Thanks to Aykis16 for providing the link to the OKC site, Loud City. Their descriptions of the Kings, in the game and overall, are ferociously accurate. From Zorgon of the OKC site:
But my overreaching point is that the Kings are just a mess. I hate to bash on them because Kings' fans are
suffering enough and well aware of the fact, but it has to be said. Aside from Isiah Thomas, their
best scorers give the worst plus-minus rating, because they couldn't defend worth a darn. The Kings got a
good number of turnovers from their pressure defense, but their poor defensive rebounding negated that
advantage. Similarily, they sustained short runs of offensive success throughout the game, but they'd lay
an egg over the next 2-3 minutes, immediately negating any good work they did.
Zorgon's got it! Do we commit to Team, and defense, or our "stars". That would begin with Cuzz. How many times a game does he sprint back on defense? I'd guess the total is about equal to the number of times he stops play to glare at the refs. In between those extremes, he takes some charges but overall repeatedly fails to play team "D". Most incriminating: many games he grabs more offensive than defensive rebounds. Big Baby Cuzz should be moved to the bench. He has wonderful talent as we all know, and we all know he has issues harming both himself and his team. It will be impossible for the Kings to be consistent (foundation of success in NBA) with such a tempremental centerpiece.
Bringing Cuzz off the bench would give the 2nd unit offensive explosiveness, also a must in the NBA. Games could be started without drastic tension between the Kings and the refs...JT brings enough of that. Finally, if Cuzz is on a good roll, he can play as many minutes as when starting. He could also get the mood/tempo of a game from the bench before becoming emotionally involved on the floor.
Without making him a starter the Kings are also much better off for all the games he misses due to suspensions/T's/foul trouble. As it is now, when he is out it disrupts everything...starting unit and the rotation. As a bench player the impact of his absences and disruptions would be minimalized.
How would he regain his starting spot? Simple! Run back on defense and play team "D". Run the offense and take good shots. Keep your head in the game. Give Cuzz a simple but solid foundation for Team, and hold him accountable.
Of course Cuzz is not a person who takes a "No you can't " easily, and he may explode ino uselessness if benched. Oh well !!! If he cannot put "we" before "me" then the Kings will be at the mercy of his moods forevermore.
God knows as a Kings' fan I don't expect to win all that often. But I surely would like to see a "TEAM" playing hard and playing together, doing right things on the floor. That's something to be proud of winning or losing. And why not build your team on "D"? Guys who play "D" usually know that "We" comes before "Me".
Brooks and IT disrupt offenses with their quickness and pressure. IT is a stronger defender, but both are successful despite the height issues. Fredette is improving in every area as a pro, and may be a soild defender one day. Not yet. Garcia in limited minutes and vs. the right opponents plays nice helpside defense. Thornton? A good man with a warrior's heart who can't guard a wall.
Salmons and Johnson apply physical, no nonsense defense.
Hayes, Thompson, Robinson and Evans are dedicated to defense. Tyreke is a monster on the ball but has much to learn when on the weakside. Hayes does it all...makes it hard on scorers and directs the whole team through rotations when possible (see Cuzz/Thornton) JT works hard always, and despite Robinson's lack of offense he is quickly becoming a quick force on the weakside. Hayes,Thompson and Robinson grab defensive boards!!!!
Start Evans(PG), IT(SG), Salmons, Hayes, Thompson. That's if you believe "D" wins games, and will stop the Kngs falling behind by 20 early. Bring Cousins/Brooks in as first subs. If Cuzz is AWOL, let Thornton fire it up. Use Robinson/Garcia/Fredette/Johnson in the right situations.
That line up/rotation would also have benefits on offense. With Tyreke and IT the Kings can attack the open court. IT is as good or better a 3 point shooter than Brooks/Thornton if teams double Tyreke; Salmons and Thompson can play off Tyreke penetrations also. Hayes would give a soild passing/defense advantage to the team.