In honor of Spencer Hawes, I'm benching myself for this recap.
Just kidding. (Kinda.)
I think Paul Westphal has been the team's best coach since Rick Adelman. I think his staff is great. (I liked Eric Musselman's staff quite a bit, too.) I understand Westphal is going through some tough family issues, and God bless he and his wife. And as such, I understand his mind might be elsewhere, his nerves may be frayed and his fighting spirit may be weakened.
But when the team is this bad defensively, sitting the best defensive big man when the team desperately needs a win, sitting him over some periphery, fairly noncontroversial B.S. ... oy. (And then cleverly twisted the knife in a post-game press conference? Really?)
And don't forget that this team -- Westphal's Kings team -- is as bad defensively as the worst teams of the Musselman/Theus/Natt era. I find it difficult to blame personnel (though the Carl Landry acquisition certainly fits the front office's pattern of targeting offensive players) at this point. Heck, Westphal plays a ton of defensive role players and the team still can't stop anyone.
Is it the defensive system's fault? That answer depends on the answer to this question: is there even a defensive system? (I'm being serious.)
Consider this play, late 2nd quarter. (Click for a larger image.)
I even grade on a curve!
If I hear our copper-topped friend say, "Fans don't understand that [obvious fact] ..." or "Fans don't realize that [even more obvious fact] ..." one more time, I'm going to kick a peach cobbler.
Losing to the Pistons by 12 isn't a big deal. The Kings might be fairly even in talent with the Pistons, but Sacramento is younger, less consistent and has one big ol' new moving part that isn't close to being neatly integrated. The problem is that the Kings fell behind by 30 to the Pistons at ARCO. Inexcusable. A failure of strategy or execution (or both), plus a failure of spirit in the second and third quarters.