Oh quit complaining JT. You had a bad week. And now you have something to work up to! You'll thank me later.
First things first though. The prestigious Mr. Ziller has asked me to join the rank and file of StR as an Associate Editor. It went pretty much like that scene in The Office where Michael promotes Dwight from Assistant to the Regional Manager to Assistant Regional Manager. No increase in pay, more work, and a huge ego boost for me. Oh and I also have the power to edit all of your posts to say "Aykis16 rulez!". So worth it.
On a more serious note, it has been almost a year since I first "officially" joined Sactown Royalty. I did not think at the time that I would ever be featured on the front page, create a new curse word, or that I would have met people who are as passionate about the Kings as I am. This blog not only contains some of the best Kings fans in the world, it also is one of the better sports blogs in the world because of the level of discussion that is provided on a day to day basis. For that I am thankful. This board features some great editors in Ziller and 214, but its all of the rest of you and the depth of detail that we go into that makes this site so great. I don't have the time to thank each and every one of you, so instead a huge rec for all of you.
On to the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
1. Funny Sean May anecdote (100% true)
I have to share this. Friday night I was playing NBA 2k10 for the first time. During my first quick game, Sean May was substituted in. I had him pump fake and take it to the rack for a slam. Right after he slammed the ball down all the power in my house, the neighborhood, the street lights, and the shopping center by my house went out. If thats not God's way of telling a Sean May fat joke, I don't know what is.
2. Ime Udoka
Not only did Ime's contract become guaranteed for this year, he also had a pretty darn good week. He almost became the 10th King to score 20 points this year in the Warriors game, and was also the only player who was consistent that game (only 1 turnover and 3 missed shots all game). He's been incredibly efficient on the offensive end of the floor as of late, shooting a 61.9% from the field this week, including 50% on long balls. He also had a team and career high 14 rebounds against the Warriors. Ime is the ultimate team player. I actually sort of hope we sign him again next year, he'd be good just to have around our young guys.
3. Spencer Hawes is back
Does Spencer Hawes read StR (see Peaches t-shirt)? Because he's been playing pretty great ever since my fanpost. He didn't really play all that much against Phoenix because of how well Jon played, but he is finally confident on offense again, and is also making some timely defensive plays. He seems to have altered something in his shot as well, because there is more arc and he's hitting them more often. A blistering 65.2% from the field this week for Spence. Next up for Spencer's improvement: Rebounding. Otherwise, keep up the great work.
4. Tyreke Evans
This guy is amazing. Not many 20 year olds want the ball in their hands with the game on the line and can do something about it. Against Denver he seemed finally to shake the rust from his injury absence and stopped being so tentative on offense. I really want to focus on the Denver game for Tyreke here because there's so many things he did that were good. First off, he only had 4 assists, but he should have had 10. In the first quarter he was driving and kicking to wide open shooters constantly. That move is so good when the defense collapses on him. Unfortunately for Reke and the Kings, nobody could buy a bucket in the first half. Still, that is exactly what I want to see from Tyreke when Kevin comes back. And Tyreke's jumper was money last night. He shot 3-4 from 16-23 feet last night, and 1-2 from 3. His shot looked smooth. The fact that we're already seeing results with his jumper as a rookie tells me he'll end up being a very good shooter in this league. And that's scary, because this man with a solid jumper is unguardable.
Beno is going in the good column for almost single-handedly bringing us back in the Phoenix game. He also tore up the Warriors in the first half and had a decent game against Denver. Beno has really come out strong this year, and I definitely see a future for him in Sacramento.
6. Omri Casspi reaching the #1 Rookie spot on David Thorpe's Rookie Rankings
Omri had a stellar month in December, and a great end especially. As such, Thorpe felt the need to reward him with the #1 spot after Tyreke's absence. There's no doubt in my mind that Tyreke is getting the Rookie of the Year award, but Omri is definitely a top 5 rookie as well.
7. Jon Brockman
See Player of the Week. I would also like to say that I think there isn't a guy in the NBA who is hated more on the court and loved more off it.
8. Garcia back at Practice
This is great news. Cisco finally practiced with the team and it looks like he'll be re-evaluated during the road trip and could be back as soon as the Kings come back from their 6 game road trip to play against the Warriors at home on January 26th. That is the earliest Cisco will come back by my estimation. Kevin Martin could be back in a uniform as soon as Jan. 15th in Philadelphia. Great news all around for the Kings.
9. News that the Kings are looking to use their cap space to improve the team
I think its good that the Kings are looking to still improve the team by taking advantage of other teams cap situations. The rumor is the Kings are looking to get a 2nd round pick, but I think the real reason is to get a cheap big man for a year, and that they might as well get a pick as a thank you.
