FanShot

Bruski... talking kings basketball and that one pizza guy.

1

It's from a fantasy perspective, but, as always, he delivers good insight. "THE PIZZA GUY DELIVERS Isaiah Thomas needed a bit of a reality check, as his defense had been slipping and being told to gun for the second unit his shot selection and ball security became issues over the past two games. Hence, the two stinkers and we saw Greivis Vasquez secure most of the playing time in that span. Things were on track for a similar outing as Thomas sat on just three points entering the fourth quarter, with Vasquez on his way to a 12-point, seven-assist night and 26 minutes under his belt. Then the Pizza Guy delivered … and delivered … and delivered again. You could see the fire brewing, and the concentration lapse that can happen when a young player (finally) gets recognition simply disappeared. Thomas was back to playing excellent on-ball defense and like he did last year in Oklahoma City, he took over the fourth quarter and outscored the Thunder all by himself by the score of 21-19. He did it all – heat check threes from well beyond three, defensive plays diving on the ground, and the only thing he couldn’t do was race the ball up the court with no timeouts to score on a game-tying attempt that bounced off the rim. Mike Malone raced out to center court to hug his player, knowing that he had been down recently, reminding him that the end result didn’t matter here. The Kings and Malone are tired of moral victories, but this was exactly that and it’s not surprising that locker room sources all talk about the great job that Malone is doing in Sacto. DeMarcus Cousins, who was a late scratch due to a seemingly minor ankle injury, is volunteering all over Sacramento and with obvious exceptions he’s toeing the line just fine this season. While the Kings look terrible at times, they continue to play twice as hard as they ever did in the past five seasons. For guys that have frustrated owners at times like Thomas (through no fault of his own), this is a great sign for their fantasy value. Thomas is a top 50-60 value on the season and should be in lineups all season long barring an unprecedented faceplant. For however much the team and local media want to make Vasquez the poster boy, Thomas drew his name into concrete on center court and even his staunchest detractors were left slack-jawed and yodeling. He is the beating heart of Sacramento’s increasingly scrappy unit. Ben McLemore scored 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting with two threes, three boards, three assists and a steal in 29 minutes, and he’s doing the typical play-too-fast thing that rookies do. He’s still flashing incredible upside a handful of times per game. On a chase down block attempt his hand hit above the square, so start lobbying for him now to be in the dunk contest. In fantasy leagues he is putting up 14-16 team value over the past week and that makes him a mid-level roster stash right now – the minutes will be there late in the year and the only question for owners is when it all comes together. You can count me out of the group of people that are sipping the Derrick Williams Kool-Aid, whether we’re talking fantasy or reality. Williams scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting with one steal but goose-egged the rest of his stat line over 27 minutes, highlighting why he has a long way to go before anybody should be anointing this trade a win for Sacramento. Yes, the deal was fundamentally sound, but Williams has to do his part and that means crashing the boards, playing defense and understanding the offensive flow. A few flashy dunks aren’t selling me on any of those three issues and in fantasy leagues there’s nothing really to grab onto here. He’s not going to put up huge popcorn numbers consistently enough to offset his deficiencies in 12-14 team formats."

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