Did the Kings improve last year and if so, how much?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Another season, another record with less than 30 wins.  That's six seasons in a row now.  But as we all know, wins and losses don't tell the whole story.  I took a look at some advanced statistics to point out some of the differences between this past year and year's past.

Year ORating DRating Pace SOS MOV FT Rate eFG% TOV% ORB% DRB%
2008-09 105.5 114.7 94.2 10th -8.76 0.315 .491 14.3% 24.5% 69.9%
2009-10 105.2 109.9 94 5th -4.37 0.286 .491 13.6% 27.8% 73.5%
2010-11 103.5 109 95.2 2nd -5.34 0.284 .480 14.4% 29.9% 74.4%
2011-12 103.8 109.8 94.7 2nd -5.68 0.268 .472 13.0% 29.1% 70.5%
2012-13 106.2 111.4 93.6 4th -4.88 0.271 .491 13.4% 26.6% 71.0%
2013-14 105.7 108.8 94.4 3rd -2.9 0.331 .484 13.9% 27.8% 76.6%

ORating = Offensive Rating (Points Per 100 Possesions)
DRating = Defensive Rating (Opponent Points Per 100 Possessions)
Pace = Possessions per game
SOS = Strength of Schedule
MOV = Margin of Victory
FT Rate = Free Throw Rate (FT per FGA)
eFG% = Effective Field Goal % (Field Goal % taking into account 3P% as well)
TOV% = Turnover Rate (Estimate of possessions that result in a turnover)
ORB% = Offensive Rebound Rate (Percentage of available offensive rebounds the team grabs)
DRB% = Defensive Rebound Rate (Percentage of available defensive rebounds the team grabs)

First things first: Damn, NBA! Give us a freaking break already! We have had a top-5 tough schedule for the last five years, and last year's was one of the toughest.  Still, even with the tough schedule, the Kings last year managed to make some major improvement in a couple of key areas.  While the offense became slightly worse (a lack of three point shooters and unprecedented roster turnover helps explain that), the defense, while still bad, was the best it had been since the 2007-08 season, as was the margin of victory, which was more in line with a 32 win team than a 28 win team.

The Kings also improved from the worst defensive rebounding team to one of the best.  A lot of that is credit to DeMarcus Cousins who led the NBA in defensive rebounding rate, but having a real Small Forward in Rudy Gay helped a lot too as the Kings gave up a lot of size in previous years with John Salmons there.  The Kings also attempted a lot of free throws, thanks to DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas and Derrick Williams, all of whom are excellent at attacking the rim.

The Kings are still not a great team, or even a good team, but despite a similar record, they were a better team this year than they have been for a while.  Hopefully we can see that same level of improvement next season.  If we do, the wins will come.

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