Not much has changed in a month. The Kings wing players are still playing terrible basketball, aside from Donté Greene, who is playing mediocre basketball! Greene is leading the wings in almost every per-minute statistical category and yet has averaged less minutes than Francisco Garcia and John Salmons, both players that are currently shooting around 35% from the field. Travis Outlaw is shooting 28.9%.
The dearth of production from the wings has recently led Coach Smart to simply not play a wing at all in the Starting Lineup, inserting Isaiah Thomas as a starter for John Salmons four games ago. With the way Isaiah is playing, that doesn't look like it will change any time soon.
The trade deadline is coming up quicker than you'd think (March 15th), and it'll be interesting to see if the Kings look to rectify this issue through a trade, or if they wait until this summer for the draft and Free Agency. We still have not seen much of rookie swingman Tyler Honeycutt either, as he has played just 9 total minutes in 4 games to date after a 10 game stint in the D-League. I don't think I'd mind giving him an extended look sometime during the 2nd half of the season, particularly if the production at this position continues to stink.
I will be using several sources for my analysis. First, I'll be using the Advanced Statistics found on Basketball-Reference (PER, TS%, AST%, etc.). I will also be using mySynergySports.com to give a more in-depth look at how our players perform each possession, both offensively and defensively. mySynergySports.com uses PPP (Points Per Possession) to track individual players. They track individual play types on both ends of the court and I will be provding samples of each players major play types. For the shot location statistics, I'll be using HoopData. For On/Off court statistics, I'll be using 82games.com.
The following statistics were compiled as of February 23rd, 2012. If you would like some explanations of the following statistics, Basketball-Reference has explanations here.
Current League Average PER for Swingmen according to HoopData: 12.25
PER: 7.6 (Career-Low)
TS%: .423 (Career-Low)
AST%: 10.1% (Career-Low)
Offense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 97.3
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.76
- Spot-Up (30.1%): 0.9
- Isolation (26.5%): 0.57
- Transition (13.2%): 1.03
- P&R Ball Handler (12.9%): 0.86
- At Rim: 0.8 FGM / 1.1 FGA (75.0%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.8 FGA (8.7%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.4 FGM / 1.1 FGA (40.6%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.8 FGM / 2.3 FGA (36.0%)
- Threes: 0.7 FGM / 2.7 FGA (27.2%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.11
Defense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 108.7
Overall Defensive PPP: 0.93
- Spot-Up (40.9%): 1.14
- P&R Ball Handler (18.6%): 0.6 (18th in NBA)
- Isolation (17.8%): 0.81
Is there anything about John Salmons that I can tell you that you don't already know? The numbers speak for themselves. Just like Isaiah is far surpassing our expectations in a good way, John is doing the same in a bad way. His numbers are so far below his career averages, it's not even funny. Yet he still managed to start 28 games before getting yanked out of the lineup. Has he been playing hurt (He had a thigh contusion to start the season, and missed the last two games with a sore hip) or is he just losing his game? Whatever the case may be, Salmons is playing terrible basketball on both ends of the floor. Only two players that have started at least 20 games have a worse PER than Salmons: Kendrick Perkins (6.8) and Wesley Johnson (6.0).
Even with his struggles offensively, you'd at least hope that he could be a boon on the defensive end, which is supposedly what the Kings brought him in for. But while he's been good at times guarding individual players, he doesn't seem to put forth the same effort 100% of the time. He's been very lazy in his rotations, and like many Kings, has a bad tendency to sag off his man, which leads to open shots. You expect that from younger players, but not veterans like Salmons.
This is the third straight season the Kings have brought in a veteran Small Forward, supposedly for defense and consistency. And like Desmond Mason and Antoine Wright before him, Salmons is failing spectacularly. The bad news though is that unlike Mason or Wright, Salmons is locked up for two more years at $8 million per.
PER: 10.3 (T-Career Low)
TS%: .484 (Career-Low)
ORB%: 1.1% (Career-Low)
AST%: 6.5% (Career-Low)
BLK%: 3.0% (Career-High)
USG%: 14.7% (Career-Low)
Offense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 93.5
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.84
- Spot-Up (44.6%%): 0.81
- Transition (16.5%): 0.9
- Off Screen (10.7%): 1.15
- At Rim: 0.3 FGM / 0.4 FGA (77.8%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.2 FGA (66.7%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.0 FGM / 0.2 FGA (0%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.6 FGA (21.0%)
- Threes: 0.6 FGM / 2.2 FGA (30.5%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.25
Defense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 104.8
Overall Defensive PPP: 1.05
- Spot-Up (41.4%): 1.17
- P&R Ball Handler (15.2%): 0.87
- Off Screen (12.1%): 1.33
- Isolation (11.1%): 0.91
Cisco is also having a career-low type of year, but there needs to be a little context. Cisco is playing the least MPG of his career, even less than his rookie year, and has regularly received DNP-CDs. His minutes have been inconsistent. Still, that doesn't make an excuse for the fact that when he is on the floor, he hasn't been good. Cisco is supposed to be a knockdown shooter, but has converted just 30.5% of his three point attempts, and his mid-range percentage is particularly atrocious.
