In continuing our end of the year wrap up on the Kings, we now take a look at the Kings' weakest and most troubled position: The Wings. Sacramento has desperately been looking for a solution at the wing ever since trading Ron Artest and despite it being four years since he suited up, the Kings are no closer to finding a solution than when they started.
Sacramento's wing players were so terrible this year, it defied imagination. Their best wing player, Terrence Williams, was brought in on a 10-day contract after the season was halfway done and is now an Unrestricted Free Agent. The wing player with the most experience and biggest contract, John Salmons, had the worst season of his career in a big way. Another wing player the team picked up before the season, Travis Outlaw, followed up his career worst year in New Jersey with an even worse year in Sacramento. Donté Greene had a career-best year and still didn't manage to play at even an average level for an NBA player. Tyler Honeycutt is a raw rookie who barely saw any playing time.
Clearly, the Kings have a lot of work to do this summer in terms of shoring up the wings. Again.
I will be using several sources for my analysis. First, I'll be using the Advanced Statistics found on Basketball-Reference (PER, TS%, AST%, etc.). I will also be using mySynergySports.com to give a more in-depth look at how our players perform each possession, both offensively and defensively. mySynergySports.com uses PPP (Points Per Possession) to track individual players. They track individual play types on both ends of the court and I will be provding samples of each players major play types. For the shot location statistics, I'll be using HoopData.
The following statistics were compiled as of the end of the 2011-12 season. If you would like some explanations of the following statistics, Basketball-Reference has explanations here.
NOTE: I took off 82games.com's On/Off court ratings as they hadn't been updated since April 1st. If you're interested they can be found here.
PER: 9.0 (Career-Low)
TS%: .471 (Career-Low)
AST%: 11.1% (Career-Low)
BLK%: 0.4% (Career-Low)
Offensive Rating: 99
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.84
- Spot-Up (27.4%): 0.91
- Isolation (24.2%): 0.81
- P&R Ball Handler (15.3%): 0.82
- Transition (13.6%): 1.11
- At Rim: 0.8 FGM / 1.1 FGA (78.0%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.7 FGA (20.0%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.4 FGM / 0.9 FGA (47.6%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.9 FGM / 2.4 FGA (39.0%)
- Threes: 0.7 FGM / 2.4 FGA (29.5%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.13 (Huge Drop)
Defensive Rating: 112
Overall Defensive PPP: 0.91
- Spot-Up (40.1%): 1.09
- Isolation (17.8%): 0.84
- P&R Ball Handler (15%): 0.61 (19th in NBA)
- Post-Up (10%): 0.94
- Off Screen (9.7%): 0.71 (19th in NBA)
The Kings made a big commitment to John Salmons this past year. They dropped 3 spots in the NBA draft lottery and gave up a good player in Beno Udrih to get him. The thinking was that the team needed experience and defense at the wing spot, and it also cleared up room for Jimmer Fredette (and Isaiah Thomas, but that wasn't the thinking at the time) at the Point Guard spot.
It hasn't worked out so far. Salmons had the worst year of his career by far, suffering huge drops in several statistical categories. The biggest problem with Salmons in Sacramento is that he was not being used in a role that he was comfortable in. Salmons operates best with the ball in his hands as a Point-Forward, and the Kings were mostly relegating him to a spot-up shooting role. With him and Tyreke Evans both on the floor, the team suffered, particularly as Salmons went through the worst shooting slump of his career.
Things began to look up for John later in the year when he was moved to a bench role in which he was the primary ball handler and facilitator. John started to get back into a bit of an offensive flow and the Kings began to finally see some dividends from the trade. Of course, that's when John Salmons re-aggravated a hip injury that he had been dealing with all year and he ended up sitting out the rest of the year.
Defensively, John suffered by playing a bit out of position. The team noted his defensive improvements in Milwaukee in Chicago, but that came at John's more natural position, Shooting Guard. At Small Forward, John lacks the height and strength to guard the kind of wings that need a special defender on them.
For better or worse, the Kings are stuck with Salmons for at least the next two years. Ideally, he'd get back to form a little bit and we can chalk this year up to the lockout and various injuries hobbling him. He seemed to really find a comfort zone off the bench, and if he can fully accept that role, that'd be huge for a team lacking depth. The Kings do have the option to amnesty John Salmons, but that would mean the Maloofs spending money to pay a player not to play, not a likely proposition.
TS%: .483 (Career-Low)
ORB%: 1.4% (Career-Low)
AST%: 5.8% (Career-Low)
STL%: 2.3% (Career-High)
BLK%: 3.4% (Career-High)
USG%: 14.4% (Career-Low)
Offensive Rating: 101
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.88
- Spot-Up (48.8%): 0.79
- Transition (15.1%): 1.03
- Off-Screen (9.7%): 1.08
- At Rim: 0.5 FGM / 0.6 FGA (80.0%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.1 FGA (71.4%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.0 FGM / 0.2 FGA (18.2%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.3 FGM / 1.0 FGA (33.0%)
- Threes: 0.8 FGM / 2.7 FGA (29.0%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.13
Defensive Rating: 108
Overall Defensive PPP: 0.95
- Spot-Up (40.4%): 1.0
- P&R Ball Handler (15.8%): 0.64
- Isolation (14.9%): 1.06
- Off Screen (12.7%): 1.07
Francisco Garcia has never seemed to fully recover from the freak wrist injury that he suffered at the hands of a faulty exercise ball. His statistics have dropped significantly since, and he's never realized whatever upside the Kings saw in him when they gave him his initial contract extension, which coincidentally, ends after next season.
