Grading and Evaluating the Kings Summer League

(From the FanPosts. Solid evaluation from Aykis. -- TZ)

So Vegas is finally done, and the Kings ended up 1-4, but there were a lot of things to see this summer that you can take good things from, and a lot of things we need to work on. We won't be able to watch our guys play against other teams again until October so now its time for them to take back whatever they learned, and continue to work on it during the camps and be ready for pre-season and the regular season.

Evaluations after the jump.

The Grading system is based on an A, B, C, D, F format, with basically C being a performance that was ok, not great, while an A is exceedingly difficult to get. It must mean you played absolutely out of your mind and blew away expectations. I am not giving an A to any Kings player. F means the player played well below expectations and looked like a complete bust on the floor.

Let's start with our Vets.

Jason Thompson - Grade: C

2009 SAC 5 5 33.8 .459 .000 .614 2.8 3.8 6.6 1.6 0.4 0.8 2.80 7.00 19.0

JT had almost two seperate performance this year, the first 3 games being about a D and the last two being a B. JT definitely did not look comfortable to start. He was not rebounding well, at all, with only an average of about 4 rebounds per game for his first three games. On the floor, he wasn't finishing post moves at an efficient rate, and his free throw shooting was not good at all (and it was still bad throughout Vegas). He really does need to work on his Free Throws because he did a good job of getting to the line, with 44 attempts overall. To put that in perspective, 'Reke had 51 attempts. JT's jumper looked pretty good, and his defense was ok throughout the league, although it was much improved in the last two games (when he was playing a lot of Power Forward) and he had a few blocks in each game. David Thorpe tweeted that JT didn't have the lift he used to. I think this is because of all the muscle JT added. Is this a good thing if it affects him in the season? We'll have to wait and see if we want a weaker, faster JT to a stronger, slower JT. Another reason JT's performance suffered this year in my opinion was because he spent a lot of the time playing Center, and to me that's not really JT's position. He works well with Spencer for a reason, and I think he'll have a good pre-season showing.

Donté Greene - Grade: D-

2009 SAC 5 3 22.2 .293 .125 .650 1.8 4.0 5.8 1.2 0.8 0.8 1.60 2.00 7.6

The only reason Donté doesn't get an F is because of his improved defense, which was impressive at times. But it really looked like Buckéts actually got worse. He shot only 29.3% from the field and 12.5% from 3. His FT% isn't good at all either for someone who is supposed to be a good shooter. I don't know whats up with Donté's shot, but it defnitely needs work. Donté did add some bulk over the summer, but he also looked uncomfortable with it. He had a few good post moves but he didn't convert nearly enough of his drives. And most of his jumpers were off. His rebounding numbers were good, and his man-to-man defense was excellent at times (especially in the 4th quarter of the Warriors game against Randolph). But overall this was a craptastic performance for Donté and thats being positive.

Now the Rooks:

Tyreke Evans - Grade: B+

2009 SAC 5 4 30.2 .403 .286 .784 1.2 5.0 6.2 4.2 1.0 0.2 4.20 2.00 19.2

You've got to like what you see in this kid. He is a very ball dominant guy but he didn't seem to have a problem sharing the ball. Even though he only averaged 4.2 assists a game (capped by a 7 assist game against Milwaukee), a lot of his passes were simply either not finished, or the player he passed to was fouled. So he's getting his teammates involved. And the way he hits the boards is impressive, but you almost expect him to do it. I wouldn't be surprised if we see a triple-double or two out of Evans his rookie year. The way he takes it to the rim, its almost a guaranteed score each time, either cause of a layup or from the free throw line, and he's going to be at the line A LOT. Evans defense was also rather good, although he wasn't matched on the point guard very much until the Milwaukee game when he was put on Jennings, and Jennings probably had the best performance of any player against Evans and it wasn't like he was scoring dominantly, with only 13 points. Now the reason Tyreke doesn't get an A is for a couple reasons: His turnovers and his jumpshot. Evans averaged a 1:1 a/to ratio. 4.2 turnovers a game. That needs to be improved, but I'm not duly worried. I think with the better shooters on our team during the season, the assists will go up, and as for the turnovers, that just comes with experience. But at best, they'll only drop to about 3 a game, which is something you can't really help when the guy is going to have the ball in his hands for 90% of the time he's in the game. As for his jumper, that thing is ugly as hell and he definitely needs to work on it. That's probably whats going to determine if he becomes a superstar or not. He sort of flings the ball at the basket and leans back when he shoots. It's hard to contest, but it also doesn't tend to go in that much either. Look to see improvement on that during the season and over the next couple years. We've got good teachers on our staff now, and one of the best shooters ever in Westphal as our Coach. I'm really happy with 'Reke's performance, which would probably have been even better had he not sprained his finger after the 3rd game.

