Posted by: Kingsguru21 | April 15, 2009

Season recap (if you want to call it that)

It sucked. It was fucking terrible. It was really fucking terrible. It was so fucking terrible, that gouging my eyeballs seemed viable and reasonable after awhile. Oh, seriously? You want something honest? You gotta be shitting me….

When you win 17 games (I haven’t embraced the 17th win–I had gotten used to this team winning 16 for quite some time now), you tend to remember a lot of losses. And a lot of losses. It’s like the Bizarro version of the Cavaliers where they find every way to win, only the opposite. Best player in the game over there? Worst possible performances of all time over here. Or, something like that.

This season was probably doomed from the start. From Brad Miller’s suspension over the summer for smoking Ganja, to Francisco Garcia’s pre-season calf injury, to Kevin Martin injuring his ankle against the Warriors so badly he couldn’t play on it, only to have it become a deep bone bruise he couldn’t shake all season long, to Brad Miller never recovering some of the form he played with last season, to Beno Udrih never being consistent, to Reggie Theus irking all the basketball staff, to Kenny Natt irking the world, to Joe Maloof’s knee surgery–okay maybe not–but the season just never did go right.

There weren’t many highlights. Seems like there were too many lowlights to count. Truthfully, it seems like the truth is rather simple: following this team is like performing masturbation; you do so, but it’s not best to admit it in public. After finishing a NBA worst 17-65, the Wizards who were neck & neck all season long with the worst record, the Kings simply were the worst team in the NBA after all. This team set a franchise record for losses, and a franchise low for wins in a season.

But, with all the brutal losses, and injuries, with a coaching change, with all kinds of crap being slung about from management to ownership from the players to Kenny Natt and Reggie Theus, this season did have some silver linings.

Say what you want about Spencer Hawes, and I have, but there are positive things to say about him. He isn’t able to walk into a bar and drink yet, but he did manage to average 11.4 pts per game and 7.1 boards a night on just over 29 mins per night. He played in 77 games, and started 51. He nearly averaged 2 assists a night (1.9). In February, when he took over starting from Brad Miller because of an injury, and then which carried over after Miller was traded several weeks later, he averaged 10.2 pts and 8.6 boards. He also averaged 2.5 assists. In March, He scored 15.6 pts, but dipped on the board count to 7.3 a game. His assists dipped .1 to 2.4. In April, 14.6 pts, 8.5 boards, and 1.8 assists. This is your 20 year old center.

At the beginning of the year, I predicted something about 11 & 6 (or I said 10 & 5 with something a litle higher), and what did I get (other than a Kenyon Martin cheap shot to end Spencer’s season)? 11.4 pts, and 7.1 boards. Slightliy higher scoring and a well cut above board work by Spencer. And, all that came with the up & downs of not getting minutes every night, or being consistent. Once Spencer found his rhythm some nights, it was fun to watch. It’s more encouraging than it should be, if only because there was little else to be encouraged by.

Jason Thompson had a pretty good season considering. He played 82 games averaging roughly 24.5 minutes a night. He started 56 of these games. He averaged just short of 11.1 pts per game. He averaged just under 7.4 boards a night. He averaged just over 1.1 assists a night. This is all out of your raw rookie PF who hasn’t quite learned the game yet. In February he averaged 9.8 pts and 6.4 boards. In March he averaged 13.1 pts and 8.3 boards. In April he’s averaged 14.6 pts and 10.6 boards a night. He didn’t exceed, or under perform my expectations. He’s right on trac for what I thought he could be all along, which is a bigger version of David West. He’s a talented player regardless of what the Kings do in the upcoming draft. This pleases me.

Kevin Martin had a great season considering his deep ankle bone bruise, that acted up recently after the Double OT loss to Golden State about 2 weeks ago, he’s since shut it down for the season costing him a chance to be top 10 in scoring. Hopefully, though, the extended rest will allow him to fully recover and go into the season with a renewed sense of purpose and energy (which admittedly he does not seem in short supply of). Kevin did not shoot as efficiently from two as he did from 3 this season, and, so what? Next year I hope to see a similar trend of efficiency from 3 and a return to efficiency from deuce land. Along with improvement from defense, but that’s for another time.

