This week could've gone better. A lot better. In fact this week sort of sucked. That's all there really is to it.
1. The Boston Celtics game
This game was more fun to watch then some of our wins. The Kings came out to play, and the defense was probably the best the Kings have played all season. Spencer, JT, Omri, and Donté were holding down the fort inside, blocking shots from Perkins and Garnett (Omri had an especially nasty one on KG, who really looks like a shell of his former self). Unfortunately the Kings perimeter defense wasn't too good and uncontested 3s from Pierce and House killed us. The Boston bench also really outplayed the Kings bench, especially Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis, who pounded us on the boards. This should have been a win, but I think we were all excited at the glimpse we got of how good our defense could be when the kids put the effort into it. It should also be noted that Tyreke shut down Rondo. It does seem like when he puts forth the effort he can be great, but he tends to only do it when the player he's guarding is good or if its a clutch situation (Arenas for example). He'll learn though and I expect to see Tyreke on at least a few All-Defensive teams in his career.
2. The Acquisitions of Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey
The loss of Kevin Martin stung, but I have to admit, when I heard the Kings had received Landry, it made it sting a whole lot less. The guy is a beast on the offensive end of the court, is really efficient, is a remarkably good Free throw shooter for a big man, and is an elite offensive rebounder. In his debut, he didn't really perform all that well, in a game Westphal proclaimed would probably be his most ineffective as a King, but it was nice to notice that he grabbed 8 boards (led the team) and started to get a little rhythm going in the 2nd half after a poor shooting 1st half. He looked uncomfortable and tentative on the floor, which is understandable. Its his first game on another team and he'd already been thrust into a starting role with starter expectations. In fact, with this start, he's already doubled his career starts. In his 2nd game as a King, he will have started more games as a King than a Rocket. He's still gaining his touch. You caught glimpses of the athleticism and the patience he uses around the basket, even though he had an uncharacteristic shooting night, both from the field and the line. Still, I'm not going to put too much stock into the guys 1st performance for a new team. Give them the rest of the season to gel. Fun fact: Of the guys that got traded in our 3-way trade, it was actually McGrady who had the best debut, and almost led the Knicks to a win over the Thunder. Kevin shot 3-16 from the field. Again, don't be in a rush to judge any of those guys yet. Almost forgot to mention Dorsey, but I think there's a slight possibility he becomes more than just a throw in. He's got the potential to be Brockman with defense. Unfortunately for Nessie, that could mean being relegated to the bench and perhaps not being re-signed next year. Then again it could be Dorsey not getting re-signed. With Brockman out for a month, we should get a chance to see some of Dorsey.
3. Omri Casspi
Since coming back from the break, Omri has been playing with a little more ferocity it feels like. His shot seems to have returned to him (4-8 from 3 this week), he's still hitting the boards hard, and he's playing some better defense. I think that Omri will get some more touches now that Kevin is gone, because Omri is now our best shooter (It could be argued Beno is our best shooter and I would have a tough time arguing that).
4. Francisco Garcia's return
It was nice to see Cisco get back into the uniform we know and love him in (he was probably running out of suits anyway), and although his on court performance wasn't up to Cisco snuff, that doesn't mean much when you factor in how much time the guy has been out and his injury (broken wrist on his shooting hand). I doubt Cisco will ever be fully 100% himself this season, and I think we'll have to wait until next year to see if the injury has really affected his game or not. Anyways, it was good to see Cisco on the court again.
5. Spencer Hawes, Interior Defender?
See Player of the Week
6. Jason Thompson's rebounding
JT has brought back the rebounding since the break totalling 11 against Boston (30 minutes), 15 against Golden State (8 offensive boards skew it though, since they were mainly tips off his own misses... and tips off the misses of his tips... sigh) and 7 boards (26 minutes) against the Clippers.
7. Tyreke Evans
I have run out of good things to say about the guy. He simply amazes me every time he steps on the court. The mind boggling part of it to me is that he's this good now and has plenty of room to grow.
8. The Acquisition of Cap Space
The Kings cleared a lot of salary in the Kevin Martin trade, and although speculation varies as to how it can be used, I think its clear that it will be used to improve the team. As much as I would love a big name free agent to join the Kings, I sincerely doubt it will happen. Still, it leaves us with options. We can be like Oklahoma City and simply absorb contracts that teams don't want, taking a lot more salary than we give back. I think because of this, the Kings could potentially be big time draft day players. That's my thought. Beyond the tier 1 and 2 free agents out there this summer, there really aren't that many guys that could impact this team all that greatly, and the Kings don't really have the best history in signing free agents.
