"Sacramento, Party of 7? Your future is ready."
1. Lucky Number Seven
On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council voted on the proposed Term Sheet and to begin negotiations with various parking companies. We needed just 5 votes, and ended up with 7 of the council voting for it, with just Kevin McCarty and Sandy Sheedy voting against. Arena supporters made a huge showing, with the council chambers being full a half an hour before the meeting was set to begin, and a line stretching out to the street. In the end two overflow rooms and the Old City Hall building were also full as Sacramentans came out to witness history. It was the culmination of over a year of work to get to this moment, and the end of almost a decade of failed arena attempts. It is clearly not the last hurdle, but it was perhaps the most significant one.
There are so many people that I personally want to say thank you to, and I'll probably end up missing someone that is equally deserving of thanks, so I apologize in advance.
First off, thank you to Kevin Johnson. Without him and Think Big's hard work and convincing the NBA that Sacramento could get this done, the Kings are playing in Anaheim right now.
Thank you to Angelique Ashby, Robert Fong, Steve Cohn, Jay Schenirer, Bonnie Pannell and Darrell Fong for voting in favor and taking this thing one step closer to being a reality.
Thank you to Blake and Candace Ellington, Tom Ziller, Ed Montes, Kevin Fippin and James Ham, without who which the Here We Stay movement would not have been nearly as successful.
Thank you to Carmichael Dave and KHTK for really helping to spread awareness and drive the grassroots movements with Here We Build and simply by continuing the conversation and momentum.
Thank you to all the businesses that stepped up last summer when KJ needed to show the NBA one more reason why Sacramento deserved another chance.
Thank you to David Taylor and ICON, the unsung heroes of this effort, as without them, we don't have a viable plan.
Thank you to AEG for making an investment in Sacramento.
Thank you to Joe and Gavin Maloof, who put their money where their mouth is last week in Orlando, and have worked hard to try to earn Sacramento's trust back this past year.
Thank you to David Stern and the NBA's Relocation Committee for listening to KJ and deciding Sacramento deserved a chance to finally get this thing done.
Thank you to Sacramento City County for also contributing money to the arena effort.
Thank you to Mike Tavares and #FANS for their undying support, particularly in showing up to council meetings and even sending flowers to KJ in Orlando.
Thank you to many members of the Sacramento Kings organization for their support of the grassroots movement, particularly after last year. Craig Amazeen, Devin Blankenship, Chris Clark, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Wise, Scott Moak and the rest of you deserve major props.
Thank you to Alex Kramers in New York who organized the show of support in New York city last year.
Thank you to Isaiah Thomas, not just because you're awesome, but because you're awesome AND came to the City Council meeting to show support for a city you've only been in for a few months.
Most of all, thanks to all of YOU for showing your support this past year, for this team and for this city's future.
2. Domination of the Defending Champs
Earlier this year the Kings played one of the worst games in franchise history in Dallas against the Mavericks, scoring just 60 points and losing by 39. They only had 23 points in the entire first half of that game. The roles were reversed this past Friday in Sacramento, and while the Kings weren't quite as dominant as Dallas was in the previous matchup, they controlled the game. The Mavericks never led and the Kings got the lead by up to 21 points in the fourth quarter. Every player contributed, and the defense and ball movement were very good. The Mavericks themselves looked sluggish, but it was still as good of a game as I've seen the Kings play these past few years.
See Player of the Week
4. Isaiah Steals the Victory
This was an ugly, ugly game. No DeMarcus Cousins for Sacramento as he was out sick with food poisoning, and New Orleans was even more depleted, but that didn't stop them from outworking the Kings for most of the night. In the end it looked as if Sacramento was going to be upset at home by the Hornets, as they were up one and simply had to get the ball inbounds to be fouled. Trevor Ariza lofted into the backcourt to New Orleans' best shooter, Marco Belinelli, who was being covered by the 5'9 Thomas. It should have been easy, but Thomas bothered the pass enough for Belinelli to fumble it, and Isaiah stole the ball away and found John Salmons streaking to the rim for a layup. Equally impressive on the other end was Tyreke's defense on Trevor Ariza in the final Hornets possession, forcing him into a tough fadeaway that ended up short, giving the Kings the victory in their first game of a 9-game homestand.
