Two good wins and two very close losses as the Kings came incredibly close to a perfect week. But this is the Kings, so of course that didn't happen.
1. A Couple More Wins Against Good Teams
The Timberwolves and Grizzlies are both teams fighting for a playoff spot in the wide-open Western Conference, and the Kings beat both of them rather convincingly and without one of their best players in Tyreke Evans in one of them. The Kings really looked like a team in both of these games, unselfish and motivated.
2. Points in the Paint
Against Memphis, the Kings scored 74 points in the paint, beating out their previous season-high of 62 points. They followed it up with two more performances with at least 70 paint points (and somehow managed to lose both). The Kings are finally playing to their strengths by attacking inside, and also finding guys open at the rim fr easy baskets. I always hated when Paul Westphal would talk about the Kings lack of assists by saying that players wouldn't make shots and that cost them. The fact of the matter is that you're more likely to get an assist if you set up a guy for an easy shot, like right at the basket.
3. Ball Movement
At least 21 assists in all four games this week, and 28 twice. This is becoming an unselfish team, from the bigs to the guards. This has been a big transformation from earlier in the season, as it wasn't until the 14th game of the year that the Kings even reached the 20 assist mark. Keith Smart deserves a lot of credit for getting these guys to share the ball.
See Player of the Week
5. Ten-Day Terrence
The Kings picked up Terrence Williams on a 10-day contract after he was waived by the Houston Rockets at the trade deadline. Williams was the 11th pick in the 2009 draft, but had had off-the-court problems in both New Jersey and Houston. The Kings have no problems acquiring a "problem player" if they think the talent is there, and Williams definitely has the talent. He actually played crunch time minutes against Golden State and played very well defensively and aside from a costly turnover, performed decently on offense as well. I'm pretty sure we'll end up signing him for the rest of the season, and maybe even for a little longer than that. This was a nice pickup.
6. Tyreke's Efficiency
Since coming back from his injury, Tyreke has seemed to adapt much better to his role, forcing less and playing to his strength (attacking the basket). Tyreke shot 59.5% from the field in the three games since he's come back. This is exactly the type of way Tyreke needs to play going forward, because he's too good of a slasher to be sub-45% from the field.
7. Marcus Thornton's Offense
Marcus Thornton was scorching most of this week, particularly in the wins. Against Minnesota he poured in 24 and then upped that against Memphis with 31. He was much slower in the next two games, but he hit a couple clutch shots that almost won the game against Utah. When Marcus has it going, he's about as good a scorer as anyone in the league. He's adding to his game too by moving the ball, getting multiple assists in each game, topped by 6 assists against Memphis.
8. John Salmons
The Kings have finally seen John Salmons play like they envisioned he might when he came over last year. Part of the reason for this improvement (as noted by section214) seems to be the fact that Salmons doesn't spend as much time with Tyreke on the floor anymore. Tyreke and John are both similar in the regard that they both need the ball in their hands to be at their most effective. Keeping each with their own units for most of the game seems to play to both of their strengths. Salmons has provided offense both with his scoring and distributing, and he plays with the most consistent defensive effort of any King.
The Kings have started a Rookie of the Year campaign for Isaiah and I think it's great. There is absolutely no chance that he wins, with Kyrie Irving having a rookie campaign for the ages, but hopefully he begins to get the respect he deserves. Isaiah continued his solid play this week, and as the stats show, his play makes his teammates better.
10. Donté Greene Effective in Limited Minutes
Donté doesn't usually see extended minutes, but he's been able to make a nice impact when he does play. He's attacking inside more and only shooting jumpers when he's really wide open and within the flow of the offense. It's a shame it's taken him 4 years to play like this.
1. Close Loss to Utah
The Kings came back in this game and almost won, but Al Jefferson's tip-in with 0.9 seconds sealed the deal for Utah. The Kings lost this game in the first half though, falling behind early and allowing Utah 58 first half points. The Kings defense stepped up in the second half, particularly the 4th quarter, but defense is not something you can play in spurts if you want to consistently win games. The Kings also shot just 12-21 from the line, including several misses down the stretch.
2. Marcus Thornton's Defense
As good as Marcus has been on offense, he's been pretty bad on defense. Marcus does a good job of getting steals through help defense and playing the passing lanes, but he does a bad job of staying in front of his man, getting lost off of the ball as well. Marcus's size plays a factor here, but size isn't everything. Look at Isaiah's play on that end and it's evident.
3. Big Man Depth
By waiving J.J. Hickson, the Kings have a lack in big man depth, a problem considering that DeMarcus Cousins is a foul machine. Hassan Whiteside has filled in a little bit but he's still way too raw to see meaningful minutes and Donté Greene/Travis Outlaw are SFs masquerading as PFs. This is definitely going to need to be a priority this summer. I like Chuck Hayes though, his passing and defense have been superb and he had one of his best games this week against Minnesota.
