game by being able to finish the game out on that run. Against Atlanta, it meant not giving up despite being down 20+ points in the 4th, and making it interesting near the end. Against Denver it meant weathering their run and getting back out in the lead again. The learning continues, and its nice to see some results finally.
1. JT Didn't Stand Out to Me
I love JT. He's an extremely hard worker and very passionate player. But he just didn't seem to stick out to me this week. If I were JT I'd continue to work on my midrange jumper and defense, so as to better be able to pair with Cousins, who should be operating down low.
2. Donté Greene is the Odd Man Out
I have always had high hopes for Donté, but I don't think I'll ever see them fulfilled, at least not on the Kings. Donté needs to be a consistent outside shooter to fit in with this team, and thats just something he isn't right now. He was decent last year, but who knows if that was an anomaly, as the year before he was atrocious. I could see Donté bloom into a good player on another team that already has shooting at other positions, but we need it from that SF spot. He's a great teammate, always one of the first to congratulate the guys as they're coming back to the bench. I wish the best for him, but I don't know if his future is here in Sacramento.
3. Beno Udrih's Knee
I'm going to blame Beno's poor shooting this week on his sore left knee when he banged it against Nash's last Sunday. He returned to form a bit against Denver, especially attacking the basket and getting to the line, which was nice to see. Hopefully the knee heals quick and he'll be in top shape for the upcoming road trip.
4. Sam Dalembert's Frustration
Earlier this week, Ailene Voisin reported that Dalembert was frustrated with his limited role on the team. But with DeMarcus Cousins continued improvement, the Kings have no choice but to have Dalembert in a limited role. Its just whats best for the team. I feel that its almost inevitable that he (or Carl) will be moved at or before the trade deadline. I hope he gets to a team that will be able to use him more effectively, because he truly is a great guy.
5. Omri Casspi Trade Rumors
I hate this Omri Casspi trade talk, and Ziller did a thorough job breaking how little sense they made earlier this week. But they continue nonetheless, regardless of how illogical it would be. Most reports say the Kings would only do it if it meant another team would take back Cisco or Beno, but Cisco and Beno's contracts are not that bad considering they've actually been producing, and the plethora of bad contracts that were signed this past summer. I will be very surprised if Omri is traded, especially after Joe Maloof's recent tweet lumping him in with Tyreke and DMC as the "young stars" of the team.
1. Defending Atlanta's Backcourt
Nobody did a good job on defense against Crawford, Johnson and Bibby. They combined for 69 points between them, on almost 60% from the field. They hit 7 of Atlanta's 8 threes too. We need to do a better job closing out on opposing three point shooters, or keeping them off the arc in the first place.
2. Reggie Miller's Announcing
I went to the Denver game live, but I re-watched the TNT broadcast later since I had DVR'd it. Reggie Miller is a terrible announcer (I love Chris Webber's analysis however. Yes, Andy, he does mess up his words every now and then, but at least what he's saying makes sense). Look at the highlight package below in the Highlight of the Week section, when DeMarcus hit that fadeaway jumper over Nene (about the 40 second mark). Reggie's "Reggie-ism": "The nice little fadeaway from my COUSins." WTF? I think Chris and Kevin Harlan were laughing at how stupid that was.
3. Reports the Maloofs Might Lose the Palms
I don't know what exactly to make of this news, but I didn't get a good feeling reading that article. Hopefully everything works out for the best. All I care about is that a new arena is built here and the Kings stay.
Player of the Week:
24 PPG, .568 FG%, 7 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1 STL, .7 BLK
2011 has been great for DeMarcus so far, as he's slowly but steadily found his groove and seems to be a lot more controlled and patient on offense. Against Phoenix, he literally carried the team to victory, scoring 13 points in the crucial 4th quarter, leading the Kings on a 19-2 run to end the game. DeMarcus doesn't just score though, he does the little things well too. On defense he has active feet and hands, and has a knack for drawing charges as well (a much more valuable defensive play than blocking shots, as you get a foul on the other player and guaranteed the ball back). On offense he is able to read the situation very well, especially finding the open man when he is doubled, which is happening more and more often as he continues to dominate. DeMarcus will still have many more growing pains before he realizes his potential, and we'll likely endure some more stories that he's a problem before all is said and done, but I don't care. I'm just glad he's on our team, he's a joy to watch when he's playing well. And when he and Reke have been playing well together like they were this week? Even better.
Image / GIF of the
Comment of the Week:
Highlight of the Week:
#1 is my favorite, but they're all pretty great.
Last Week's Winner: wtfaldavis
PW: "See i punch my thigh really hard, then when I get home I interpret the bruises"
Ref: "What are you talking about"
PW " Just telling Beno how i pick the starting line-ups for each week."
Greene mumbling "Please oh God, please let it look like me"
Last Week's Runner-Up: Merickel
Westphal – Teach me how to dougie!
This Week's Picture:
A reminder of the rules for the Caption Contest. Leave your caption in the comments below, and the most rec'd (to recommend a comment, hit action, then rec) caption wins.
This week's caption contest winner will get a hug from Cisco.
Question of the Week:
With Cousins becoming the force we thought he could be, what are your thoughts on the type of player that should be paired next to him at the PF spot? Or should he be PF and a guy like Dalembert pair up at C next to him? Do you think his frontcourt partner of the future is already on the team (JT, SWAT) or will we have to acquire someone?
I like what Westphal has done with the Big Man rotation. He's essentially turned it into two man groups of Offense/Defense, so that the lane isn't clogged for the rest of the team as well. I like JT's look next to Cousins, in that he can defend decently, rebound well, and hit the outside jumper. Hassan could be an even more potent pairing, but we've yet to see him in any meaningful NBA action, and I doubt we do soon barring injuries/trades.
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
@ Toronto 1/9 W (No Reggie Evans for the Raps this time, and with Cousins coming into his own, he should be able to dominate inside against the weaker Bargnani)
@ Washington 1/11 W (We beat them by 28 on our homecourt, but they were without John Wall or Andray Blatche, as well as newcomer Rashard Lewis. I still say we ride our improved play to victory though)
@ Boston 1/12 L (Boston is just too good to lay an egg against us on their home floor. I hope the game is at least competitive, but I can see this being a blowout)
@ New York 1/14 L (This is a game where I think we will be in it to the end, but won't be able to overcome all of New York's firepower at home)
@ Detroit 1/15 W (This is more an optimistic guess than a surefire thing. We should beat a team like Detroit, but they have some cagey veterans that can still fill it up)
Nostradumbass Record for the Season 16 - 19