1. Omri Casspi's Rookie Wall
Omri had a great game against Phoenix, but against Golden State and Denver, Omri seems to have hit the rookie wall a little bit. He's already played 34 games, not including preseason and the summer league and you can just tell by the way his shots are falling short lately that he's a bit tired. And that's completely fine because Omri has surpassed everyone's expectations for this year, and probably next year too. The best part about Omri is the way he still contributes even when he's not playing that well. He boards extremely well for his size and position (15.7 DRB rate), and he hits clutch shots (that 3 at the end of the Denver game). I'm not too worried about Omri. Great find and pick by Petrie.
2. Jason Thompson
Well it looks like Desmond Masonitis has found a new host. JT has been going into a minor slump the past two weeks, but no week was more evident than this one. He shot 13 of 38 (34.2%) from the floor this week, and for a 6'11 Power Forward, thats just plain awful. The elbow jumper that had been looking so good earlier in the year has seemed to completely leave him, and thanks to hoopdata.com's new boxscores, you can see he only shot 2-10 from 16-23 feet this week, 1-4 from 10 - 15 feet, 4-11 from < 10 feet, and 6-12 at the Rim. He was also 0-1 from 3, but that was a halfcourt heave so it doesn't matter. Also, he averaged 4 turnovers a game in the 3 games this week. He's letting his frustration get to him, and its affecting the Kings in a very negative way. Jason needs to learn to keep his emotions from affecting his game.
3. Sergio Rodriguez
Is it just me, or does it seem like when Sergio comes in now, he looks more for his shot than a teammate? I don't know why he thinks he's coming in for scoring, his job is to create easy opportunities for others, and when you're so good at that, why try something you're not good at?
4. Andres Nocioni
A good performance against Phoenix keeps him off the Ugly for now. I think I'm going to start calling him Chuck, because he doesn't see a shot he doesn't like. He can be very effective when he's going, but when he's not he just kills the ball movement. Its a little like John Salmons except that Noc doesn't dribble for 20 seconds, he just shoots. I don't see any way he stays past the trade deadline, especially with K-Mart and Cisco coming back.
5. Donté's ankle injury
It looks like its only relatively minor and that he'll be back playing soon, but hopefully it doesn't end up being more serious. Donté has improved so much this season, especially on the defensive end of the court, that I've actually started to notice when he's not playing. His passing, defense, and shot selection have all been excellent this season and he's definitely proved himself to be a vital cog to this team. Get well soon Donté.
1. 2nd half of the Warriors game
Kings up 15 at the half, extend the lead to 20 in the middle of the 3rd, and then lose by 7. What went wrong? Everything really. Monta Ellis caught fire, the Kings decided to quit ball movement like a smoking habit, and nobody could buy a bucket. The offense and defense were simply horrible. That you can only score 13 points in a quarter against the worst defense in the NBA says you do not deserve to win the game. A little flak has to be given to Coach Westphal here as well for sticking with the same players for much of the half. Why not play Spencer or Brockman, who were playing well, instead of JT and Casspi? This half was pretty much an epic fail by everyone on the Kings. Props to the Warriors for taking advantage.
2. Bill Ingram
Yeah, this guy is still a douche. The fact that he might get paid for his "writing" makes me want to vomit in my mouth.
3. All the damn "Trade Kevin Martin" posts
Seriously people stop it. Let them play for more than 5 games before you start talking out your butts.
Player of the Week:
5 PPG, .417 FG%, 8 RPG, 4.33 ORPG, 1 SPG
Those numbers are not great, but when you consider what we were expecting out of Jon Brockman this year, they're awesome. The Brock Ness Monster has been a force to be reckoned with in games, coming in and providing decent defense and excellent rebounding. He earned his way into the Starting Lineup against Denver, and although his offense was a bit iffy, he pretty much did exactly what we wanted him to do. Congrats Nessie. And while I don't think he'll be in the Starting Lineup against Orlando (Dwight would destroy him, Rashard would torch him), I don't think this is the last time we've seen of the Brock Ness Monster starting.
Comment of the Week:
Highlight of the Week:
You might think I'd go for Tyreke's buzzer beater, but I found this earlier shot of his to be much more impressive:
Oh J.R. Smith. You made my week there.
Last week's contest winner: NoceOne
Kings coach Paul Westphal participates in the latest Kings ticket promotion, "Get Touched by Coach Westphal Night". Off-camera: contest winner Pookeyguru awaits his prize.
This weeks picture:
Most rec'd caption wins.
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
v. Orlando 1/12 L (Orlando hasn't been playing that well as of late, and Dwight Howard will destroy us. Having him near the basket is not good for Tyreke either)
@ Philadelphia 1/15 W (The start of a 6 game road trip, and possibly Kevin Martin's return. Kings are going to want revenge, and this time at least Evans will be back. Possibly Martin)
@ Washington 1/16 W (Last time Tyreke stole the ball from Arenas in crunch time to seal the deal. This time there's no Arenas. Watch out for Jamison and Butler, but the Wiz have no answer for Tyreke.)
Nostradumbass record for the season: 19-17