Golden State is not a very good team, especially once you take Corey Maggette off the court.
Is Sacramento any good? It'd be hard to watch these three home games and insist otherwise. Maggs or not, the Warriors brought Stephen Jackson, Andris Biedrins and Rob Kurz to ARCO. Rob Kurz! And at no point past the opening minutes of the third was it even close. Even with Kevin Martin -- absolutely ablaze with energy and execution -- missing the last 15 minutes, Sacramento pulled away. For every dynamic option the Warriors offered, the Kings one-upped them. Brandan Wright? Here's Spencer Hawes off the bench, with 14/11/3 in 26 minutes. Kelenna Azubuike? Here's Bobby Brown with 13/3 and no turnovers. Jason Thompson outblasted Anthony Randolph (who also happens to be the most hilarious basketball player I have ever seen). For every Warrior who gave his team a chance, the Kings had a preferred option.
This Sacramento team has talent, that is unquestioned. The youngsters off the bench -- Hawes, Thompson, Brown -- would excite any roster in the NBA. If they can play consistently (as they certainly have so far) and the starters can hang with the opposing units (as they have in the three home games and in two of the road games), this team might win a ton more games than we would have guessed a week ago.
Of course, that's dependent on Kevin Martin's health. With less than five minutes to go, Reggie Theus subbed in something like a starting lineup, despite a 13-point lead. Don Nelson had given up, so it didn't feel like a "we're in danger" move by Theus. Martin's fall was nasty, and I think we all feared he might be out a while when he limped off the court. No doubt, Theus feared the same. I wonder if putting the starters (plus Bobby Jackson at the two and Hawes in for Mikki Moore) served to take a look at a Martinless starting five in anticipation of an injury of length? Theus has to be concerned about where the offense would come from. You aren't going to get Detroit to play up-tempo (though perhaps Allen Iverson changes that some). Slowing the game down hurts the Kings -- Brad Miller is better in the half-court, and perhaps Beno Udrih is as well. But Salmons, Jackson, Moore ... those guys are much better in a game like Sunday's. Without Martin, you'd be depending on the surest of hands to compete with Detroit, because you won't have someone to bail you out with a procession of ridiculous buckets.
I didn't see anything out of the reconstituted starting five in those final minutes
(the Warrior five was awful, and the game was out of reach). But just seeing them on the court together made me worry a bit. I love you, BoJax, but I really hope you don't have to start on Tuesday.
(If the season ended today, the Kings would be the eighth seed. Too early?