Cisco's greatest strength has always been his shooting, so when he can't do that, he brings little to the table. This year he saw a huge drop in shooting efficiency, particularly from the perimeter, where he shot a miserable career-low 29% from three. He also handled the ball less as the Kings finally have more capable playmakers.
Defensively, Cisco's best assets are as a help-side defender where he can use his uncannily good shot blocking instincts to block shots and steal passes. However, Cisco often lets defenders blow by him or leaves his own man in order to try to get those blocks and steals, which leads to trouble more often than not. For a veteran, Cisco often plays a lot like a player still making rookie mistakes, probably the result of being a veteran who has only played for the same bad team his entire career.
PER: 11.8 (Career-High)
ORB%: 2.6% (Career-Low)
DRB%: 16.9% (Career-High)
AST%: 6.8% (Tied Career-High)
BLK%: 2.7% (Career-High)
TOV%: 9.9% (Career-Low)
Offensive Rating: 100
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.87
- Spot-Up (40%): 0.74
- Transition (20%): 1.18
- Isolation (11.4%): 0.59
- At Rim: 0.9 FGM / 1.3 FGA (71.6%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.2 FGM / 0.5 FGA (34.5%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.3 FGA (43.8%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.3 FGM / 0.9 FGA (35.0%)
- Threes: 0.5 FGM / 2.0 FGA (23.8%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.21
Defensive Rating: 110
Overall Defensive PPP: 1.06 (450th in the NBA ... out of 478)
- Post-Up (28.8%): 0.96
- Spot-Up (26.2%): 1.23
- Isolation (20.6%): 0.98
- P&R Roll Man (9%): 1.24
Donté Greene came to Sacramento four years ago in the Artest trade, with the hope that he would one day develop into a capable Small Forward. Along the way he has changed roles from scorer (like his rookie year when he jacked up every single shot he saw), to defensive role player, to Power Forward, to Stretch Forward. He never remotely lived up to his potential on the court, and even in this past season, his best to date, he was not an average NBA player or even close.
The Kings used Donté a lot at the Power Forward position this year, which was not good for his defense. Those defensive synergy numbers made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. He was not good defensively in any area, and it's no wonder we didn't see him used more often for "defensive purposes" as some, including myself, suggested throughout the year: He's not a good defender. One place where he benefited from by playing the PF position so much was his rebounding, which saw a sharp uptick this year and is probably single-handedly responsible for the increase in PER.
Offensively, Donté really has no strength. He likes to shoot, but is a bad shooter. His 3P% has gone from bad to worse, and he never really developed an attacking game despite it being pretty successful whenever he did do it. Donté always seemed to settle for less, and a vast majority of his shots were spot-ups, which isn't necessarily good for a bad shooter.
Donté's contract expired after this season and he's eligible to become a Restricted Free Agent if the Kings give him the QO, but I think they'll simply cut ties and let him go. This makes me sad as a fan of Donté Greene the person, for all he did off the court. But it makes sense from a basketball standpoint, freeing up a roster spot or playing time for someone else.
TS%: .428 (Career-Low)
DRB%: 9.7% (Career-Low)
AST%: 4.8% (Career-Low)
Offensive Rating: 91
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.77
- Spot-Up (34.6%): 0.72
- Isolation (16.8%): 0.64
- Transition (11.7%): 1.4
- At Rim: 0.5 FGM / 0.7 FGA (72.4%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.2 FGM / 0.5 FGA (50.0%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.3 FGA (15.4%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.3 FGM / 1.4 FGA (23.0%)
- Threes: 0.4 FGM / 1.5 FGA (26.7%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.26
Defensive Rating: 110
Overall Defensive PPP: 1.03 (441st in the NBA)
- Spot-Up (32.7%): 1.04
- Post-Up (19.7%): 0.97
- Off Screen (16.3%): 1.42
- P&R Ball Handler (15.6%): 0.91
- Isolation (11.6%): 0.94
Travis Outlaw came to the Kings in a surprise addition after they claimed him off of the Amnesty wire for $3 million after New Jersey cut him. The reason New Jersey cut him was because they had invested $35 million over 5 years for a player who saw a huge drop off in production from his days in Portland.
The ideal Travis Outlaw, the one that played in Portland, would have been absolutely perfect for the Kings. In Portland, Outlaw was a good deep shooter and good rebounder. He was never a good defender, but he could block shots.
In Sacramento, Outlaw was even worse than in New Jersey. His three point shot sunk below 30%, yet three point attempts constituted over a third of Outlaw's shots. One thing Outlaw did decently this year was get to the line, where he had the highest Free Throw Rate of any of the Kings wings. His Free Thow % of just 67.4% was not good though.
