A Sacramento perspective
As someone who’s watched every game of theirs this season, and 95% of their games for the last decade plus, it is beyond annoying to have journalists and faux Twitter experts with hordes of followers spew uninformed remarks about a team they truly know little about. People who rely on these folks to have informed opinions receive embarrassingly inaccurate portrayals of teams, players, and situations. This probably pertains much more to small-market and losing teams, but nonetheless, I’ve noticed most national NBA reporting can be characterized as egregious and utterly lazy.
I am no expert, and certainly couldn’t come close to claiming such for any of the other 29 NBA teams; but I can provide a better-grounded and more real account than many mainstream media hacks in regard to at least the Kings, a team whose dysfunction has become a topic du jour.
POWER FORWARD SITUATION
Thomas Robinson’s athleticism and energy have impacted a few games very positively this season; however, his overall shot selection, decision making and low-post footwork have frankly been quite poor. He wants to do more than he can handle right now. It's just not there yet.
Conversely, Jason Thompson has matured into a real professional since the beginning of last season and is one of just a few Kings who plays winning basketball. Game in and game out, he brings above-average interior defense, runs the floor on both sides of the ball, picks his spots well (50% FG) and provides the most consistent effort and output, period.
To arbitrarily award T-Rob the starting spot because he’s a couple years younger and not because he anywhere near deserves it over Jason Thompson – That is the wrong message to send to a young player, a young team, and is generally a bad way to coach.
Jimmer has improved leaps and bounds from last season. He added a runner to his repertoire, and it already looks like a shot he’s perfected. Not many players could do that over a single off-season. His confidence is up. His point production per minute is staggeringly high. He’s learning how to get to the free throw line more where he leads the league in percentage. He also facilitates ball movement when necessary and possesses passing vision. And no, he does not have the capacity to become an above-average defender, but with work ethic, effort and smarts he is improving on that side of the ball as well.
POINT GUARD SITUATION
This is where it gets dumb. I could list a book of reasons as to why Isaiah Thomas should start and play 30+ minutes a game, but the reality is that somewhere between the lines of ownership, Geoff Petrie and coach Smart there is a poor preference to stick with Brooks who does not connect the pieces on the court or affect leadership the way that Thomas does. Frustrating and baffling for fans.
They have the lowest combined payroll of any team over the last two years as the owners have also sold off several of their largest assets. Publicly the Maloofs deny any money problems, but their financial loss could not be any more punch-you-in-the-face obvious. George, the brother who mismanaged the Palms and now has little else to do after its sale, has since focused his attention on dragging his brothers and the Kings to another city that will hand them a brand new, 100% publicly funded arena. So far, the league has shut the Maloofs down and favors keeping the team in Sacramento, the 20th largest market, in an area that also does not have to compete with the NFL, MLB, or NHL. But since organizations inevitably run from the top down, and with shaky owners unsure of everything and distracted, the results in the front office and on the court have become clearly afflicted with a lack of leadership and direction.
This will be the 7th straight season for the team in the draft. Geoff Petrie, who can be praised for assembling the glory year teams of Webber, Divac, Stojakovic et al, has since failed consistently in creating a cohesive product on the floor. As even those who rarely catch a Kings game can tell, the collection of talent does not make sense. The roster is simply imbalanced with an over-abundance of youth and shoot-first mentalities.
THE SEARCH FOR A SMALL FORWARD
For the last few seasons, this position has plagued the team with inefficiency. Two years ago, Omri Casspi and Donte Greene failed to develop. Last season, John Salmons stifled ball movement as another shoot-first player and couldn’t toss a beach ball into the ocean. This year, James Johnson’s inability to shoot and overall lack of offensive instinct keep contributing to the issues of spacing and fluid ball movement. Meanwhile, Tyreke Evan’s talents can get lost at the position and it does not at all appear a viable solution.
There is a belief among fans that a true SF with 3-point shooting prowess and an above-average basketball IQ, even if just an average defender, could go far in tying together the entire team.
AND, OF COURSE, DEMARCUS COUSINS
To all the “Demarcus Cousins is a cancer, but I think my favorite team can throw together some table scraps and acquire him” people: Get out of here with that. Regardless of forthcoming speculation provided by out-of-touch national writers, the Kings will certainly not part with him for any lowball offer. The organization has not invested a lot of resources into the team over the past few years, except in the case of Cousins. They have tailored big parts of the coaching staff to his professional development and staked a ton of local advertising dollars to his name and abilities. And it’s not as if the team has been unaware of his issues, and suddenly they’ll cast aside this enormously talented project for a mediocre vet and some 2nd round picks.
For fans, not a lot is as fun as considering potential trades. I get that. Just know that by all credible accounts of local team insiders, DMC is highly unlikely to be let go.
And, thank you for letting me vent.
The Kings suck.
They don't know what to do.
They have a bunch of young talented but misfit pieces.
I feel you pain with the national media as Jazz fan. And I agree with everything you've said about the Kings, though my perspective is as an outsider who's only watched 5-6 of their games this year.
The Cousins situation is toxic and I think he's an incurable head case. I genuinely believe he's a guy that will have to hit rock bottom before he becomes valuable to anyone. And I absolutely do not want him on my team. However, the trade scenarios being presented for him have been absurd for the most part. Despite his issues, his trade value (for a handful of teams) is still very high.
Why didn't you go in depth on Tyreke Evans situation whether he may be traded or not?
This is the anywhere from 45-80 million dollar decision that has to be made in the next seven months. Personally I say wait it out, see what he is offered or will he take the qualifying year to become unrestricted and trade him that year. I remember Kings brass saying he wants a big deal and they basically said to get what you want you are going to have to produce at a high level and they won't give it off potential. If he is offered anywhere from 45-60 million over 4 they will have a Batum/Gordon situation on their hands, except it will be for a player who has terrible metric numbers.
Bravo. I enjoyed reading that