Francisco Garcia didn’t really disappoint me or enthrall me or “anything” me. I got frustrated with his shot selection, but well, I got frustrated watching this team so often so consistently. So, in a way some of that frustration spilled over onto Francisco. On a better team Francisco is more valuable, and on a worse team, all his negatives are glaringly obvious.

I don’t really have anything useful to say about Donte Greene the basketball player. At least not right now anyway.

Bobby Jackson earned my eternal respect for coming back, even though he really didn’t have to.

Andres Nocioni is a tough guy. Is he what the team needs moving forward? I suppose that’s up to the next head coach.

Speaking of coaches, thankfullly this was the last Kenny Natt coached game. Or it had better be.

I’m glad Will Solomon was waived and I don’t have to say nasty things about how he should pass the ball more often.

I have nothing bad to say about Cedric Simmons. In fact, I have nothing to say period.

Beno Udrih is too long for this space, and I would like to finish writing this before I’m 90 years old.

Calvin Booth helped the team in very limited minutes. Good luck in future endeavors sir.

I have nothing to say about why Ike Diogu never got off the bench before Monday. I know he can score, but doing it against Denver in a game they had controlled, and against Minnesota when they didn’t have a single player taller than 6’9 playing, maeks me skeptical about how effective he could be night in and night out.

I’m not sure what was worse: the 45 point blowout at the hands of the Celtics at Arco, or the 48 point out wipeout by the Suns in Phoenix. Either way, the Kings are well deserving of their league worst -8.8 pt differential.

The Kings will have a top 4 pick in June, after Houston’s loss, combined with San Antonio and Portland’s victories tonight, will send the Kings the 23rd pick. The Kings 2nd round pick (guaranteed to be the 1st pick of the 2nd round) is 31st overall. To recap: 1-4, 23 & 31. I’ve heard of worse things. However, I’ll re-iterate this a lot more as draft time gets closer, but it’s extremely important that no matter how much argument goes into who the Kings take with that top pick, that the Kings get at least a good rotation player from one of the lower picks. That is beyond crucial given this team’s talent situation.

Summary

A season that had a crucial “chemistry” injury in Garcia ended up becoming a crucial team suicide early on. The team never found it’s mojo with winnable games in November. Once the losses piled on, apathy set in, Brad Miller quit on the team, Reggie Theus got fired a week & half before Christmas, Kenny Natt never proved to be much of a head coach, Kevin Martin’s ankle suffered a series of setbacks, John Salmons never proved much of a difference maker despite having a career season, and the losses in discouraging fashion set in. This team lost games at the buzzer, with terrible and inconsistent execution all year long, with the worst defense in franchise history, and with lack of effort at times. When there is a will, there is a way, and with regards to losing, this team succeeded.

There is a bridge to the land of the living. Brad Miller can’t set the tone with disinterested apathy no longer. The Kings will likely be a more physical team with Andres Nocioni and Jason Thompson up front which may resuult in less points around the rim next season for opponents. Spencer Hawes will be a year older and wiser. Kevin Martin’s ankle hopefully fully recovers 100%, and his ball handling and decision making improves. Hopefully Beno Udrih gets to a reasonable level of play. Being consistent and being counted for 12 & 5 every night would be a terrific start for Beno. There will be at least 2 more rookies, if not 3, on the team asking for minutes in the rotation. Which will probably lead to more losses, but hopefully not as much frustration. There is light at this end of the tunnel. This team had staved off the rebuilding for so long that a dramatic dropoff had to be expected. What happened with the falling off the cliff made the franchise desperate. But, it’s more clear than anything else that the franchise dysfunction stemming from some of the Maloof’s expectations, along with Geoff Petrie’s penchant for doing things his way, is not a winning mixture. Everything that happened on the court was a severe bi-product of sins committed a couple years ago.

In short, pick the most brutal way to play a season, lose every way under the sun, barely win at home where your fans need to be encouraged to go to your games, and that’s what the Kings did. The best way you’ll be able to tell the Kings are on the right track is with the coaching search. If that goes well (and it may not), then it’s likely the draft will go well too. It’s an understatement the size of the cavern that is K Street Mall to say that the next 3 months could make this franchise’s long term viability in Sacramento.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: