Posted by: Kingsguru21 | December 1, 2010

Kings lose to Pacers 107-98

First, here’s the box score. Here is the 4 Factors:

Pace Eff eFG FT/FG OREB% TOr
Indiana 97.0 110.3 49.4% 36.7 15.4 12.4
Sacramento 101.0 47.2% 17.0 28.6 14.4

Well, my analysis of this game will consist of 2 halves. At the end of the 1st half, there was a sequence of plays that sums up the Kings and their struggles of a 4-12 team.

* DeMarcus Cousins steals the ball from Josh McRoberts. He then misses the layup.
* Beno Udrih steals the ball from the Pacers and makes a tough contested half hook in the lane.
* Danny Granger hits a 3.
* Tyreke Evans drives and throws a wild pass to the Kings bench.

Now, these are all problems and a microcosm of the issue’s this team faces. First, every time Tyreke Evans drives to the middle of the lane teams are collapsing on him. He isn’t responding well, and, you can also blame the other guys for not finding spots where Tyreke can find them and move the ball. Although I’m inclined the other guys need to understand that they have to move in these area’s in order to take advantage of the defense collapsing. It isn’t happening.

This is one reason I want to see a Tayshaun Prince. (I wouldn’t be opposed to Chauncey Billups. Both would help this team.) Either way, a veteran with NBA savvy needs to be on this roster. And, I wouldn’t have ever said Sammy Dalembert is that guy. He’s doing what he does for this team when he’s healthy. This quote by Jim O’Brien tells it all:

“We knew they were going to have a difficult time with him,” O’Brien said. “They don’t have a stopper defender at the wing spot. So we knew he was going to get his good looks. He took advantage of them and we got the ball in his hands.”

One point about Tyreke Evans. He had 11 points, 7 assists and 2 boards in the 1st half. He finished with 16 points, 9 assists and 7 boards. Whatever defense Jim O’Brien asked his Pacers to do helped. Tyreke Evans hasn’t adjusted as much as he needs to.

On the other hand, it’s also worth noting that Tyreke Evans has never seen opponents defend him like this. He’s never had to face this level of defense, and the struggles he’s facing is not uncommon for a young star whose seeing defense pack it in. It’s not always as simple as improving your jump shot, your pull up shot, or passing more. It’s the movement off the ball, the crisp passing, the extra pass being made, taking the best available shot at the right moment (a big problem with Luther Head and Beno Udrih lately), and young players learning all their roles.

* As far as Luther Head vs Beno Udrih, I think this is an illustration of why the Kings need a Tayshaun Prince. You have Head in for defense, and Head was making shots in the 3rd qtr. However, if you had Beno and Prince on offense, I think it’s possible you have more off the ball movement which would make the Pacers defend a bit more.

It’s really simple: The Kings don’t understand that moving without the ball is as important as passing the ball to find a quality shot. With so many guys seeing their value offensively as shooting, I’m not sure this will change.

* I think as I see more of the game (I’m in the middle of the 3rd qtr writing this), you see one issue with this team crop up time & time again: Tyreke Evans is getting decent shots that he just hasn’t learned how to make. He’s struggling making shots he hasn’t become accustomed to making. The Kings, even when they play 1 on 1, are not making their open shots. Sometimes it’s really that simple.

I’m going to write about DeMarcus Cousins now. A lot about DMC. This was an important game for him.

One of DMC’s issue’s is that he tends to reach and make plays he can’t make. Some of this will come with growth and age. He’ll learn you can’t just take the ball away from NBA G’s. Some of this stuff will come in understanding how to get shots around the basket.

The move where DMC goes around Roy Hibbert at the 10:40 mark (or so) was somewhat lucky in my view. Unless DMC goes up against a young guy like Hibbert, there are a lot of athletic Center’s in the NBA that can block that shot. Still, I don’t mind DMC taking that shot and if he can’t get it off against other C’s, than it’s an issue.

My point here is that DMC played well, and used his advantages to his advantage. Not every young player does that.

******

The name of the game is execution. The Kings have a lot of young players whose first instinct is to take a shot and want to take that shot. When Tyreke has the ball, there is no real commitment to move off the ball and possibly help Tyreke by getting open or give him a better lane to pass the ball. DeMarcus Cousins is an excellent passer (possibly the best passer on the team), and this is a problem too.

Whatever you want to say is the problem, it’s mostly a young team with a lot of players whose belief and/or instincts are to score. I’m not so sure there is anything Paul Westphal can do about that unless players are willing to give up some of these shots and sacrifice to make it difficult for other teams to defend Tyreke and the rest of the Kings.

When players understand Tyreke Evans is the superstar, and that sacrifices have to be made (sacrifices that Tyreke has to make as well), then this team will improve. We just haven’t seen that sacrifice yet.

As far as the struggles, I think that this may help the team in the long run. Teams aren’t making it easy for Tyreke to score, and thus he needs to adjust. The other players, namely the younger one’s, aren’t adjusting nearly as often or as much as they need to.

I’m not sure what Paul Westphal, the coaching staff, Geoff Petrie and the franchise or the Maloof’s can do unless they are patient (and look beyond the fans bitching and moaning about the losing) to let this team grow up and grow into it’s potential. With time, it’s still possible. Without patience or without learning, this team won’t improve. We won’t know if this team can’t improve if we don’t give it time for this team to improve.

Is Tyreke struggling? Yes, he is. Then again, he’s never faced teams defending him this way consistently. The more he recognizes it, and the more he understands where, how and why he can get his shots, the less errors he makes.

I don’t want Tyreke being pulled every time he struggles (like last night) because he needs to learn to play through it. DMC is starting to improve. A trade or two, and this team could very easily be a 35-40 win team. They are learning on the job, trying to adjust their game accordingly (easier said than done or more players would do it, and adjust to the demands of the NBA game.

All I’m preaching is that there should be patience. This team starting slowly could benefit them in the long run as they learn how to play together, run their offense AFTER teams make adjustments and play effective defense. I want to see this team after a whole season. I can’t simply judge how effective they’ll be if I don’t have a large enough sample size. A young team with 16 games under it’s belt isn’t simply enough time to make that judgment.

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