Kings sharing the ball less as season goes on

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Kings are passing the ball less and turning it over more as of late.

Last night against the Nets, the Kings turned the ball over a season-high 25 times and assisted on just 11 of 36 field goals.  This highlights a disturbing trend for the Kings this season, as their assists have gone down each month while turnovers have gone up.

Month Assists Turnovers
November 21.5 12.4
December 20.4 15.4
January 18.6 14.9
February 17.6 15.0
March 15.8 17.4

Part of this has to do with the Kings having an offense that relies on three people: DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas.  Those three are usually the ones with the ball in their hands, and all three excel in isolation.  The Kings don't have a lot of motion in their offense, with our two best players at moving without the ball also being our least experienced (Ben McLemore and Ray McCallum).  A lot of the Kings offense involves dumping the ball into DeMarcus Cousins or having Gay or Thomas penetrate and try to make something happen.

Another factor into our lack of assists is that Sacramento doesn't have many knock down shooters.  The hope is Ben McLemore can become that, but as we covered last week, that's a ways away from happening.  Currently our best three point shooters are Isaiah Thomas (35.7%) and Travis Outlaw (36.9%).  Earlier this year the Kings had more shooters, as Salmons, Patterson, Fredette, and Thornton have proved at one time or another to be able to hit threes at a good rate, but those players have all been moved or let go, and that's hurt the Kings spacing.

Sacramento's also one of the best teams in the league at getting to the line, with the 4th most makes and attempts and 3rd highest rate in the league.  That brings down assist numbers a little bit just because a pass leading to free throws doesn't count as an assist.

The increasing turnovers is a much bigger problem than the decreasing assists in my opinion.  As Coach Malone has said often the last few weeks, the Kings aren't good enough that they can afford to give the other team extra possessions.  Many of the Kings turnovers also cost them sure points; I haven't seen a Kings team this bad at running a fast break since I don't know when.  So many fast breaks this year have been ruined by either not making the smart pass, failing to pass, or just throwing a really bad pass.

Taking care of the ball and finding the open man go hand in hand.  Less dribbling and more moving without the ball will help both issues.  These problems are far from the only ones this Kings team has, but for a team that is trying to learn to win, it's important not to add problems to the many that already exist.

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