I could've and probably would've spent a couple more hours adding synonyms for bad to this if I wasn't sick.
An 0-4 week. Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I angry? Yes.
The Good (Yes, despite the doom and gloom, there was some good this week):
1. Jason Thompson
See Player of the Week
2. Donté Greene
Greene is showing signs of becoming a much more complete player than he was last year. The only thing that hasn't improved on so far this season has been his shot, and aside from a couple forced shots every now and then, he takes good shots. A consistent jumper/three and he might be the 2nd best player on this team already. His rebounding is WAY up from last year, and its looking like its not based on small sample size anymore. He's passing the ball better and he's also turning it over half as much. He's finishing at the rim and near the basket much better than he has so far in his career as well. I'm really, really liking what I've seen from Donté.
3. Luther Head's Defense against Chris Paul and Deron Williams
Luther definitely performed admirably against possibly the two best point guards in the NBA right now in back-to-back nights, limiting them to a combined 21 points on 6-26 shooting. Both players were still able to find their teammates at will (combined 23 assists), but Luther took away their scoring in a big way.
4. Dalembert's Defense
Samuel Dalembert is a master of protecting the basket. He had 12 blocks in about 93 minutes this week (1 every 7.8 minutes), and would've had one more but for a horrible goaltending call in Utah. The fact also remains that the Kings misuse him. As HighTops mentioned, it was a terrible decision to put Dalembert on Blake Griffin in the Clippers game, as it got him into early foul trouble, meaning he could only play around 9 minutes (Yet was a +7 during that 9 minutes and had 3 boards and 2 blocks as well. He could've been a difference maker in that game had he been used properly to guard against guard penetration).
5. Omri Worked Himself Back Into the Rotation
Omri is too good to not get playing time such as during the New Jersey and New Orleans games. He's the most consistent shooting threat the Kings have (5-9 from three this week, bringing his season 3P% to a good 40.4%). Its his defense that needs the most work, and knowing Omri, I'm sure he'll work very hard on it through the season and especially in the offseason.
6. DeMarcus Not Giving Up Against Utah
It was nice to see our young rookie Big make a point of not giving up against the Jazz despite the game being a lost cause
1. The Kings Need Shooters
In all four of the Kings wins so far this season, there has been one thing in common: they have hit a good percentage from three, never less than 35.7%, and a combined 44.7%. In the rest of the games (all losses), the Kings have shot a combined 26.5%. Yet the funny thing is, during those losses, we shoot an average of about 4.7 more threes than during our wins, despite making one less. The Kings need the three to be effective, as it opens up the paint for guys like Tyreke, Carl and DeMarcus. Opposing teams are content to pack the paint against us, because right now we usually never have more than one good shooter on the floor at a time. If guys like Donté and Beno can find their strokes once again, it will really, really help our offense.
2. Carl Landry
82Games.com finally updated their database to reflect the current season. According to their statistics (last updated 11/21/10 so does not include the games from this week, but Basketball-Reference has him as tied for the worst Defensive Rating with Beno), Carl is our worst defender, with the Kings giving up about 19.3 Points Per 100 possessions with him on the court compared to him off it. The Kings also utilize Carl very poorly and get him the ball too infrequently. The lack of good shooters hurts him about as much as it hurts Tyreke, as it forces him to shoot those mid-to-long-range jumpers I so despise. Perhaps a move back to 6th man would suit Carl best, allowing him to feast on opposing 2nd units.
3. Tyreke Evans is Playing Like a Rookie ... and Not a Very Good One
Until a good 1st Half against Chicago, Tyreke had probably the worst three game stretch we've seen from him since very early in the season last year as he was trying to figure things out. He failed to reach 10 points twice, and the one time he did he only scored 11. He had more FGA than points in every game but the Chicago one (when he had both 17 points and 17 FGA), and he is clearly frustrated out there. During the 4th quarter of the Chicago game, he was on the bench with a 7 point lead, and when he came back in, the game was tied. The WGN feed showed him shaking his head as he entered the game, and you could tell he was extremely frustrated. One thing he has done better as of late though is his defense, as he seems to truly be trying and making an effort on that end lately.
4. Pet Peeve
I have a few pet peeves in watching basketball: I don't usually like to see my big men shoot jumpers or threes unless they're really good at it (like say a Bargnani or Nowtizki). I don't like seeing other teams get offensive rebounds off missed free throws. But perhaps the one that frustrates me the most (and its happened quite a bit this season, or so it seems) is when an opposing player is on a breakaway, and then the Kings give them an And-One by stupidly putting a hand on them that doesn't affect them at all. If you're going to foul a player, at least try to stop the shot from going in, or if you can't do that, then just don't foul at all.
5. Playing DeMarcus Cousins for the Sake of Playing DeMarcus
At times I think we play Cousins too much, and especially in critical moments. I'm all for developing him, but he continuously seems to make the same mistakes and bad decisions (particularly on offense) and I don't want to reinforce bad habits. I'm all for playing him 15-20 minutes a game and seeing how he's playing during that time, playing him more only if he's playing well, otherwise giving the extra minutes to JT. This opinion of mine was brought on by the Hornets game, where I think having DeMarcus in hurt us enough to cost us the game (3-11 in 24 minutes with 4 turnovers), compared to JT who had played quite well during his limited stint, yet never saw much court time after that.
Why does Antoine Wright get playing time? Guess who has the worst defensive rating on the Kings? Yeah, Antoine Wright. Stop playing him. Seriously.
7. Pooh Jeter Isn't Ready to Make an Impact
Its not his fault either, but Jeter really isn't ready to become even a viable backup Point Guard in the NBA. He showed nice flashes against Utah in garbage time, but in similar minutes against the Clippers he was wholly ineffective.
