Sacramento Kings: What’s new?
I can easily answer this question for you in one word. Nothing. The Sacramento Kings played twice this weekend at home and it was two more lackluster performances by the boys in purple and black, losing to the Detroit Pistons 97-90 on Friday, and the Memphis Grizzlies, 97-86 on Sunday.
The Kings’ schizophrenic starting lineup performances continued, as Greivis Vasquez and Boogie Cousins turned in strong performances against the Pistons, but the rest of the starting five only combined for 14 points, with the best plus/minue coming in at -2 (Jason Thompson). The starters also struggled tremendously against the Grizzlies. They scored 29 points between themselves and played only 92 of the 240 minutes, with the best plus/minus coming from Jason Thompson again.
If you thought five players combining for 29 points in a game was bad, you guessed correct. Coach Mike Malone spent the last two games looking increasingly frustrated as he tries to get consistent performances from the first five guys he throws out to start a game.
For instance, he inserted Ben McLemore into the starting line-up three games ago and the results have been horrendous. The tough part about this is that I completely understand why McLemore is doing bad and it should come as no surprise to anyone who watched him at Kansas last year. In Sacto, a team struggling to find an identity, a talented player like McLemore needs to assert himself on the court in a way that brings his fellow teammates along, but, at this stage, Ben just doesn’t have that in him.
Boogie is another player who has so far put together a season that is all over the map, which is something we cannot have from a player making 15 million a year. He has nice scoring stats of 21.2 points on 48% shooting (still to low for my tastes), but he has three games where he has thrown up a total of 28 points on 39% shooting.
The worst part of this is Boogie has failed to attack the hoop in numerous games, falling into his terrible habit of taking jump shots and drawing zero fouls, which is inevitably followed by coach Malone sitting his ass on the bench. I’m all for this strategy, it’s put up or shut up time for Boogie. He definitely needs to improve in the consistency and attitude department, something coach Malone instilled at Golden State while he was there (I still feel the Kings should have waited until after this season to ink Boogie to an extension, he was a restricted free agent and going nowhere).
I will say though, the game he had against the towers of Detroit (Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond) was rather impressive as he posted 26 points (12-23) and 13 boards with 3 block. That’s the type of Boogie Cousins that Kings fans love to see and hope to see on a more consistent basis.
- Isaiah Thomas has posted one subpar game so far, against the Grizzlies, which is awesome because that means he stays the most consistent performer on the team (I’m short, I love short people in professional sports, so I really want Isaiah to continue his tear). As long as he continues to attack the hoop, he has a good chance of turning this hot streak into a top flight sixth man of the year season.
- Travis Outlaw must have been mad that I talked so much shit about the Kings swingman rotation as he dropped 18 points and 6 boards on the Grizzlies. It’s a shame he used his one good game of the year so early in the season and with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute starting now, the Kings continue to depress me from the small forward position.
- Please, please, please Greivis, can you just put together a consistent run of games. We need you to be a capable point guard or else we will fall back into the black hole offense of the past four seasons. The less you make an impact on the game, the more Boogie will feel like its okay to jack up ten 20-footers a game.
- Last note on the Grizzlies game. That was about as bad a performance we have had this year. The Kings allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 55% from the field, are you serious? They are professional rock throwers most of the time. So instead of forcing them to throw up three after three, we let them take it to the hoop time after time (the Grizzlies starters shot 59%). I know coach Malone has his work cut out for him on the defensive end since all of our players suck there, but man was this game disheartening.
This week sees the Kings playing four games, two against the Phoenix Suns and one each against the Los Angeles teams (Kings will beat the Lakers), as they try and instill hope in lifelong fans such as myself. And when this season gets the darkest, just remember to check out Julius Randle’s (20.5/14.3/62% FG, highlights below!) and Aaron Gordon’s (14.3/9.3/2.8 blks) college stats to cheer you up, one will be on the team soon enough.