After Sacramento's solid win in Detroit Wednesday, the Kings -- as you well know -- have eclipsed 2008-09's win total. But the more important relevation is in the continued success of the Tyreke Evans-Kevin Martin offense. Over the team's past five games, the Kings have averaged 110.4 points per 100 possessions -- well over the league average. Three of those games were on the road (albeit against weak defensive teams), the other two against presumptive Western playoff teams (albeit one of which can't defend). Given the struggles the Kings had in scoring against mediocre teams in January, this is a good sign. The team comes back to host Boston Tuesday, and yikes! to that, in terms of keeping the offense going. But after that, the Kings play exactly one above-average defensive team the remainder of the month -- Utah, in Sacramento, on Feb. 26. The offense can build on the recent success.
We're starting to see the offense we envisioned. More exactingly, we're seeing what the offense we envisioned is doing to the opposing defenders. Guards have to make tough decisions constantly when Evans and Martin attack. Coaches are making tough personnel decisions -- Evans and Martin basically dictated Mike D'Antoni's rotation in the fourth quarter and overtime Tuesday, and you saw John Kuester struggle with finding a player to guard Martin Wednesday. It's almost like the guard pairing that took Detroit to the championship, isn't it? Of course, the Kings don't have near the big men or overall defensive talent (including in the backcourt) for a proper comparison to that team. But that's the most valid backcourt comparison in recent memory: a strong, often dominant point guard and a sinewy efficient two-guard.
And that, I think, is what will shape both the rest of the season -- 30 games left -- and the team's efforts in the trade market. The backcourt pieces are there. It's time to help out the frontline. Whether really helping out the frontline involves trading half of that backcourt remains to be seen. I hope not -- there are big men who can help without costing Martin, no doubt. But, again, it all remains to be seen.
At least Sacramento's front office won't be heading to Dallas with the stink of utter desperation on its hands.