1. B*no Udr*h
I can't even say this guys name without cursing right now. Against the Jazz, he personally killed all of our momentum in that atrocious second quarter, and that was with his normally reliable offense. Its extremely frustrating to see him yelling out all these directions and then simply running into a packed lane, spinning, and either turning it over or throwing up a bad shot. Then against Chicago, he played every single minute in that terrible 4th Quarter. Why again? He was 2-7 on the game, and a -17 in 27 minutes. I don't know why Westphal went with him.
2. Speaking of Westphal
There are a few things that worry me, like above in the Chicago game, when he played Beno every single minute of the 4th quarter, despite it being Luther and Reke as the backcourt that got us the lead. Then in the Post-Game Conference, he was asked (credit to James for asking the question) why JT barely played in the fourth despite his great game, and he said it was because of matchups with Deng. First off, how the hell does he get off saying that Deng was a bad matchup when just a week or so ago we were playing JT at the SF position regularly against guys like Mike Beasley and Rudy Gay? And why does he continue to let his rotations be dictated by the opponent instead of trying to force the issue himself? Carl Landry played 16 seconds in the fourth. A quarter where we scored 9 points on three field goals. Do you not know what Carl does? He scores. He gets to the line. That's all he does, and that's all we needed. It would've been better than half the "plays" we ran during the game. There were other poor decisions made throughout the week in the other games as well (I really don't like how often we play well for a quarter and then decide to go with a completely new lineup to start the next quarter, like in that 2nd quarter against Utah). Some of the blame absolutely should go on the players for failing to execute and giving up on defense at times, but some of the blame also has to go to the Coach. Ziller's right. Westphal's clock is ticking.
2. Post-Game Quotes After the Bulls Game
Watch the Post-Game presser from Westphal. Watch the video of the player reactions. Read James notes and quotes when it comes up. There is a lot of bickering going on right now, and a lot of things being said by both the coach and players that worry me (from the players, the things Tyreke said worry me especially). This could end up getting really ugly if things don't change for the better soon.
3. The Clippers Game on TNT
Possibly one of the worst games I've ever seen the Kings play. Just a lack of effort all around, especially in the second half, and simple things like the pick and roll absolutely destroyed us. Barkley joked after the game that Westphal should win the Coach of the Year for getting 4 wins out of the Kings. After watching that game, I was inclined to agree with him.
Remember before the season when all those "Most Watchable" teams lists came out and the Kings were pretty high on everyones lists? Well I'll tell you right now that I don't think there is a team as unwatchable as the Kings are right now. Either the offense stinks, or the defense stinks. Or both. I haven't had fun watching a whole Kings game at all yet this season. The most enjoyment I've gotten is from a good quarter or two (the Raptors game was really fun to be at in person, but that first half was pretty terrible). I would probably even be happy with just 40 minutes of good basketball right now, because at the moment it only seems we can manage to play well for 24 minutes a game at the most.
Player of the Week:
18.3 MPG, 7 PPG, .476 FG%, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG
Jason didn't put up gaudy numbers, and really only had the one breakout game against the Bulls, but other than the Clippers game, he came in and played well in whatever limited minutes he received. In fact, he probably should be playing more, like he did against the Bulls, and I'm all for keeping him in the Starting Lineup. He's a better defender than Carl, a much better rebounder than Carl, and most importantly, he facilitates ball movement. When Carl gets the ball, he's going to try to score. Defenses know this. Houston knew it too, and thats why they had him come off the bench as an offensive sparkplug. JT needs more minutes than he's been getting. The only category JT isn't performing at a higher rate than his career totals are his shooting, and that's not a surprise given how he's been used up to this point this season, with his minutes and position being yanked around.
Image / GIF of the Week:
Comment of the Week:
Highlight of the Week:
By my count this means that Kings fans have twice so far this season hit shots to win cars. That's more times than the Kings have played a quality game. If you do want an actual Kings highlight, this slam from JT was pretty nasty.
Last Week's Winner: amonk81
Dalembert – "…and then coach West said, ‘JT, you play the three’ ."
Landry – "ha, ha, ha………."
Coachie – "Stop it, stop it. I’m gonna’ puke."
Last Week's Runner-Up: AnotherStupidSN
Dally: What’s wrong, Coachie?
Coachie: Nothin’. Nothin’s wrong.
Dally: Why are you covering your crotch with that ball?
Coachie: I said nothing. No reason. I’m not.
Dally: You took the wrong pill again, didn’t you?
Carl: OLD MAN BONER!!!
This Week's Picture:
A reminder of the rules for the Caption Contest. Leave your caption in the comments below, and the most rec'd (to recommend a comment, hit action, then rec) caption wins.
This week's caption contest winner will be traded for Aaron Brooks.
Question of the Week:
Do you think Expectations from the Draft, combined with marketing by the Kings organization this year (the Here We Rise / Bigger.Better.Badder Campaigns) have helped attribute to the feeling of despair clouding this franchise right now? Were we expecting to be much better, especially early in the season with most of our games at home?
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
v. Indiana 11/30 W (I should know better by now and probably simply be putting L's in the column for the Kings by now. But if any game needs, and I mean needs to be won or at least not badly lost, this is it. The games after this become much tougher.)
@ Los Angeles Lakers 12/3 L (We can't even beat the Clippers, who are we kidding)
v. Dallas 12/4 L (Dallas is playing incredibly right now. I'll be pleased if this isn't a blowout loss)
Nostradumbass Record for the Season 6 - 9