We saw the worst game of the year followed immediately by one of the best this week. Your 2017-18 KANGZ y’all. Strap in.
The High Post
I’ve already expounded on how good Sacramento’s defense was on Friday night against Portland, but it deserves to be repeated again. The Kings were stifling against a Trail Blazers team with some very good offensive weapons, not allowing them easy looks almost the entire night. Damian Lillard still got his, scoring 29 points, but took 25 shots to do so. C.J. McCollum was the only other Blazer in double digits. Everyone in a purple jersey was sticking with their man, switching well and helping out. The anchors were definitely Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein, who set the tone inside and out. Koufos gets a lot of crap from Kings fans sometimes because of his occasional blown layup or mishandled ball, but he’s a player that almost every single team in the NBA would like to have. He rebounds well, sets great screens, plays good defense, and doesn’t try to do too much on offense.
Bogdan Bogdanovic is another player the Kings have brought in that seems to have a knack for defense. While not the quickest or biggest player, Bogdanovic knows where to be and he does a good job of sticking with his man that will likely only get better with more experience. Playing at SG instead of as an undersized SF helps him as well.
The Kings aren’t a good defensive team yet, but they have some pieces in play where they could be one day. There are few guys on this team that I would call defensive liabilities, they just need to put it together on a more consistent basis like they did against Portland, and they’ll also need to be able to take that effort on the road.
The Low Post
After the game against the Atlanta Hawks, I was pretty demoralized. Losing by 46 points to anyone is never fun, but losing by 46 to a team that actually had a worse record than us with the Kings not looking like they gave a shit was excruciating. Combined with the anger and frustration from Kings twitter, I had to just log off the internet for the night.
If there’s one good thing that came out of that night, it’s that it seemed to be the impetus for a change for the better. Overhauling the starting lineup, getting Frank Mason into the rotation, all of these adjustments seem like steps in a positive direction so far (small sample size warning).
The Kings need to use that game as an example of everything they shouldn’t be. They should never have fans questioning their effort, especially when they’re going to be facing more talented and experienced teams every night.
Kimani’s Photo of the Week
No hoop for you!
Highlight of the Week
Bogi making something out of nothing pic.twitter.com/i40MD3EMhj— Tony Xypteras (@TonyXypteras) November 18, 2017
Player of the Week
15.3 PTS, .473 FG%, 7.3 REB, 1.7 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK in 28.2 MPG
After the awful game against the Atlanta Hawks, Dave Joerger decided to change the starting lineup once more, moving Willie Cauley-Stein to the bench. Initially I had reservations about pairing Cauley-Stein with Kosta Koufos, but Cauley-Stein seemed to see the move as freeing, allowing him to roam a little bit more on offense and defense instead of simply being in the paint the whole time. Koufos doesn’t require nearly as many offensive touches as Zach Randolph, which allowed Cauley-Stein to be a little more aggressive offensively. I’ve definitely been critical of Cauley-Stein in the past for his obsession with offense, but he’s made huge strides there since his rookie year, and even knocked down a three! If he can bring that kind of offensive capability while being focused on the defensive end like he was against the Trail Blazers, he’ll be a special player. The problem with Willie however has always been consistency and focus, so let’s not get too excited just yet and see if he can keep bringing it.
Nov. 20th vs. Denver Nuggets
Nov. 22nd vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Nov. 25th vs. Los Angeles Clippers