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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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2013/14 NBA Team Preview: Sacramento Kings

Season Review 2012/13:

Advanced Stats
Numbers
Rank
Pace
93.6
8
Offense
106.2
12
Defense
111.4
29
Rebound
48.9
24

4 Factors
Offense
Numbers
Rank
Defense
Numbers
Rank
eFG%
49.1
16
eFG%
51.7
27
TO%
13.4
9
TO%
13.6
17
Reb%
26.6
16
Reb%
29.0
30
FT%
20.8
12
FT%
22.7
27

Monthly Performance
Record
OffRtg
DefRtg
November
 4-11
103.2
109.2
December
 7-8
107.2
113.6
January
 6-11
104.4
115.8
February
 3-9
108.9
117.0
March
 7-8
113.7
110.5
April
 1-7
106.6
114.8



The Kings had another season where they were clearly the worst organization in the league, something recurring over the last few years. With a 28-54 record, they were the sixth worst team in the regular season, something ridiculous considering the individual talent that the team had. I give more value to what Charlotte did last season with very little talent on their roster than Sacramento, a team that was characterized by selfish play and lack of discipline throughout the season.

Even with a poorly managed offense by Head Coach Keith Smart, who consistently inserted weird lineups on the court, the Kings actually managed to be a reasonable offensive team during the season by being #12 in offensive rating. Over the months of February and March, the Kings averaged a nice 104.1 and 107.3 offensive ratings numbers, while being one of the few teams in the league that scored over 100 points to Memphis during the regular season.

The problem was that the team didn’t even have a similar effort when it came to defense, with only the Bobcats being worse than them on defense during the regular season. Sacramento’s defense “managed” to be in the bottom 5 on eFG% (#27), defensive rebounding (#30) and FT rate (#27), something that shows how Sacramento struggled on every defensive areas of the game.

Keith Smart once again couldn’t get the respect and trust from his players and when that happens, any coach won’t be able to do a good job. DeMarcus Cousins failed to breakthrough once again due to his lack of professionalism and selfishness by being the #3 player in the league with more personal fouls per game (3.6), #2 on ejections (4) and he was the “champion” on technical fouls with 17!

The team’s best player performance always reflects a lot on the team’s overall performance and this clearly happened in Sacramento last season: a talented player who can’t reach his full potential due to lack of work ethic and professionalism.


Offseason Report:

The first step that Sacramento needed to make to change its path would always have to be a coaching change. It’s not like Coach Smart is a bad person or a poor coach (he is), but the truth is that when a coach can’t discipline his team, he will never be able to guide them onto something positive.

Therefore, the Kings hired Mike Malone to be their new Head Coach. He was considered as one of the best assistant coaches in the league and he really did an awesome job at Golden State over the last two seasons. Having in considering the franchise’s history over the last few years, if Malone manages to change the bad identity that has been characterizing the Kings recently, then he will get a big victory immediately.

Unlike what happened with DeMarcus Cousins, who got an extension with the Kings on a four-year, $62 million deal, the Kings didn’t make a big effort to keep Tyreke Evans in their roster.

In order to replace Evans, the Kings selected Ben McLemore with the 7th overall pick. The Kings also got Greivis Vasquez on a three-team trade that involved Evans’s move to New Orleans to improve the team at the PG position.

In the frontcourt, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was a nice pickup from the Bucks, while Carl Landry agreed to a four-year, $26 million contract with the Kings to give them more depth on an unit where they have a lot of talent on paper. However, Landry will be out for the first three/four months of the season due to a hip injury.


Season Preview:

Nobody expects Sacramento to do good things this season, but the truth is that they have some real talent to surprise the league if things go their way.

Just look at their frontcourt unit and tell me what “lowly” team manages to get such talent and depth like the Kings have with DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, Patrick Patterson and Chuck Hayes!

Of course it’s Cousins’s situation that will define the team’s season once again. Actually it will also define the team’s near future as well, as Cousins signed that mega deal during the offseason. Apparently, it seems like that the organization believes that Cousins can change and become a consistent player, capable of fulfilling its talent. His “raw” numbers aren’t that bad, with 17.1 points per game on 47% FG, 9.9 rebounds per game and 2.7 assists per game last season. However, his insistence on shooting from long range was quite visible with 4.0 16-23 feet shots attempted per game, while connecting just 32% FG of those. His laziness on the defensive end also needs to end. The Kings with their good frontcourt can’t afford continue being the worst defensive rebounding team in the league like they were last season.

Jason Thompson will be the team’s projected starting PF and we are in presence of an underrated player who can help the team in both ends of the floor. Carl Landry’s offensive skills are great like he showed last season with the Warriors (54% FG, 10.8 ppg and 81.7% FT), while coming off the bench, a kind of role that he should continue having with Sacramento when he comes back from surgery. The Kings have also Patrick Patterson, who is another useful frontcourt player and that showed a nice shooting range last season in both Houston and Sacramento. Finally, Chuck Hayes is one of the smartest players in the league and even though he is undersized, he compensates that really well with some excellent positioning.

For a team that struggled so badly on defense last season, Mbah a Moute’s signing was a smart move due to his versatility on defending multiple positions, while his defensive minded attitude will help his teammates as well. John Salmons will continue in Sacramento due to his contract, but it’s expected that he’ll be traded mid-season.

The major question mark for the Kings this season is how their backcourt will play. Isaiah Thomas was possibly the best decision Keith Smart took as the team’s Head Coach, as he has been a good surprise after being the last drafted player two years ago. However, I believe the newly-acquired Vasquez will take over Thomas on the task of leading the offense, as he is a more pass-first PG, besides having a size advantage over him. Vasquez’s main weakness is his lack of lateral mobility that exposes him on defense quite often. Mike Malone will have a big challenge on this position, but if he is capable of getting positive production from the PG position, then Sacramento will have a nice shot of being competitive this season.

Regarding the SG position, it seems completely offensive minded, having in consideration that Marcus Thornton, Ben McLemore and Jimmer Fredette will share the minutes at this position. Mike Malone has already mentioned that Thornton is bringing it on the defensive end, but I heavily doubt that this defensive effort from Thornton will remain the same throughout the whole season.

The team’s backcourt seems like Sacramento’s weakest link, but we are still in presence of a team with serious potential, just like most Kings’ recent rosters. If Mike Malone manages to insert discipline and effort on the defensive end on the team, then the Kings will be competitive and Malone will be a strong contender for the Coach of the Year award, but we are so used to talk about “ifs” in Sacramento that another wasted year for the Kings wouldn’t be a big surprise for anyone.

My name is André Gomes, I’m from Portugal and I am a Professional Handicapper. My sole purpose is to constantly beat the sportsbooks by taking advantage of the evaluation errors they make. It is most... Read more

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