After a tough 1-4 road trip the Sacramento Kings finally got home and knocked off the Pelicans on Tuesday night. They appeared to be getting on track with back-to-back wins but immediately chased it with back-to-back losses. At just 4-7 on the season, what is wrong with the Kings? With a rare stretch of four days off in the comfort of their own home, coach Dave Joerger and his staff will have some much needed time to try and figure it out. Good luck!
Starting on the defensive end, the Kings are letting opponents shoot 46% from the field, which ranks 24th in the league. Teams are also shooting an adjusted field goal percentage of 52% and scoring 103.6 points per game against them. Obviously the more shots that fall the less rebounding opportunities there will be, but the Kings, who for some reason start two big men, shouldn’t be 26th in the NBA with just 41.4 boards per contest.
Offensively, Sacramento is averaging under 100 points per game at 99.8, ranking 23rd in the league. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay have played well as the primary scorers but they have received very little help elsewhere. Disregarding Darren Collison, who has played just three games thus far, no other King is averaging double figures in scoring.
They have lacked in point guard production with the subpar play of Ty Lawson and the early season absence of Collison. Lawson is averaging just 5.6 points and 5.5 assists per contest – and he is playing 29 minutes a game. His PER of 9.4 is 10th on his own team. To make matters worse, he is also a defensive liability. The return of Collison will definitely help things out a bit but let’s not get too carried away about a 6 foot, 175 pound undersized guard coming off of a domestic violence suspension.
The Kings have also been terrible from three point range, shooting a putrid 33 percent and ranking among the worst in the league. This has made things tough on DeMarcus Cousins in the post because opponents are able to collapse on him knowing that there isn’t much of a threat from the outside. The inability to play the game inside out like many of the successful teams around the league has more than hampered them for years – especially considering the fact that their volatile franchise player plays center.
Another offensive aspect lacking comes in form of fast break points. Averaging just 9.9 per game, they rank 27th in the league in a very important category. To put that into perspective, the Golden State Warriors lead the league in the category averaging 19.6 a night and that number will likely climb as their roster begins to click. While obviously the Kings are not expected to be the Warriors, the numbers show that as a low percentage shooting team they are also struggling to create easy shots and free buckets – and that starts on the defensive end.
The NBA has evolved into a point guard driven, three point shooting, fast paced league and the Kings quite possibly struggle the most in all three of those aspects of the game. But what can you expect when you look at the build of their roster and their franchise, for that matter? When you are constantly changing front office management, coaching staffs, rosters, have two undersized point guards and your two best players are constantly subjected to trade rumors, you can’t expect much more.