April 22, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) talks to his coaching staff during the game against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE
I wanted to look back at the Kings' 2011-12 season (who wouldn't?!) so that we have an accurate picture of the past as we roll forward. We'll start with the offense over the next couple of days. Today, some big picture items about the offense in FAQ style.
So, the offense was the Kings' strength in 2011-12, right?
The offense was the Kings' strength in 2011-12 much like navigation was Napoleon's strength in 1812: it was wholly inconsequential to the outcome most nights. By season's end, Sacramento ranked No. 21 in the NBA in offensive efficiency, which is a measure of the team's true scoring aptitude. (Pay not attention to the team's points per game, which were inflated by a fast pace.)
But the Kings' offense got much better after Keith Smart took over, right?
There was very limited data for Paul Westphal's version of the 2011-12 team: he coached just seven games. (That means that Smart owns 59 of those 66 games with the No. 21 offense.) But yes, the offense was better under Smart. In the first seven games under Westphal, the team scored 0.96 points per possession (historically bad). Under Smart, the Kings scored 1.02 points per possession, better but still pretty awful.
But what about when Isaiah Thomas took over at starting point guard? That's when the offense really began to sing.
Isaiah became a regular starter on February 17. Before then, the Kings averaged 0.97 points per possession. From February 17 to the end of the season, the Kings averaged 1.05 points per possession. So yes, Isaiah's promotion is timed with the rise of the Kings' offense. The Isaiah-era performance is slightly above league average, which, for this team, is pretty damn good.
Note though that correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation here. Isaiah becoming a starter coincided with John Salmons, the Kings' worst starter, going to the bench. Jason Thompson also took over full-time starting power forward duties about two weeks before Isaiah rose, and it's pretty obvious that J.T. was the Kings' best offensive power forward last season.
Was the Kings' offense better at home?
Indeed, as it is for most if not all teams. The Kings scored 1.05 points per possession at home, and 0.97 points per possession on the road.
What was the biggest difference at home vs. the road?
Pretty much everything but turnovers -- the Kings turned the ball over at similar rates at home and on the road. But the Kings shot better on twos and threes at home, drew more fouls and rebounded the offensive glass better. Here's the breakdown.
Two-point percentage: 48% at home, 45% on road
Three-point percentage: 33% at home, 30% on road
Free throw rate (made FTs per attempted FG): 0.21 at home, 0.18 on road
Offensive rebound rate (percentage of opportunities rebounded on offense): 32% at home, 26% on road
Who can I blame/credit for the offense?
Next time, my friends! Next time.