Why was the Kings' 2009-10 offense mired in the bottom third of the league?
The Kings were excellent on the offensive glass, and while the team may improve due to the selection of DeMarcus Cousins and the replacement of Spencer Hawes with Samuel Dalembert, that's practically gravy.
The Kings shot an effective field goal percentage of .491, just a shade off the league average of .501. The Kings averaged 84 FGAs per game. Had they shot league average from the floor, they would have scored 1.5 points more per game.
The Kings were 19th in the league in turnover rate, with a giveway on 13.6 percent of possessions. League average was 13.3 percent. If the Kings cut their turnover rate to league average, they would gain a possession for every fourth game. That would mean the addition of roughly one points per week.
Where's the real big glaring problem? At the line.
The Kings averaged .207 made free throws for every field attempted. The league average was .228 FTM/FGA, and the league-leading Nuggets were all the way up at .290. How much did that mediocrity hurt the Kings on a game-to-game basis?
The average team earned two free throw attempts for every six field goal attempts, and made about 76 percent of those free throws. In an 84-FGA game, that equates to a bit more than 19 points a game from the stripe.
The Kings earned two FTAs for every seven FGAs, and made less than 73 percent of those free throws. In an 84-FGA game, that equates to about 17 points a game from the stripe.
That's a pretty big problem, bigger than the team's field goal shooting problem on a gross scale, even though shots from the floor are so much more common than shots from the line. Think about that: improving the team's foul-drawing and foul-shooting would have a larger impact on the team's performance than improving the team's shooting from the floor. That's pretty amazing. (And there happens to be four teams worse in free throw rate.)
What's the bigger problem, drawing the fouls or shooting the free throws?
Raising the draw rate to league average but maintaining the team's 2009-10 free throw percentage would add an average of about 1 point per game for the team.
Raising the team's free throw percentage to league while maintaining its draw rate would add an average of about 1 point per game for the team.
So they are about even.
Now is it feasible? Cousins taking Hawes' minutes is a wonderful step in the right direction for draw rate. Another year of experience for Tyreke Evans should help as well. Carl Landry's aggressiveness, as well as the same attribute applied to Omri Casspi and Donte Greene, matter a good deal for the draw rate problem. Converting the foul shots at a higher rate relies on some combination of the team's average foul shooters (Evans, Landry) doing better, and Cousins improving greatly on his college performance.