Posted by: Kingsguru21 | March 25, 2009

Has Kenny Natt really hurt the Kings?

I was listening today to something Henry Abbott linked a few days ago (if you notice I like reading what Henry links to), and it was a radio conversation between an Oklahoma Talk Radio host (I can’t figure out his name), and Ric Bucher.

First, what Ric said:

“I can’t think of a team as young as this, that has gone through 3-29, and continue to play and shown the development that this team has. The chemistry this team has. Why nobody is paying attention? To me these are tremendous signs.”

“Host:”

Whatever you’re going to say in your story, trust me, you need to say something about Scott Brooks. PJ Carleismo, and I don’t mind PJ, but he didn’t have any excitement about this team. He talked down about them publicly, and you could tell he was beaten down by the losses.”

“Ric Bucher:”

I’m a big fan of Scott, and I’m glad he got the opportunity, and he’s certainly doing a great job. I would keep in mind, and this always happens, I don’t know if Scott could have the impact he’s having with this team without PJ, good or bad. The fact that PJ was so demanding, was so critical, almost in a way sets up Scott to be encouraging and be positive. It allows guys to feed off it in a way that when this team was struggling 2 years ago, if you brought Scott in then, I don’t know if it quite plays in the same way. Whether you like PJ or not, he kind of set the table for Scott to do what he did.”

To Quote a Sactown Royalty poster, JJham, a few days ago when the discussion of whether Natt should keep his job:

This is quite the quandary that Petrie/BrothersMaloof have created. I said this 40 games ago and I still believe it today, the Kings should have signed Eddie Jordan to a long term deal a week or so after cutting Theus loose. This group of players that we are counting on to turn this franchise around have wasted 2/3 of a season learning bad habits, giving less than 100% effort for a guy who was never going to keep this job. Now these players are going to go into an off-season without a coaches influence on what they need to work on as players going forward to fit the scheme of the incoming coach.

The emphasis is mine. I say that because I disagree. But, it’s easy to refute for a number of reasons.

The easiest reason is that head coaches don’t usually come to teams in the middle of struggling seasons. They just like to wait until the season is finished, and then take the time to implement their system, along with talking to players over the summer, before fully implementing their system come training camp.

Another reason, like in Eddie Jordan’s case, is that he’s already getting paid THROUGH next season (09-10) already. He’s not losing money and relaxing. He gets to spend some time with his family, and he gets to figure out what his next move is. Besides, this season would have hurt his coaching record. No coach likes to lose a lot of games because it leaves a nasty mark on the resume, and because coaching is usually a short term proposition, every coach has to think of short term success because that’s the nature of the beast.

The idea that Kenny Natt has really hurt this team is a matter of opinion. It’s obvious they aren’t very good, and to this end, numbers here they come.

Via 82games.com, and while you’re going through some of these, keep in mind several things. The Kings could be rated 14th in Total P(oints) P(er) G(ame), and yet, if the pace is a strong factor (as in they put up a lot of shots therefore score more points) as to why they do so, why would it matter how many points the Kings score.

Traditionally, these arguments have worked to argue for a team’s defensive prowess (like Denver a year ago), or Phoenix, in their D’Antoni heyday, to point out that giving up a lot of points isn’t not necessarily bad defense.

However, it works equally as well as pointing out that the Kings aren’t just terrible defensively, that they’re pretty terrible offensively too. According to 82games.com:

Shooting Details

Offense Defense
Shot Att. eFG% Ast Pts Att. eFG% Ast Pts
Jump 67% .441 58% 47.7 64% .462 58% 48.4
Close 26% .551 45% 23.5 28% .571 50% 25.9
Dunk 5% .902 77% 6.7 7% .915 69% 10.0
Tips 2% .426 0% 1.6 2% .439 0% 1.6
All 100% .491 54% 79.5 100% .521 56% 85.8

Notice any problem’s with this team? They’re fine if they work closer to the basket. They even shoot at high % when taking shots closer to the rim. The problem: They don’t bother. (Note: All teams shoot this many Jump Shots. The problem is that, unlike this team, they actually get back on defense.)

I think this is a function of several things. Martin is a quality offensive player who takes a lot of jump shots. Most of the  players on this team take jump shots, and every team takes a majority of their shots from the perimeter, but other than Hawes who has shown strides in his low post play, nobody else plays around the cup much. Even Martin gets a substantial portion of his FT attempts off  perimeter shots.

What does this have to do with Natt? Well, it also means that there is a problem with players, yes, but perhaps Natt, and I suspect he knows it all too well, is that he’s being used as cannon fodder for the next coach. Coach X: “Look at this piss poor bullshit system you fuckers were running. You couldn’t run a break if youre grandma sat you on her lap and did it for you.” Or something like that.

Natt is NOT the answer. Anybody with a pair of eyes can tell you that. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t had worth to this team. It just means that the next head coach better use this season as motivation to properly sell his system to this group, or he’s going to be toast too. After all, if this group of players still here next season, and most of these guys will be, then if they want to win they’re going to have buy into the system that the next Head Coach brings with him.

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Responses

  1. Hey Pook, just finished “10 Million” on StR, gonna miss you on the game threads but now I know where to find you bro. As I was reading your last fanpost I was thinking “Pook really should be doing his own blog”. Good luck, it’s the right time. I’ll be back.

  2. Thanks Blue for the nice comment.

    I’m still going to reply in game threads for awhile. Cuz truthfully, this format sucks for that. Also, since many of you are my friends there, I also don’t want to skip the chance to converse “intelligently” with many of you who aren’t commenting at any other time than the game threads.


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