After another blowout loss -- this one was 122-103 in favor of the Heat -- the Kings defense is now four points per 100 possessions worse than league average, good for No. 27 in the NBA. It feels worse. The Kings' defense since the Rudy Gay trade has been stunningly bad.
The Kings have played seven games since the trade was announced on December 9. The first two were played with Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray. Here are the opponents' offensive efficiency against the Kings compared to their own season average.
|Team||Season ORtg||Vs. Kings||Difference|
So that's two great defensive performances (against Dallas and Houston), one acceptable one (Charlotte) and four really bad performances (the rest). If this were soccer, that'd be a 2-4-1 record on defense with a huge negative goal differential.
Miami shot an effective field goal percentage of .675. That's incredible! (A good way to think of effective field goal percentage: Miami scored the points equivalent to shooting .675 all on two-pointers all game. That's almost 70 percent!) That's been the Kings' defensive problem: the shot defense is horrid, currently No. 29 in the NBA. Sacramento's peripheral defensive stats are fine. The Kings rank No. 10 in forcing opponent turnovers, No. 11 in defensive rebounding and No. 17 in foul rate. (A team with DeMarcus Cousins should be top 10 in defensive rebounding; they should get there by the end of the season now that the small forward position has a reputable rebounder there.)
The Kings have struggled to challenge shooters all season, and guards continue to get free all over the place. Chris Bosh posed all sorts of problems on Friday, going for 25 points in 25 minutes on 17 shooting possessions. In many ways the Heat are a unique offensive team because of Bosh and LeBron James: they are scoring 111 points per 100 possessions this season for a reason, of course. But the Kings' defensive problems -- challenging shots and preventing easy looks -- were exacerbated by Miami's attack. Think about the numbers again: the Kings shot 58 percent from the field and still lost by 19.
I accept that the Kings may not have the necessary defensive personnel to win on that side of the ball. But the defense really can't be this bad (again) all season, not with a defensive coach and improvement as a stated goal. The team really has to figure out lineups or schemes that can get stops regularly.