Defensively, Outlaw was used similarly as Greene for most of the year, as a Stretch PF. He didn't (and couldn't) do much of a better job than Greene did.
Outlaw had a bit of a nice run over the last few games of the season, but that was but a small blip compared to the vast evidence of the previous two years that he has lost something since leaving Portland. Can he find whatever it is that made him such a valuable bench producer again? Or are the Kings stuck with this type of production for three more years? He still has a chance to redeem himself, and everything I've heard about him say he's a very hard worker and a good locker room guy. For his sake and the team's sake, I hope he figures it out.
Offensive Rating: 92
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.69
- Spot-Up (20.7%): 0.33
- Transition (20.7%): 0.83
- Isolation (13.8%): 0.0
- Hand Off (10.3%): 1.67
- Offensive Rebound (10.3%): 0.67
- At Rim: 0.3 FGM / 0.6 FGA (55.6%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.0 FGM / 0.1 FGA (0%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.0 FGM / 0.1 FGA (0%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.7 FGA (20.0)
- Threes: 0.1 FGM / 0.3 FGA (33.3%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.21
Defensive Rating: 108
Overall Defensive PPP: 1.11 (454th in the NBA)
- Spot-Up (55.6%): 1.25
- Isolation (16.7%): 1.17
- Post-Up (11.1%): 1.75
- Off Screen (11.1%): 0.25
**Extreme Small Sample Size Warning**
You really can't take any of the data for Tyler seriously because the sample sizes are so small and almost always came in situations where the game was decided. I mean, he took just 24 shots the entire season. Had he made 4 more, he would have looked like an amazing shooter with 50% accuracy. There's just not enough data on Tyler to analyze him statistically.
What I did like when I saw him on the court was his activity on the defensive side of the ball, where he lacks the strength and experience necessary to be a good defender. He seems like he'd be a particularly good help defender, kind of in the vein of Cisco in that he can come over for weakside blocks and steals.
Offensively, I was impressed that for the most part as a rookie he tried to play within himself and didn't force it. He made some nifty passes, didn't take too many bad shots (or shots whatsoever) and generally just tried to be a good teammate. There's definitely a future for Tyler in the NBA, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he progresses as he bulks up and gets more playing time.
Offensive Rating: 99
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.84
- Spot-Up (22.2%): 0.76
- Transition (18%): 0.74
- P&R Ball Handler (16.4%): 0.81
- Isolation (14.8%): 1.46 (1st in NBA*)
*Small Sample Size alert. Williams amazing Isolation PPP came on just 28 overall plays in which he shot an awesome 19 of 25 from the field.
- At Rim: 1.0 FGM / 1.6 FGA (62.1%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.6 FGM / 1.4 FGA (44.0%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.6 FGM / 1.0 FGA (61.1%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.9 FGM / 2.3 FGA (40.0%)
- Threes: 0.4 FGM / 1.5 FGA (29.6%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.24
Defensive Rating: 108
Overall Defensive PPP: 0.86
- Spot-Up (31.6%): 0.68
- P&R Ball Handler (29.1%): 0.7
- Off Screen (13.9%): 1.0
- Post-Up (10.1%): 1.0
- Isolation (8.9%): 1.29
Finally, a wing player who played better than average for the Kings. Terrence Williams was brought on late on a 10-day contract after the Houston Rockets waived him. From the moment he stepped on the court, he made an impact, and the Kings ended up signing him for the rest of the season, 18 games in all. With that in mind, remember Small Sample Size, so I'll be doing some comparison to his career numbers.
Offensively, Williams was easily the Kings best bench player, as he was able to both facilitate for others and create opportunities for himself. His 24.6% assist rate was 2nd highest on the team and is just a bit higher than his career number of 21.7%. If you look at his shot location, Williams was one of the few Kings to actually show some variance in where he took his shots, and had a nice distribution all around the court, with decent to good percentages everywhere except for three (which lines up with his career numbers as well). He was a monster in Isolation in the limited time we saw of him. One thing that he did do poorly on offense was that he was rather turnover prone, which has been a knock on him since coming to the league. His 17.5% Turnover rate is very high for a playmaking type player, and it's only slightly higher than his career number of 15.9%. Like the last Williams #55 who was here, Terrence often tries to make passes that aren't there.
Defensively, Williams was very good at contesting spot-up shots and at guarding the Pick and Roll, but had trouble elsewhere. His PPP against and Defensive Rating were the lowest of any of our wing players by a good amount though, and he has the athleticism and length to guard the 1, 2 or 3 positions. Terrence also uses his insane athleticism to grab a lot of rebounds, rebounding about as well as you would expect a Power Forward too (he had the same DRB% as Hickson did in his time on the Kings). That is not a fluke compared to his career numbers either, and in fact was just a bit lower than his career rate of 20.1%.
To me, Williams definitely deserves to be brought back, on a one or two year deal to see if he really has grown up and can contribute to a team that needs him. The questions with Terrence have never been about his talent but about his mental make-up, and he seemed to acquit himself well in Sacramento.
Coming Tomorrow: The Bigs