1. 2nd quarter of the Clippers Game
It's been the story of the year for the Kings, where they simply seem to stop playing well for a quarter. And against the Clippers it was no different, as the Clippers ran up a 15 point lead at half time after outscoring the Kings by 16 in the 2nd. It was just deep enough of a hole that the Kings couldn't get back out of. Within consistency lies the path of our success. We don't have consistency yet.
2. The Loss of Kevin Martin
I haven't really said too much about the loss of Kevin Martin other than the merits of the trade in a basketball sense. On an emotional level though, this trade hurt. It hurt bad. I was so ready to see the Kevin and Tyreke backcourt grow into one of the best in the league, both players games perfectly complementing the others, and for those two guys to eventually bring that elusive banner to Sacramento. For months we'd heard the rumors, the denials from the front office, even with the clamoring from some fans, and even the day before the trade, it still seemed as though Kevin would survive the deadline. Alas it was not meant to be, and Kevin Martin is now a Rocket. It will be weird seeing him in a different jersey, having had him essentially grow up into the player he is now (well, maybe the player he was at the start of the season). I think the trade was for the best though. There's a lot of background rumors going around that things weren't as peachy between Kevin and the organization as we thought, and I think that if he had stayed, things could have been a lot worse, and the break up a lot messier. I'm glad it came when it did then, and that we got a good talent back, and I'm really glad that Kevin gets to spend his prime on a great team in Houston contending for a possible championship with a great coach in Adelman. It really couldn't have worked out any better for Kevin. We'll see how it works out for us fans in the coming months.
3. The missed opportunity to acquire Tyrus Thomas
Ok, I'm not going to lie, I only wrote that to piss off Betweentheeyes. I know he would expect nothing less of me. Maybe I should change my avatar to Tyrus Thomas... Hmmm...
4. Francisco Garcia Starting
I'm not a fan of this strategy by Westphal to insert Cisco into the Starting Lineup after the amount of time he's missed. If you want to retain the size mismatch, start Omri at the 2 or something. I think Cisco should be gradually given minutes till he starts to feel comfortable. I think starting him is a mistake for now, even if thats where his long term spot is.
5. JT's offense
JT still looks lost on the offensive end of the court, and its mainly due to the unnecessary steps he takes when he gets the ball down low. He takes extra dribbles that he doesn't need instead of simply going up with it, giving the defender more time to react to him. He still whines after every perceived grievance by the official. His jumpshot comes and goes. He forces a lot of shots that he probably shouldn't take. JT could be a very good player but he needs to keep his emotions in check and play with more patience. He plays much better when he's simply going with the flow of the game. I honestly don't know if he's improved all that much from his rookie year. His Per 36 minute statistics are almost identical, and the only real drastic change is his Field Goal % ... which has decreased by 5%, even though he attempts 1 more shot a game.
6. Donté Greene
Don't get me wrong. Donté had his moments this week. And his shot has looked incredibly smooth at times. But he just wasn't all that effective, especially against the Clippers. I think he should be re-inserted into the Starting 5 at the 3 with Omri sliding to the 2. I don't know if its just me, but he seems to play better in a starting capacity.
7. Beno Udrih
Beno was pretty much a non-factor against the Clippers. Beno is supposed to destroy the Clippers. I guess it was because Baron Davis didn't play. Beno always makes Baron look like a D-Leaguer. And the Clipper game was really the only game where he got heavy minutes.
8. Larry Hughes is a Sacramento King
I hope to God he never puts on a uniform.
1. Golden State 130, Sacramento 98
Worst game of the season by far. Not only did our beloved SpeedRacer get traded at Halftime, the Kings let the Warriors and mainly CJ Watson and Stephen Curry dominate us all night long, but especially in the 2nd quarter, where they outscored us 42 to 16. In fact the Kings were outscored in every quarter. Against a team that was missing its supposed best player ( I think the Warriors play better when Ellis is out and Curry can lead), and letting a relative unknown in CJ Watson score 40 points (to be fair to Watson he hit some incredibly tough shots once he got hot.) The Kings had the Warriors number early in the preseason and season, but they've figured us out as of late.