4. Outside Shooting
The Kings really have struggled shooting from the outside for the whole year, but this week was particularly bad. Sacramento hit just 17 of 75 three point attempts (22.7%). The problem is that the Kings only play two good three point shooters major minutes (Isaiah Thomas and Marcus Thornton), and their wings are largely terrible from three. Surprisingly the Kings aren't the worst three point shooting team in the league, as there are a whole three teams worse! If only Jimmer Fredette could play Small Forward...
5. DMC's Inefficiency
DeMarcus's poor shooting has less to do with him taking bad shots and more to do with him being impatient than anything. Too often he'll just throw the ball in the general vicinity of the hoop, and either try to get the rebound for another attempt or hope it goes in. Against Utah, it was really evident, as he went just 9-28 from the field, while his counterpart, Al Jefferson, went 13 of 19. The good news with DeMarcus is he's still incredibly young and you can only really go up from here. He needs a lot more patience and fluidity around the basket, where he sometimes makes things more difficult than they need be. One thing I'd really like to see DeMarcus learn is to kick the ball back out if he's not in good position, and then get better position before calling for the ball back. If DeMarcus shot 50% from the field, he'd be at about 18.7 points per game already, and he doesn't even average 30 minutes of play. I would love to see DMC really focus on refining his interior game this summer.
1. J.J. Hickson Waived
J.J. Hickson was waived this week after failing to make nearly the impact the Kings had hoped. Sacramento had tried to trade him at the deadline and were not able to. This was a huge fall from grace from the young prospect that the Kings gave up Omri Casspi and a conditional pick for. A lot of people are upset at Petrie for making the trade in the first place, but I'm not sure many people thought it was a bad trade at the time. I'm more upset at J.J. Hickson for not putting in the effort to try to adapt, to stop playing to his weaknesses, and he didn't.
2. Late game mistakes in Oakland
The Kings committed 5 turnovers in the final 2 minutes of this game and it probably cost them the game considering they were only down a point or two most of that time. At least three of them were unforced. Isaiah's with 4 seconds left was completely inexplicable as he simply lost the dribble out of bounds. I don't think he's turned it over like that before in his life.
Player of the Week:
15.3 PPG, .543 FG%, .727 FT%, 12.7 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.3 STL
Ever since the trade deadline, Jason is playing the best basketball of his career. Part of that definitely has to be the work of new big man coach Clifford Ray, but a lot of the credit has to be given to JT for putting the work in. JT's been a beast at getting open off the ball right by the rim. He's also refined his post-game and brought back the mid-range jumper that had been his bread and butter the last few years. His rebounding numbers have gone up, and he's also starting to hit his free throws again (Jerry was right, Jason's regression at the line was really strange). Jason has gone from a guy who I'd only consider a third big, to someone who I probably wouldn't be upset about having the starting role long-term if this is what we're going to see consistently.
Image / GIF of the Week:
He make Cousins look like he is Yoda.
Comment of the Week:
- Offer to open a jar for your wife. Fumble it through a neighbor's window.
- Go play a pickup game. Frantically wave your arms for a pass while 15 feet out of your
range. Bonus points if it is 15 feet from the hoop.
- Offer to open a jar for your wife. Fumble it through a neighbor's window.
- Just enjoy being thebest power Forwardin the NBA. You've clearly earned it.
- Find a nicerent-free apartment.Bitch over lack of amenities.
- Make love with your wife. Fumble her through the neighbor's window.
- Reminisce over the good times back on one of the worst teams ever. It's so unfortunate how they just didn't see what could have been.
FanPost of the Week:
Kings can still make Playoffs by folsomfella because HAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm sorry, I admire your optimism.
Highlight of the Week:
"Get that fitness ball away from me!"
Last Week's Runner-Up: AnotherStupidSN
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 a 10-second contract with the Kings. You get paid by the hour.
Question of the Week:
There was a since-refuted report this week that Geoff Petrie would be getting an extension soon. I feel like most Kings fans would have thought this a bad idea, especially considering Petrie still has a year left on his deal.
My question to you is, what do you think needs to happen for Petrie to get an extension where you'd be fine with it? For me, this team needs to be competing for a playoff spot by the end of next year, or well on it's way to one. Petrie will have a lottery pick, a high 2nd rounder, and a bunch of cap space to work with. Another sub-30 or even sub-35 win season would be a huge disappointment.
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
@ Houston 3/26 W (The Rockets are really hurting, with both Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin out. Still, this is a team fighting for a playoff spot, and they have two very good defensive centers in Samuel Dalembert and Marcus Camby to stop DeMarcus. I'm putting faith in the Kings to win a road game for once and I'm not sure why.)
v. San Antonio 3/28 L (Beating the Spurs on the road might have been the most unexpected victory for the Kings this year. The Kings have beat some very good teams at home, but the Spurs are now pretty healthy and have Ginobili back, who didn't play the last time these two teams met.)
@ Utah 3/30 L (We've played them three times already, and both losses were very close. However, this is the road, and I can't predict the Kings winning two road games in the same week.)
v. New Jersey 3/31 W (The Nets have a few very good players in Deron Williams and Gerald Wallace. Rookie MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries are also pretty good. But the rest of this team is pretty terrible. At home, this is a game where we should be looking to take care of business.)
Nostradumbass Record for the Season: 26-22