Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
The Kings suffered their worst loss of the season at home to the Nuggets on Sunday. And we're struggling to find words to describe the state of the team.
Keith Smart is lost. Let's face it: he has a really, really bad roster. His three small forwards are named John Salmons, James Johnson and Travis Outlaw. (Salmons is having a good season by John Salmons standards, and still.) Not one of his point guards is remotely close to a pure set-up man. Two of his three point guards aren't even six feet tall. He has two shooting guards that are struggling to shoot, a stud big man who likes to shot some of the worst shots in basketball (when he's not suspended), a rookie Energizer bunny who can't finish all of those offensive rebounds he grabs ... he has a really, really bad roster. It may not be the worst roster in the NBA -- I think Charlotte still has it worse, and New Orleans without Eric Gordon is close. Toronto might be close. But it's bad. Really, really bad.
The players are lost. The team has the lowest assisted field goal percentage (51 percent) by far. (No. 29 is Portand at 53 percent. No. 1 is Chicago at 64 percent. A Kirk Hinrich-Nate Robinson team is that much better than the Kings in this department.) The offense is consistently a mess, with Smart installed some weird Triangle sets before the season began to no avail. The reserves have no idea if they'll play 30 minutes or get a DNP any given game. They appear lost on defense every other possession, and have seemed to have forgotten basic basketball principles like "rotate back if you're a guard and a teammate takes a jumper." No one but DeMarcus Cousins knows whether he'll be here tomorrow. As Chris Webber told the Boston Globe, "instability for players is the worst thing you can have." Instability? This is Francisco Garcia's eighth season as a King. Smart is his sixth head coach.
Geoff Petrie is lost. I mean, I don't have a lot of sympathy for Petrie. But any other GM would have been canned by now, right? That's gotta look mighty inviting: a plum gig on the back bench in Portland, or maybe an admission into Golden State's weird Old Geniuses Club with Jerry West. Heck, retirement. That's gotta look mighty good. You know how working stiffs like us crack about counting down to retirement, about wanting to be done with the daily grind of the office. Isn't Petrie's job right now as bad as what we deal with Monday through Friday? This cannot be fun. (Maybe that's why he sleeps through it all. To avoid the pain of watching Travis Outlaw take a stepback jumper.) Petrie has no clue what's next for the franchise, he has no clue how much money he'll be allowed to spend in any given offseason, he has no clue whether he'll be able to offer enough money to keep Tyreke Evans in purple next season. If he's not explicitly handcuffed financially (which he might be), he's handcuffed by instability, uncertainty, a fog of war that really isn't supposed to exist within a franchise.
The Maloofs are lost. No one knows if one of these other cities will come up with approved funding. No one knows if the NBA Board of Governors will fight Anaheim tooth and nail. No one knows if there's an end-around in Seattle. No one knows if the revenue sharing spigot will remain flush or dry up. No one knows if the team will improve enough soon to reinvigorate the gate and get fans back out. No one knows what's next, not even the men in charge.
The fans are lost. Back before the season, knowing that there was a substantial set of fans unwilling to spend money that would end up in the Maloofs' pockets, I told those fans how to get to a game (one game) cheaply: buy tickets off the secondary market, carpool to the game, don't eat or buy merch at the arena. That set of suggestions cost Greg an opportunity to cover training camp. Well well, now the Sacramento Bee is telling fans to do all of that ... for all of the games. Here We Stay, Crown Downtown ... we're all trying to figure out what to do. We cannot let the end of the Sacramento Kings be quiet. But with a team this disastrously awful, what can we do? I don't want to watch this team after games like that. How can I argue that y'all should want to watch them, or more important, pay to watch them? It's a really gnarly situation.
Another lost season. Hmph.