The Dunkyard’s NBA season preview continues, with the Sacramento Kings.
Last season by the numbers
- Record: 33-49 (10th West)
- Offensive rating: 103.3 (14th)
- Defensive rating: 106.3 (23rd)
- Pace: 102.2 (1st)
- True shooting: 54.6 (11th)
- Turnover rate: 14.2 (25th)
- Offensive rebounding: 23.9 (16th)
- Defensive rebounding: 74.9 (21st)
- Highest PER*: 23.6 (Cousins)
(*) – minimum 1,000 minutes.
At a glance
(Converts the above rankings into a rating out of 10).
For a team that ranked 10th in three point accuracy (35.9%), the Kings didn’t shoot anywhere near enough of them, ranking 21st in overall attempts. This figure was even worse in reality when you take into account the fact that the Kings played at the league’s fastest pace.
To put this into better perspective, Casspi led the Kings in three pointers made with 112 – ranking 53rd overall in the league. Meanwhile, Steph Curry managed a lazy 402.
The problem here was three-fold. Firstly, while the Kings had some half decent three point shooters in terms of accuracy (e.g. Collison, Casspi, McLemore), none of them were great at creating their own shot and needed to be sitting wide open before they were effective.
Which then leads us the second and third parts of the problem: the Kings’ primary playmakers were Boogie and Rondo. While Cousins wasn’t quite a black hole, someone with his overwhelming offensive talent needed to do better than rank 33rd among centers on assists (10.3% of possessions). Adding to the problem was Rondo, who ranked 69th out of 77 point guards when it came to taking care of the ball – with a phenomenal 14.1% of his total possessions ending up in the opposition’s hands (i.e. 1 in freaking 7).
Despite the lack of threes and insane turnover rate, the Kings were still a league-average team on offense due largely to Cousins. Already an absolute wrecking ball inside, Cousins added three point range (70 of 210 at 33.3%) to his game. The only knock was the he was still a slightly below-par shooter overall (TS 53.8%) as he was still in love with his (horribly ineffective) mid-range jump shot. In particular:
- 16.1% of Cousins’ total field goal attempts came from between 16 feet and the three point line – where he shot at 35.8%; and
- 3.5% came from 10-15 feet – where he shot 25.5%.
All up, that’s about 20% of his shots coming at an accuracy of 33.9%.
The Kings were a complete mess overall on defense, ranking 23rd overall. In particular, they were simply awful at defending the perimeter – ranking dead last in total three pointers allowed and 23rd on three point percentage allowed (36.6%).
The Kings’ defensive rebounding was also poor, ranking 23rd – an incredible statistic given that they had Cousins who ranked 8th among 62 centers. When Omri Casspi is your team’s second best defensive rebounder, you’ve got a serious problem.
Aside from Cousins, the Kings had nobody else around to mop up. Cauley-Stein was one of the worst culprits, ranking 55th among centers. While he offers a ray of hope as a future rim protector, he’s clearly some way off turning this motley crew of sloths around.
Reasons to be optimistic
Ok, let’s give this a shot…
The Kings actually had a half-decent offense last season despite posting the league’s 6th worst turnover rate. As outlined above, a big reason for this was Rondo, who was the league’s 7th most turnover prone point guard (out of 77). Removing Rondo and handing the keys over to Collison could significantly improve things on offense – both in terms of ball protection and shooting. The perimeter defense might also improve given that Rondo was about as effective as a witch’s hat – something that nobody would have imagined possible five years ago.
Kosta Koufos is a really solid backup center.
Afflalo will probably be a slight upgrade on McLemore – both on offense and defensively.
That is all.
Reasons not to be
Taking out one fruit loop in Rondo and replacing him with two in Lawson and Barnes isn’t how you construct a playoff roster, let alone a contender. Welcome to the church of Boogie. Let us pray.
The Kings also drafted Marquese Chriss – a freakishly athletic stretch four oozing with upside (and bust potential to be fair) – at no. 8… and promptly traded him for the 13th and 28th picks. Unless Papagiannis and/or Labiessiere turn into stars, this one could get very ugly for GM Vlade.
There is nothing to suggest that the Kings will make any real improvements on their 23rd ranked defense.
Collison has been suspended for the first eight games of the season due to a ‘domestic incident’ involving his wife. Jordan Farmar and Ty Lawson will be running things in his absence.
Despite his undeniable talent, Boogie hasn’t even come close to leading this team to the playoffs. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that this will change. Regression is possible.
Matt Barnes, Aaron Afflalo, Skal Labissiere, Ty Lawson, Malachi Richardson, Georgios Papagiannis.
The Dunkyard’s recommended ‘death’ lineup
- Afflalo (i.e. anybody but McLemore)
- Casspi (i.e. anybody but Gay)
The absurdity that engulfs the Sacramento Kings franchise can be summed up in the following piece of news: Rudy Gay has already stated that he plans to opt out of his contract at the end of the season to test the free agent waters, which creates the opportunity for the Kings to manufacture a trade and rid their squad of a player who has been a liability on every team he has played. Owner Vivek Ranadive however, is determined to hold on to Gay and believes he can persuade him to stay.
If Ranadive was any stupider you’d have to water him twice a week, and combined with inept GM Vlade Divac the Kings have their own version of TV’s “The Odd Couple”. Much like the current remake starring Matthew Perry nobody is going to be watching this show.
Forecast record: 30-52
How about we just leave this one to Steely: