Vivek, Pete and Michael--Our three wise men that rode into
Bethlehem Sacramento bringing us their own version of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to our new(Re)born King(s) and sweet Jesus what an early Christmas Miracle we have received. After the break I will talk about some of our Kings gifts and share a little hope and holiday cheer.
By sending off Greivas Vasquez--the trial consolation prize in the sign and trade with New Orleans for Tyreke Evans--IT is finally free to fully lead this team. In June, I evaluated the Kings Point Guard Position and shared how IT was comparable statistically with the elite point guards in the League but it was somewhat drowned out by the Bobby Jackson 6th man comps and the excitement of having a
Ricky Rubio pass first point guard. While I don't disagree IT has done great coming off the bench and would likely have won 6th man of the year honors, on a team lacking stars and depth the Kings could ill afford to share 25.8 mpg with GV at the expense of IT's production and rookie PG Ray McCallum's development. Aykis did a good job earlier today highlighting IT's success as well.
IT's Career Per 36 Numbers show mass improvement this season over even his solid numbers his first two years. His assist percentage of 34.6% is 10th in the NBA even while on a team that ranks 21st in Field Goal Percentage and having had a bench that was next to last in NBA in Field Goal production. IT's Win Shares per 48 of .196 rank 3rd behind only Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. He is 6th in scoring at 18.2, 5th in 3PA and FTA despite playing an average of 6.5 mpg less than his top ten peers. Oh yeah he is 5th in 3P% and FT% too. He is 10th in steals and 27th in defensive rebounds so he is not perfect but he is not just worthy of being the starting point guard on the lowly Kings, he could be starting on every team in the league not already in possession of an NBA All-Star Point Guard. Still not convinced he should be our starter? Bah Hum Bug to you I say.
Yesterday we finally had a chance to see what IT can do without the anxiety of having to prove that he should start. And if either Ben or MT could make a flippin basket last night, IT ends up with 16 assists to go with 24 points including 4 - 6 from behind the arc. Everyone of you that complained about IT not having the court vision that GV has well let me make this point. Sometimes vision includes taking the shot versus giving up the shot. I hope his 12 assists last night serves notice that he has the instincts to lead this team beit finding his shot or passing it to an open man and his efficiency suggests IT has the discretion to make the right choice most of the time. Unlike Greivas, IT uses that same vision to get steals and force turnovers at critical times in the game to get stops. In short IT is the gift that keeps on giving.
Boogie Nights! string up the lights, down with the fights, playing dynamite! Last night against Dallas give me hope that DMC is becoming the Center this team needs. Note to the officiating crew: Dirk was not set for that monster dunk you robbed him of. He also should have had 3 more assists had a few Kings made a few easy shots. He still had a some knucklehead turnovers but 36 minutes with just 2 fouls 31 points and 19 rebounds? Thank you Santa Claus! I expect DMC will be getting some Windex for Christmas for all the glass he has been cleaning this season. Can we get this guy in the all star game stat?!
Demarcus is diving for balls, hustling back on D, actually asking and listening to officials and playing the best basketball of his career. Among post players this season DMC is 3rd in scoring, 7th in rebounding, 2nd in Steals, 11th in Assists, 2nd in FTA, 3rd in FTM and even 14th in blocks. You didn't deserve the early extension but gosh golly gee whiz you are earning every penny sir! well done.
I love Derrick Williams. Unlike other options that the kings have rolled out at the SF spot, Derrick can play both ways. We don't need 31 points every night but limiting Marion to 8 points and 3 rebounds while grabbing 5 boards and 5 steals? Hells to the yeah! I hope there is more where that came from and keep the dunks rolling.
But wait there's more! Spring cleaning came early this season as the Ghost of Christmas Past(wheeze)John Salmons along with the scraps of Christmas Present in Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes and Greivas Vasquez were whisked away with their Scrooged rebounding, defending and scoring that would surely have spoiled our holiday cheer. Instead Pete St. Nick came sliding down the chimney with The GrAcy Trio straight from the North
Pole providing some great stocking suffers in both Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray. First there is actually a back up C hidden in the bottom of our stocking. 7' 270 lbs, can he be our Pollard? 12 minutes of brute to tenderize the post while DMC swaps headbands and powders back up? What a joy to the world that would be.
Second there is depth at the 3. Yes you heard it right hear folks! The Sacramento Kings now have not one, not two, not three, but 4 forwards who can play the 3. With Acy joining Williams and Outlaw we can actually have a battle royale on who gets those 15 minutes with the bench mob at SF and another 6-10 minutes at PF. Guys that are athletic, strong and can rebound. Not small SGs in a platoon role.
And yes we have Rudy Gay who may just represent the
ghost gift of Christmas Future. Queue the Music: I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and gay! If the early returns with DMC are any indication of Malone willing his way with the team, trust that Gay will assume a role that takes advantage of his strengths within an offensive scheme that most benefits the team. Yes he does play D too! Drink up your spiked egg nog and worry not about his shooting percentages. As a King, his usage will be down, his shooting percentages will be up and his clutch numbers (ranked 10th in the NBA going into last season) will carry over giving us a real option when we need a basket to tie or win a game for the first time really since #10 played on the Kings.
Gay was #32 on ESPN's player rankings in 2012 before being shipped to
Siberia Toronto last year and put in a role that didn't play to his strengths. He brings NBA veteran experience, and the knowledge of how to develop from a lottery team that won just 22 games in 2006-7 to being a 46 win team 4 seasons later before he was sent off to Toronto.
While he won't expected to be the main scoring option on this team that is lead by IT and through DMC in the post, it will better align to how he played in Memphis with Zach Randolf and Marc Gasol as the primary options set up by Conley. Even at his current production he is still arguably the best athlete and NBA player on the roster which many of us have always contended is necessary for this team with DMC and IT as the proven starters on it.
All of these presents gifted to us by our three wise men have boosted my holiday spirits.
Lets Sing Jingle Bells:
Watching this year blows
just losing every day
Had our GM Pete say, "NO!"
"That's not how we'll play!"
GMs' phones will ring
until this roster's right
Now its fun, we have a wing
to start and play each night
Oh Cow-town Bells, Cow-town Bells
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun, our Sactown Pride
when we win the game today
Oh Cow-town Bells, Cow-town Bells
Jingle all the way
Oh what fun, will be this ride
with a playoff win someday!