Posted by: natehughart | February 2, 2012

Game 22: Portland Trail Blazers at Kings

Only so much is going to be had with this preview. Adjust accordingly.


Blazers Edge, Portland Roundball Society and Rip City Project are all sites that I suggest reading for Blazers opinion.

As Matt Kawahara of the Bee notes in his 5 keys for tonight’s game, who defends Gerald Wallace and effectively? If Salmons cannot, and Salmons is a terrible matchup for G-Dub, than I might suggest putting Tyler Honeycutt on Wallace, green NBA status not withstanding, to see how Honeycutt could fare. I doubt Donte Greene will keep Gerald from getting where he wants to go, and I’m definitely not convinced that Tyreke Evans can slow G-Dub down.

Jason Jones has an important piece on Tyreke Evans/DeMarcus Cousins being leaders for the Kings long term in today’s Bee paper edition.

“The game has to speak for itself, first because I don’t believe in all that talking,” the coach said.

This is what stuck out to me. Everything else in the piece is what you’d expect for a puff piece about the two young players that matter more than anyone or anything else to the franchise (including cash poor assclown ownership and a mostly interested in self preservation head of basketball operations). But this quote stuck by Smarty out to me about exactly what Marcus Thornton does that is valuable:

“He’s young, but he’s a veteran,” Smart said of Thornton. “Even having only a couple years under his belt, he still has the savvy of an NBA-aggressive player. And you’ve missed that on the floor because you need it in some crunch-time situations. He can make a play out of a dead play.”

This is something Thornton does ridiculously well. Evans and Cousins routinely go 1 on 1, but do not get the quality of shots that Thornton does when possessions break down. Not every broken down possession results in quality shots (it is why they are broken down possessions) but when you can get a good shot in those situations and make something work is a sign of someone who understands what’s going on. Sure Marcus Thornton is a gunner in the Vinnie Johnson mold no doubt, but that doesn’t mean Thornton isn’t valuable in what he provides.

Stathead Final Thoughts

There are 3 players on the roster with an ORtg of higher than 102.8 which is the current league average. One is Tyler Honeycutt who has played all of 8 minutes so far on the season.

One is Isaiah Thomas who is at 105 ORtg individually. The other is Jason Thompson at 113 ORtg (his DRtg is 110–which is the only positive ORtg to DRtg differential on the Kings right now–of players getting consistent minutes that is) and this says a lot. Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans are both near the 102.8 mark at 101 ORtg each, and DeMarcus Cousins is at 99. Francisco Garcia and Chuck Hayes are at 98 ORtg, and Jimmer Fredette has a 96 ORtg right now. All these numbers, not to mention the defensive numbers, have the possibility in moving the appropriate direction for each metric respectively. Right now the Kings have a margin of victory at -11.3 points per game.

Sacramento’s eFG% offensively is still dead last at 43.5% (which is .8% points behind Charlotte who is 29th), but that gap is actually narrowing as the Kings are having significantly better shot attempts recently from a variety of sources. The league avg for eFG% is 48.2% this season so it gives you an idea of how bad the Kings are doing in this department. But it gets worse.

Defensively the Kings are giving up 50.3% eFG% (good for 26th) right now which is 2.1% higher than the league avg of, you guessed it, 48.2%. It’s not stunning the Kings are actually worse off offensively with so little offense coming from offensive sources. What is amazing is that the Kings actually may end up 20th in eFG% defensively by the middle of the season, and could improve from there by the end of the year. The problem, as you may realize, is that the Kings are also dead last in DRB% right now.

You can check all this out on the NBA page at Basketball-Reference.com. The good news is that this team has been fouling less than they did a year ago. The bad news, is that is reflected in the high eFG% given up on a nightly basis. If the Kings can continue to foul less while decreasing their eFG% given up, this has the potential for a league average defensive unit THIS SEASON.

Final Thoughts.

Oh I don’t have any. Other than to say I hate the NBA system of NBATV/blacking out games that I should be able to see on Broadband. When you make it more attractive to go out and find an illegal stream, you know you got problems. NBATV is a difficult channel to get because A) it’s a premium channel and B) it’s treated by the NBA as a widespread channel such as ESPN or TNT. I get why the NBA blacks ESPN/TNT games out; it makes a lot of sense. But blacking out NBATV games (and games like Portland for someone in the Seattle market like myself) is what hurts the NBA’s staying power with casual fans. You make it this difficult on a basketball junkie with limited resources, what’s going to happen for fans in other locales?

The NBA has tried long and hard to push NBATV as a national TV alternative. I doubt the NBATV channel has seen an uptick in viewership over the long haul. (I could be wrong.) The same people that had it 3 years ago have it now. The same people that do not have it do not have it. The NBA needs to stop pretending that long term emphasis will be on a premium channel that is ridiculously expensive to purchase from Comcast and/or DirecTV. The NBA definitely needs to stop screwing over fans who buy broadband (like me) from watching NBATV and/or Portland games (in my case) when it’s unnecessary and not available in the broader overall cable package. I wouldn’t mind being blacked out from Portland if it was available on basic cable. I get that. But being blacked out of a game that I literally have to go to a sports bar to watch or find an illegal stream is especially irritating, and seems like an unnecessary way to do business.

Then again, I’ve never presided over a business that has made near 4 billion dollars in a season either.

Game is at 7pm on Comcast California. As if you didn’t know that already.


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