Looking for their first winning streak of the season, the Kings are going to get a chance to build a smidge of momentum Thursday night as they take on the 6-4 Philadelphia 76ers. Led by “rookie” dynamo Ben Simmons and 9th year sophomore Joel Embiid, the Sixers are in the midst of a five game winning streak and aren’t looking to slow down anytime soon. Come for the 6’10 rookie point guard, stay for him getting owned by Sacramento’s own 6’3 floor general. Rain drop, drop top, Nik Stauskas only playing 6 minutes a pop. Let’s talk Kings basketball!
When: November 9th; 7 pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center; Sacramento, CA
Radio: KHTK Sports 1140 AM
For Your Consideration
Sixers Stats: The Process is over. Dead and gone, and all that is left now is for the Sixers to win as many games as possible and prove their fallen Lord Hinkie right. During the course of their five game win streak Philly has put up wins against Houston, Indiana and Utah; legitimate teams with playoff aspirations. So what are they doing to be successful? For one they’re playing fast. The Sixer’s are currently fourth in the NBA in pace. For two, they’re knocking down long range shots at a 39.9% clip; good for 3rd highest percentage in the NBA. They have four guys who average 2 threes a game or more (Robert Covington, J.J. Redick, Jarryd Bayless, Dario Saric), and each of them are shooting over 40% from distance. Covington in particular, is tearing it up while shooting 50% from three, and taking 7 threes a game. In fact, according to Synergy (and 20 tweets I saw this morning) Bob is the league’s most efficient catch and shoot player, averaging 1.547 points per catch and shoot possession. The Sixers move the ball too, coming in at 6th in the league in assists and with two guys averaging over five a game: Ben Simmons with eight a contest and TJ McConnell off the bench with 5.2 a game. Even Embiid has gotten a bit pass happy this season, averaging 3.6 assists himself. The Sixers are dynamic, and unselfish and hit threes. In a weak Eastern Conference, they might actually be a playoff team.
So that’s the bad news. The good news is, the Sixers aren’t yet a great NBA team. Their youth leads to the regulat gamut of problems; namely turnovers and fouls. Philly fouls more than every team in the league but one, and does so at an average of 25.9 per game, and turns the ball over 18.5 times a game, sixth worst in the NBA. The Kings on the other hand, foul the fourth least in the NBA and are 11th in the league in turnovers at 16 a game. So to take advantage of the Sixers youth, we just have to do what we do best and get to the free throw line a bunch. Wait, wait...what? Sacramento is last in the NBA in both free throws attempted AND made? Oh okay, well this is supposed to be positives, so leave your fake stats at the door, bub. Philly is only a middle of the road rebounding team, 15th in total and defensive rebounds and they also don’t block a lot of shots; 4.5 blocks a game, 22nd in the league. Sacramento can and should attack the paint again and again against the Sixers; get their leading scorer (20.5 pts), rebounder (10.5). and shot blocker (1.5) in Joel Embiid in some early foul trouble, then hey, anything is possible. The hometown team is going to beat an up and coming squad like the Sixers with patience, deliberation, and a whole lot of perimeter defense.
Ben there, done that: Probably the key to the Sixer’s success early has been due to the fact that they’ve given the point guard reins over to Ben Simmons and sat fellow rookie Markelle Fultz until his shooting form heals from an injured pride early this season. Oh, no, wait it was a shoulder injury now. You know how confusing these things get. Simmons has gone on a historic rookie stretch to begin his NBA career, becoming on the second player in NBA history to begin his NBA career with at least 10-5-5 in each of his first ten games. The other guy on that list? Oscar Robertson himself. Simmons found himself with his career first Triple-Double just 4 games into his career and through his first ten games has the ridiculous average of 17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, 8 assists, 1.7 steals and .9 blocks a game. He’s shooting over 50% from inside the arc and exactly 0% from behind it, having not yet hit a three this season and .6 attempts a contest. The guy knows where his bread is buttered and it ain’t on the trey (please clap for that pun). Simmons is a one of a kind, maybe once in a generation type player and Thursday night’s game against the Kings is hopefully one in a long career.
Prediction: Tonight begins the real De’Aaron Fox for Rookie of the Year campaign and his matchup against Ben Simmons is the first in a long line of rookie point guards that Fox is head hunting. Simmons might be Superman, but Fox is the Flash (easily the most overpowered superhero) and Fox spends all night in that extra gear he usually kicks into from time to time. Simmons goes to dribble, Fox is there to snatch it. Simmons goes for a skip pass, Fox is there to snatch it. Simmons grabs his phone to cry to his family in the locker room at halftime, Fox is there to snatch it. Joel Embiid posts a funny picture about their loss after the game on Instagram.
Kings 102, Sixers 98