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Snaps for Mikki, Teamwork

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Sam Amick has a blurb on a possible impetus for Mikki Moore's productive uptick.

Some of Moore's progress may be tied to a recent film session between Theus and Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, the coach said. In 13 games prior to the recent improved stretch, Moore had scored in single digits 12 times.

"I was watching tape of him with Geoff about a week or two ago," Theus said. "We were talking about spacing and particularly talking about ... how Mikki does a great job of setting (screens) but how he needs to widen out and space the floor out afterward. I made a tape up, showed it to Mikki. It just so happened that's about the time he started knocking down shots."

Mikki's offense -- in total -- has not been awful. Every team seems to have the one frontcourt role player, the dirty work/low usage guy. You need a few things from such a player:
  1. Rebounds.
  2. Defense.
  3. Efficient shooting.
  4. Few turnovers.
Rebounds? Spencer Hawes, Shelden Williams, and Brad Miller have all outrebounded Moore substantially this year. Turnovers? He's been no worse than Miller, which is surprising. But Miller's handled the ball terribly this year, so this isn't any sort of ringing endorsement. Defense? He has two more blocks than Francisco Garcia and five more than Ron Artest. But he is a superior defender to both Miller and Hawes. The team's D is two points better when Mikki's on the floor. Efficient shooting? Yep, 2nd only to Kevin Martin on true shooting percentage, and only by a fraction of a percent.

So if we grade this thing in a binary fashion, that'd be a 0 for rebounding, a 0 for turnovers, a 1 for defense, and a 1 for shooting. Two out of four things you'd need him to be.

There's another problem, though: This team isn't good enough on offense to sustain production playing 4-on-5. They don't have to play 4-on-5 -- Mikki can hit those jumpers and he has dunked on all Seven Wonders of the World. But most of the season, they treated him like a leper. And now, because Miller has broken down, they have been forced to use him... and he's doing fine. It makes me wonder a bit if the offense would have improved in the first 60 games if they would have looked for Mikki at the elbow and baseline some more.

(Of course, we all know I would have gnashed my teeth incessantly if Moore started getting too many looks. Hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.)