In the beginning the season was a freefall...Coach/player feuding, unbalanced line up, injuries, on court confusion and disarray leading to woeful efforts and humiliating losses. Here at Sactown Royalty the wolves were howling the blame game. Since that low point some decisive moves, from last year and this year, have paid great dividends.
The drafting of Evans, Cousins, IT, and Jimmer is looking better and better. Each of these players has a game to go, and each is working very hard to improve and be the best they can be. Cousins has skyrocketed, and Evans is now working on moving without the ball, while quickly improving his passing game. Both have unique physical skills that will only improve as they mature. IT is showing us that Mr Petrie still has quite an eye; IT is proving to be a phenomenal pick. Jimmer has tremendous backing at Sactown, and awaits more opportunity to prove himself.
The signing of Thornton is solid . On a team srtruggling to score, and to be aggressive, Marcus provides both. He has a variety of ways to score, and isn't shy at all about going hard to the rim. He works hard on both ends of the floor, not content to be a defensive liability. With continued improvement of the Kings, he would be a great man off the bench. The other man from the past---Jason Thompson----has improved tremendously. His defensive improvement means less fouls and his attitude adjustment equals less T's. In keeping his composure he also has his game under control, with improved shot selection and a left hand. If the Kings add that shotblocker to the starters, Jason would be an awesome man off the bench. As is is, he and Demarcus are a tough frontcourt.
That may be only five or six players, but it is a very young and rapidly improving group, sharing good chemistry and cohesion. Offensively they have transcended the disarray, monotony and failure of the one on one dribbling attack, and begun to move the ball ahead in transition, while sharing it with crisp passes in a half court set. The number of assists per game is rising quickly, with turnovers reduced.These improvements come with a two steps forward, one step backward process(learning curve). However, these guys were the youngest team in the league,strangers to one another, had no preseason or established roles or rotation, a minimum of practice time and a brutal road-laden, fast paced schedule!
Enter Coach Smart. Suddenly, cohesion and improvement. Defensively, the Kings have improved tremendously. In the beginning of the year they surrendered easy points in transition, often gave the opponents the first option on offense, and broke down on any penetration, or reversing of the ball. Now they stop transition opportunities, make appropriate and aggressive rotations, and deny easy penetrations and ball reversals. Offensively, as previously noted, much better ball movement, shot selection and cohesion.
Let's just hope as the season progresses that another solid role player or two emerges. Hayes is getting his rhythm, Garcia still plays some good minutes, and Greene has a chance to get a grip on his career. If Hickman,Honeycutt, Outlaw or Whiteside become an upside, more power to us!
This year a young improving group awaits the draft and off season free agency.