Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The Kings stink. But what do they need most? I have a hunch as to where this is going to go.
As NBA trade season warms up, we'll start hearing about more and more trade rumors involving the Kings. Why? Well, because the Kings have a couple players (Tyreke Evans, Jason Thompson, Jimmer Fredette) other teams wants, and because everyone believes that the Kings are so poorly run that they can get the Kings' decent players for cheap. (Whyever would they get that idea???)
So as we ease in -- and the initial leap by Akis and Greg was a lovely start -- it's worth assessing what the team needs. Positionally speaking, this is a fairly exercise.
Here's what the 82games.com data says about the Kings' positional performance.
At point guard, we have a -5.3 PER matchup. Our point guards have been worse than opponents pretty much across the board, most notably in assists (5 per 48 minutes vs. 9). Our PGs shoot more than the opponents' point guards. And worse. More and worse. Turnovers are basically even.
Shooting guard is the only position that the Kings are winning in the PER matchip (+4.6). All hail Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton.
At small forward ... yeah. PER matchup is -6.9. Opposing SFs actually aren't wonderful -- they have the second lowest opponent PER behind shooting guards. But our production at the position is abysmal (8.5 PER). Our small forwards have an effective field goal percentage of .388 this season. .388.
Our power forwards actually aren't doing so hot, with a -3.5 PER matchup. Jason Thompson has more than half of the minutes there, and he's a +3.4. Chuck Hayes isn't in there for his offense (which is an outsized piece of PER), but he's getting killed in limited PF minutes. Thomas Robinson is a -9.7 in 37 percent of the team's PF minutes. Welp.
DeMarcus Cousins is getting more than half of the team's center minutes. He's a -1 in the PER matchup. The team is a -2.3 at the position. He needs to be better, and the Kings will have a second positive PER matchup.
Trading Tyreke for anything less than a star would, looking at these numbers, cause some real problems. We're this bad losing four out of five matchups on an average night. Losing five out of five? Ugh.
Based on this very rough, crude analysis, the positions of need are ...
1. Small forward
2. Point guard
3. Power forward
We know the SF issue can't be solved internally, unless Tyler Honeycutt is ready to be unleashed. Can the PG problem be fixed with Jimmer and Isaiah? (All three PGs have negative PER matchups at the point, but Aaron Brooks takes the cake at -8.5.) How long until T-Rob is a plus, not a minus? Can health for Evans and a return to form for Thornton give the Kings a bigger advantage at SG? Will DMC figure it out?
These are the questions that shape the trade season for the Kings.
Oh, and also ... "how much money did you find in the couch cushions, Joe?"