Defensively, Cisco has been middling to bad. His best defensive attribute has always been help-side blocks, which is kind of weird for a 6'7 guy that weighs less than 200 lbs. But that's about it. He's too weak and small to guard bigger forwards, and he doesn't have the lateral quickness to do much against guards.
Cisco is the longest tenured veteran of the Kings, yet still continues to make so-called "rookie mistakes", like stepping out of bounds on drives, or jump passing but forgetting to pass, resulting in a travel. He's a veteran who is a better asset for how he helps his teammates off the floor rather than on it.
Cisco has played well the last two games which has seen Salmons sit out with the hip injury. It will be interesting if he continues to play that spot over Salmons after the All-Star break, or if he will return to watching from the bench.
PER: 14.0 (Career-High)
DRB%: 18.4% (Career-High)
AST%: 7.0% (Career-High)
TOV%: 9.8% (Career-High)
USG%: 19.2% (Career-High)
Offense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 102.6
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.9
- Spot-Up (39.2%): 0.77
- Transition (24.2%): 1.35 (16th in NBA)
- Isolation (8.5%): 0.54
- At Rim: 1.0 FGM / 1.3 FGA (77.4%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.2 FGM / 0.4 FGA (40.0%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.2 FGM / 0.3 FGA (66.7%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.2 FGM / 0.8 FGA (28.0%)
- Threes: 0.5 FGM / 2.1 FGA (23.1%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.29
Defense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 106.3
Overall Defensive PPP: 0.93
- Spot-Up (25.4%): 1.1
- Isolation (22.9%): 1.07
- Post-Up (22%): 0.73
- P&R Roll Man (11%): 1.23
I almost hesitate to put Donté in the Wings section because he has actually played most of his minutes this year at the 4 spot. Regardless, he's a wing by nature, and despite inconsistent minutes, is playing the best of any of this group of players (which given the context, isn't saying very much). He's much more patient on offense, taking better shots and opting to share the ball more instead of rushing. His jumper is still remarkably inconsistent, and he shoots way too many threes for how poor a shooter he is from there. One thing he's doing that he hasn't in the past is getting to the line more often, as his Free Throw Rate is also a career high, and he's hitting them at a near 80% rate, much improved from the past two years when he was around 65%.
Defensively, Greene has had to guard a tough combination of some of the more athletic and potent Small Forwards in the NBA as well as the quicker and better shooting Power Forwards. He's actually done quite well in Post-Up situations, but has had trouble with the Pick and Roll (a problem for the whole team, as they're 25th in the league in PPP allowed on guarding the Roll Man) and in Isolation. His defensive rebounding has dipped a little bit from where it was earlier in the season, but not by much, and he's still rebounding very well for a wing, and almost double the rate he was the last few years, which is great.
In my mind, Donté's play to date compared to his counterparts shows he is deserving of more playing time and a more consistent role. Our bench has been so bad that I think Donté even deserves to maybe start at the three, moving Marcus Thornton off the bench to provide a scoring punch. Thornton would still play his big minutes, and the Kings wouldn't lose so much offense when they went to the bench. Greene would also benefit offensively from playing with the better spacing created by the starters. I'm hoping for an increased role and continued improvement from Donté in the second half of the season, especially if the rest of the wings continue their poor play.
PER: 5.1 (Career-Low)
TS%: .362 (Career-Low)
DRB%: 10.2% (Career-Low)
AST%: 2.3% (Career-Low)
Offense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 107.6
Overall Offensive PPP: 0.65
- Spot-Up (45.2%): 0.62
- Isolation (21.5%): 0.7
- At Rim: 0.3 FGM / 0.5 FGA (66.7%)
- 3-9 Feet: 0.3 FGM / 0.4 FGA (75.0%)
- 10-15 Feet: 0.1 FGM / 0.4 FGA (25.0%)
- 16-23 Feet: 0.2 FGM / 1.2 FGA (17.0%)
- Threes: 0.2 FGM / 1.3 FGA (16.0%)
- Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA): 0.29
Defense: Points Per 100 Possessions ON court: 121.1
Overall Defensive PPP: 0.92
- Spot-Up (35.6%): 0.81
- Post-Up (25.4%): 1.07
- Off Screen (15.3%): 1.44
- Isolation (13.6%): 0.75
Coming Tomorrow: The Bigs