2. Andres Nocioni
Looks like Noc got a little complacent with getting on the Good list a couple weeks in a row. But you know what? I'm mad we didn't get rid of his deal, and I'm mad at how he played this week. Trigger-happy as always, Noc continues to just shoot the ball whenever he touches it, even if he's not feeling it. 3-12 from the field and 2-7 from 3 in only 23.5 minutes this week. You can't even stop Noc from shooting by giving him fewer minutes, he just shoots more to get off his shots in that small time frame. I cannot stand when Noc keeps firing when he's off, or if the shot clock still has plenty of time.
3. Kings Perimeter Defense
While the Kings interior defense has toughened up a little bit, our perimeter defense was horrible this week. Our opponents shot 23 of 59 from 3 (46.3%) this week, and that will not win you too many games when you give up that many threes. And the fact of the matter is, a lot of them were wide open. The Kings perimeter players need to stay close to the shooters. We have several good individual defenders on the team (Donté, Ime, Tyreke), but our team defense is horrible.
4. The Waiving of Kenny Thomas
A Tragic Mistake the Kings will never live down. The Kings are now 0-1 in the K-9 less era (Bark? No that can't be it. Damn, I've forgotten already!) and we'll never be the same.
Player of the Week:
Spencer wasn't anything special on the offensive end of the court this week, but the reason I'm calling him player of the week is because of the tenacity he brought on the defensive end this week. Against Boston, he was phenomenal protecting the paint. He only was registered as having 2 blocks, but he altered shots, deflected passes, chased Rondo down on a breakaway to alter his gimme layup. Against Golden State, he helped hold Biedrins to 2 points. And then against the Clippers he had 3 blocks off the bench.
Spencer has really been progressing on this end of the court. That's why I'm sort of upset that he is starting on the bench with Landry here, because I think Spencer and Landry would work better together, and then have JT come off the bench as a sparkplug, because he's the worst defender of our 3 bigs. But the fact that Spencer is 21 and has shown that he can be more than competent on this end of the court is good. I don't think he'll ever be a great defensive player, but he can be an above average one.
Comment of the Week:
Highlight of the Week:
I really wanted that Omri block on KG, but its inexplicably not on Youtube. Here's this Casspi breakaway dunk after a Spencer block on Perkins that was also very nice.
Last Week's Winner: section214 by a landslide
Omri Casspi reacts in both glee and horror after finding Sean May’s jock strap in his "Shalom Kitty" backpack.
Last Week's Runner-Up: Bluejohn
Omri Casspi joyously waives Goliath’s jockstrap after posterizing him at MSG.
This Week's Picture:
Lottery Projection and Profile of the Week:
Current Projected Lottery Position: 4th
Current Lottery Range: 3rd - 10th
Draft Profile: Epke Udoh, 6'10, 240 lbs, PF/C, Junior, Baylor
Udoh is a very intriguing player. A transfer student to Baylor after playing his Freshman and Sophomore seasons in Michigan, Udoh has been impressive in his 3rd year. He's taken a larger part of the offense at Baylor and thus has almost tripled his scoring average. More impressively, he's doubled his rebound average in only 10 more minutes a game, and most impressively, double his block average, to the point where he now averages 4.4 a game. He also doesn't foul much, only at 2.3 a game, which is a sign of good defender. He's added a bit of range to his game, and although he probably can't hit an NBA 3 pointer or long jumper with any consistency, he's shown growth there and can perhaps add it to his game. He's also shown a better passing game, tripling his assist average from .9 to 2.8, although he doesn't have a very good A:TO ratio (just a tad over 1:1). Still, Udoh has climbed the charts already to reach lottery range (currently projected at 14), and with a good March and some good workouts, I can see him landing in the top 10. Udoh is one of the guys I think the Kings should definitely take a look at. He looks like he could be a game changer on both ends of the court.
Next Week's Profile: Wesley Johnson
And Nostradumbass Prediction for Next Week:
@ Phoenix 2/20 W (Carl Landry has played against Phoenix very well in the past, and we've come close to beating them before. It will require a whole team effort though, and someone needs to stop Nash)
v. Detroit 2/23 W (We're just a better team.)
v. Utah 2/26 W (I'm being really optimistic here, but I think we can pull it off. The guys should be starting to click here)
Nostradumbass Record for the Season 31-24 (Toronto's record)