5. Tyreke's Scoring Efficiency
Tyreke this week was much more selective of when he should try to score and what shots he should take, and it showed up in his scoring efficiency. He was one made shot away from shooting 50% from the field over the past four games, and that's about where he needs to be. Part of the reason is Tyreke shot less jumpers and attacked the rim more. What jumpers he did take were less off the dribble and more set shots. Until Tyreke gets a reliable jumper, this is how it should be.
6. John Salmons Thriving off the Bench
Ok, "thriving" might be too strong of a word, but he is certainly playing much better off the bench than he was in the starting lineup. Keith Smart has Salmons essentially playing Point Forward of the second unit, and it puts the ball in his hands, which we all know is where he is the most comfortable. The only game where the Fish didn't score double digits this week was in Phoenix, but he still managed to chip in a couple assists, rebounds and steals. He's just been very good all around in this new bench role and that's great for us, because our bench has been pretty weak this year.
Speaking of our bench, Cisco has come off of it to provide another spark, both in shooting and help defense. Against Dallas in particular, Cisco came over and got a few key blocks and steals, which is where he excels. Cisco's also the best spot-up shooter the Kings have aside from Jimmer Fredette, so I like him being on the floor.
8. Jimmer's Growing Comfort Level
With each and every game, Jimmer seems to be coming into his own a little bit more. Against New Orleans especially, Jimmer did a great job of running the second unit while taking good shots. Jimmer finished with 10 points (on 50% shooting), 5 assists and no turnovers in 27 minutes off the bench.
9. Chuck Hayes Defense and Passing
Hayes has proven to be exactly as described when it comes to his defense and passing. He's got some Vlade-like vision from the high post, and it helps that our players have been consistently cutting since they know they'll get the ball now. Assists at the rim are the best, because they're most likely going to result in points or a foul, and those are the ones Hayes gets a lot of.
10. Donté Stepping Up When Called
Nobody on the Kings has seen more inconsistent playing time over the last four years as Donté Greene. This week, Donté was inserted into the starting lineup twice, received a DNP-CD once, and played 15 minutes off the bench in the other game. He was put in the starting lineup vs. Dallas and Phoenix, to better match up with Dirk Nowitzki and Channing Frye. Against Frye, the Suns tried to post him up, but it didn't work, and Frye finished just 3-12 from the field. The Mavericks did the same thing, but unlike Channing Frye, Dirk Nowitzki can post people up, and scored a quick 4 points against Donté. But in the end, Donté finished with 11 points and Dirk had just 13 points. I'll take that any time.
11. Hassan Whiteside Seeing Meaningful Minutes
With J.J. Hickson still out with his hip injury, Smart gave Hassan Whiteside his first meaningful NBA minutes in games against the Nuggets and Hornets. He performed admirably in Denver, scoring 5 points, grabbing 7 boards and blocking 2 shots in 15 minutes. He also got minutes in the Hornets, and although he didn't look as good (he's still incredibly raw), it was nice to see him get a real opportunity.
12. Keith Smart Gets His 2012-13 Option Picked Up
Yes, I'm putting this as a good thing. I like Keith Smart so far, and he's essentially had to coach this team on the fly, with little practice time (thanks to a compressed schedule and a bajillion road games). I know some would have liked the Kings to wait this summer and see what is available, but I think giving Smart a full year with a proper training camp is worth a look. Signing a brand new coach this summer adds even more inconsistency, and if you lock up that person to a three or four year deal, you run the risk of another Westphal situation.
1. DeMarcus Cousins Energy Level
Ever since coming back from the All-Star break, DeMarcus has not looked like the same player we saw in the first half of the season. He's been walking around more, settling for more and more jumpers (and hitting at a much lower rate), and not boxing out for rebounds. This week, DeMarcus had two games where he had 5 or less rebounds, and while he had 14 boards in Phoenix, he scored 16 points on a whopping 20 shots, an incredibly inefficient rate. His weak performance against Dallas made more sense because he was still feeling the after-effects of his food poisoning that caused him to miss the game against New Orleans. That was Cousins's first missed game due to injury or illness. It could be a bit of a sophomore slump for Cousins and it is worth keeping an eye on.