Omri Casspi - Grade: C-

2009 SAC 5 4 22.4 .295 .286 .833 2.2 2.2 4.4 1.6 0.8 0.4 3.40 2.00 8.0

The Zohan is definitely an interesting prospect. If you look at his summer league performance, you can see he had about the same stats as Donte, if not a little better in everything but turnovers. He looked a little out of it to start Vegas, but that's to be expected since the first game was only his 2nd time playing with these guys, and 1st time playing competitively for about a month. Omri is a very scrappy player, and tends to try hard on the defensive end, even if he doesn't succeed, and on the offensive end, has the makings of a good Point Forward, showing some good playmaking skills. He's also much quicker than I think anyone expected. But he's playing too fast in my opinion. He needs to slow down and learn to play in the flow of the game. You can see how out of control he is sometimes by his 3.4 to/g. His jumper is interesting. It looks smooth almost every time, but it either swishes or goes short. He'll definitely need to work on it, because he definitely has the talent to become a very good shooter, and if he can combine that with some of the slashing ability he showed, he'll be a good player in this league. He'll need to adapt to the NBA game and that might take this season, but in a few years, I think he'll be breakout material like Peja and Hedo were.

Jon Brockman - Grade: B-

2009 SAC 5 4 21.6 .409 .000 .450 4.6 4.6 9.2 1.2 0.8 0.2 0.80 3.00 5.4

Brockman did exactly what we wanted him to do, and a little more. He continuously hit the floor to save the ball and a few times that resulted in fast break points for us. On the boards, he would consistently out work much taller guys for the ball and averaged 9.2 rebounds (half of which were on the offensive board) in 21.6 minutes. Defensively he was sort of being taken advantage of by the taller guys, although he tried his best. He probably won't ever be an answer there, although sometimes he'll surprise with the occasional block, and he did well with not fouling, only averaging 3 a game in a league with refs that like whistling almost as much as Jon likes to rebound. Where Jon needs to focus a lot of effort into is finishing at the basket, and more importantly in my opinion, develop a consistent jumpshot. The reason for the jumpshot being more important is Jon's height. He ended up getting blocked quite a few times when he tried to take it inside. If he develops a nice 15 foot jumper that he can make enough to keep the defense honest, he'll be a player in this league for a while. He had mixed results on the jumper in Vegas, some going in, the others badly missing. So hopefully he continues to work on it, because I think he's a lock to make the team. This is definitely a guy you want in the practice room.

As for the other players on the team, I think McNeal did an ok job, and might get a camp invite, although the guy who for certain locked a spot in camp is Marcus Landry. The guy is very skilled and is a great spot-up shooter. He isn't afraid of taking it to the rack either, and his defense was solid. I think we pick up Landry as K-Mart/Cisco insurance. But he definitely has a place in this league, shooting 48.6% from the field (mostly jumpers) and 42% from three.

Overall I was sort of disappointed with our Vegas performance, especially to start. I know wins and losses don't mean much, but I don't like the mindset of accepting any losses, especially after last season. And it was the way we lost games, being up late and then losing it at the end. The comforting part about it is, it wasn't really our team, and Westphal hasn't put his system yet. We'll see how we do in the preseason. We saw some encouraging signs from the rooks this year for sure, and hopefully they'll be successful in strengthening the weak parts of their games.

October can't arrive soon enough. Go Kings.

(This is a FanPost from a member of the Sactown Royalty community. The views expressed come from the member, and not Sactown Royalty staff.)