The number one cause for tanking accusations is bad teams. The Kings are a bad team. Sure, you have your prototypical rebuilding teams. Those that tear the whole three bedroom house down in the hopes of constructing a mansion. But the Kings have been trying to rebuild on the fly; adding a couple extra rooms, maybe redoing the kitchen a little. They're going for the big time, they're just maintaining the foundation to the house, no matter how faulty it may be.
No matter what stage of your rebuilding you're in, though, you can look at any given time and see the wreckage. Maybe the kitchen is in shambles, maybe the guest room has been stripped down to its foundation. Basically, up until the remodel is complete, the house isn't looking too great. Last night was a prime example of the manifestations of that wreckage.
Ben McLemore played 30 minutes, scored 0 points, went under on a inordinate amount of screens and sagged off of guys who are going to do little else other than hit threes.
Ray McCallum played 23 minutes, had decent production off the bench and in two guard lineups with Isaiah, but also had the same trouble containing three point shooters.
To start the game the Kings gave up dribble penetration at will, and then when that problem was corrected a little bit things swung the other way and the Lakers dropped an unconscionable amount of three pointers.
I compare it a little to the visual of somebody with their hands full beginning to drop something, beginning to make a few futile attempts to keep it from falling over and then dropping even more things in the process.
The Kings dropped half of their stuff, and they never really picked it back up.
The Lakers scored 72 points in the second half with 14 of their threes coming in that time as well. That's gaudy, I'd say, for a team being commandeered by the likes of Jordan Farmar, Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks. But those were the players that killed us.
It'd be hard for the Kings to have given up 19 wide open threes, which they didn't entirely. A lot of times Jordan Farmar was able to shoot right over the top of Isaiah, or the Lakers were able to get threes in semi-transition off of bad Kings' offensive possessions.
Granted, the Kings were playing without DeMarcus Cousins. It's not clear how much he would've helped with the Lakers' three point barrage, but the Kings were clearly not at their strongest capability. They were at least able to find relative success in lineups that featured Derrick Williams at the 4, he had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 2 steals on 10-20 shooting.
On a little bit of a side note, it'll be interesting to me to see how the Kings rejigger the power forward rotation in the off-season. While it's clear the Kings were angling to trade Jason Thompson, he and Derrick Williams played well together as the two big men. There's a higher cap figure attributed to Landry's contract, and he also plays the same position as Derrick Williams. As two tweener forwards, there's little likelihood that an average defense in spot minutes can be built around them off the bench, so the Kings might have to choose on down the road. Carl Landry was Pete's first Free Agent acquisition, and while that hasn't shown to matter much (Vasquez, Greivis; Mbah a Moute), moving Landry would be an almost complete wipe-out of D'Alessandro's 2013 offseason. To me the ideal scenario would be acquiring a big man that better complements Cousins, whether it be Noah Vonleh or somebody already in the league, dealing Landry and then moving forward with a four-big rotation of Cousins, Complement X, Williams and Thompson. And this isn't even bringing into account Reggie Evans and Quincy Acy, who'd be good guys to have on any team. First, though, the Kings will probably want to know how much Derrick Williams' next contract will be valued at, if they're making personnel calls on relative economic feasibility. Williams' contract expires after next season, so this will be resolved soon.
Anyways, back to the game. Isaiah Thomas had 26 points on 10-16 shooting to go along with 8 assists, but was uncharacteristically bad in regards to taking care of the basketball, relinquishing possession 5 times.
As a whole, the Kings took great care of the ball, only coughing it up 11 times.
The Lakers had 35 assists in the game, however, with 17 of them coming from the point guard tandem of Kendall Marshall and Jordan Farmar.
16 of the Lakers' 19 threes came off of assists, and to me, that is representative of a Kings team that's slow to make rotations and unsound in playing off the ball defense. Passively double teaming the post-up situations leading to open threes from the post entry passer, rotating to the roll man in PNRs so much that it only takes one reversal of the ball to find an open three point shooter, those are all things the Kings have been getting beat in for long stretches of the season.
This is what happens when you're remodeling the house. You don't pull out the kitchen sink and expect to be able to wash the dishes right after. You might have it thrown at you from time to time in the form of Jordan Farmar and Marshan Brooks, but you just hope in the end the new house is worth it. We might pull out the tank card as an excuse for the process, but this was inherent all along.