2. Second Half Collapse in Phoenix
The Kings started off very well against the Suns, leading by five going into halftime. The offense completely went out of sync in the second half however and the Kings failed to score more than 19 points in either of the final quarters, while Phoenix went on multiple runs and hit a few threes to put the game out of reach in the final quarter.
3. Chuck Hayes Inability to Hit Point-Blank, Wide-Open Shots
Is it just me or does Hayes have one shot a game where he just badly misses a really close shot with nobody on him? I don't know why I notice it specifically with Hayes, because JT and DeMarcus do it just as well. Maybe it's because Hayes doesn't take many shots, so when he does, it's more noticeable.
4. Defensive Rebounding
This was particularly noticeable in the Dallas and New Orleans games, as both teams killed the Kings on the glass. Against Dallas, the Kings let the Mavericks get 17 offensive rebounds and let the Hornets have 11. Even the Suns outrebounded the Kings. For a team with the size the Kings have, they really need to control the boards better and keep opposing teams off the offensive glass.
1. DON'T FOUL AT THE END OF GAMES WHEN IT WILL COST YOU THE GAME
I really, really wanted to make this the second straight week without anything in the Ugly column, particularly after the monumental city council vote, but I have to put the game-losing foul that cost the Kings the game in Denver here. The Kings were up 5 in the final minute and up three with Denver having the last possession. All the Kings had to do was either foul before the shot, or not let the Nuggets hit a three. The Kings tried to foul Afflalo before he shot, but didn't do it hard enough (and should have told the refs beforehand that they were going to foul) and Afflalo had time to rise up and shoot. Thornton contested him too closely, and was called for the foul as he hit his arm. Afflalo hit all three of his free throws to send the game to overtime and the Kings lost.
Player of the Week:
22.5 PPG, .479 FG%, .417 3P%, 1.3 APG, 3.8 RPG, 1.3 STL
Yes, Marcus made a bad mistake against Denver with that foul, but the Kings also wouldn't have been in the position they were to win the game without Marcus' scoring, which has been top notch as of late. He scored 20+ in three of the four games this week, and against Dallas, he had 17 points on just 9 shots and only didn't score more because of the blowout situation. I know some people think Marcus is too one-dimensional and that all he does is score. But he's very good at that and scoring is a good thing to be very good at. It also helps that he's been doing it more efficiently lately.
Image / GIF of the Week:
So since you mentioned I.T....
Comment of the Week:
we would go 10-1 in this homestand
FanPost of the Week:
Naming the new arena by rcubed37 - Not so much for the FanPost itself, but the thread of name suggestions it generated. My favorite is the "Edipus Complex".
Highlight of the Week:
Just for fun
Last Week's Runner-Up: sj60615
DeMarcus Cousins, caught in midair preparing to swallow yet another rebound.
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 gets
Question of the Week:
The Trade Deadline is coming this week, and it should be an interesting one. Do you think the Kings make a move, and if so what do you think it will be?
I believe the Kings will be a cap mule in some other deal, and will also move J.J. Hickson for something, anything. I don't think there will be any major trades for the Kings this Thursday, although I'd really like to see just how available Josh Smith is.
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
v. Atlanta 3/11 L (The Hawks are a tough team and I can't seem to recall the last time we've actually beaten them. Hold on, I'll go check. Alright, looks like it was December of 2008. That being said, I think we are good enough to win at home, but Atlanta is a good road team.)
v. Golden State 3/13 W (These matchups are always interesting and close, but the Kings should have the upper-hand at home)
v. Detroit 3/14 W (We need revenge after almost beating Detroit a couple weeks ago. This time it'll be on our court)
v. Boston 3/16 L (The Celtics are not a good road team, but they are still a very good team and one the Kings haven't beat in the KG-Allen-Pierce era)
Nostradumbass Record for the Season: 24-16