Posted by: natehughart | February 4, 2012

Game 23: Golden State Warriors at Kings

Well. A winnable game at home. We haven’t talked about that much lately have we? Here’s to hoping, eh?

The Kings check in with an ORtg of 97.3 points (27th of 30) per 100 possessions and a Def Rtg of 108.7 points (27th of 30) per 100 possessions. The Pace is 93.3 (6th of 30) possessions per game.

The Warriors clock a grip of hoes like Dolemite with an ORtg of 104.5 points (11th of 30) per 100 possessions and a DRtg of 106.6 points (26th of 30) per 100 possessions. The Pace is 92.6 (9th of 30) possessions per game.

Perhaps you have heard shooting is key to winning basketball games. The Dubs, as it were, are 6th in eFG% for the league at 50.3% and the Kings are last at 43.7%. Glorious.

Defensive eFG% is a bit more interesting as the almighty Dubs for the season sport a paltry eFG% allowed of 49%. The Kings, in part due to the especially demanding aspect of getting back in transition defense, have allowed a 50.5 eFG% on the season.

However, the Kings did give up a 47.7 eFG% against Portland which would put them in the top half of league defense. You should also note that percentages the atrocious amount of easy looks Portland got in the 1st half against the Kings Thursday night. But enough about the Debbie Downer stuff, let’s get to the good things.

As far as DRB%? Yes the Kings are still last, and the Warriors are 28th in the NBA. In otherwords, whoever can get better shots consistently wins the game? Wow, what a shocking revelation.

Required Reading

Ken Berger of CBS Sports talks about the arena in context of whether Geoff Petrie and the Maloofs stick around long term:

3. Kings: Sacramento already has changed coaches, and the annual effort to destabilize the organization from the outside and push team president Geoff Petrie out the door is fully under way. It’s a play that’s been run before without success, and I’m skeptical of the renewed reports of Petrie’s demise in the past week.

Petrie, 63, has one year left on his contract after this season, and his future with the organization is more tied to the expiration date on that contract and the uncertain future of the franchise than on any measurement of the team’s performance in the confusing prism of the shortened, post-lockout schedule.

Frankly, of far more importance is exactly where the Kings will find a permanent home — Sacramento, with new arena costs piled squarely on the backs of taxpayers, or in Anaheim, Kansas City or points unknown.

In conjunction with that unresolved matter is the issue of how long the Maloofs will be able to maintain ownership. Joe and Gavin Maloof have privately maintained they’re fine financially; while they’ve lost millions on the Kings, their future is secure because their trust fund remains intact. But nobody thought the Maloofs would relinquish majority control of the Palms hotel and casino franchise in Las Vegas, and fewer thought they’d sell the family’s original cash cow, the New Mexico beer distributorship they unloaded in 2010.

Despite the league’s stubborn efforts to keep the team in Sacramento, if a deep-pocketed prospective buyer wanted to take the money-losing basketball business off the Maloofs’ hands, it’s something the family would have to at least consider. Selling the team is said to be a last resort for the Maloofs, according to NBA front office sources. But as one of those sources said, if the Maloofs were interested in making money, they should’ve sold the Kings and kept the beer business. So the whole situation — not just Petrie — bears watching.

James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom has a quality piece about John Salmons and his excellent game against Portland.

There is video of Keith Smart from Jon Santiago at CK and The Bee has video of both Smart and Isaiah Thomas up on their blog.

More importantly though, Keith Smart talks about how he sees his depth chart, where rookies in general place on the depth chart, and the film the Kings looked at after the Portland loss.

Hassan Whiteside was recalled from Reno yesterday.

Isaiah Thomas and the trust from his teammates per Jason Jones of the Bee.

On Friday, Cousins had 2 interesting quotes from the notes section of Jones’ write-up at the Bee:

Kings coach Keith Smart would like it if the team wouldn’t do things that make it easier to defend, such as standing and holding the ball.

The Kings promise they are working on that.

“Those are old ways we’ve got to get rid of,” said Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. “It’s easier said than done. When you’ve been in that mode two or three years, it’s hard to get rid of.”

The 2nd:

“We would like it to be we just snap our fingers and it’s just done, but it’s not going to happen overnight,” Cousins said. “We’re going to continue to get better. It’s going to take time.”

Some Warriors stuff……

Marcus Thompson II talks about whether Monta Ellis may be an All-Star in today’s edition of the Contra Costa times.

Adam Lauridsen does an interview with Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob at the San Jose Mercury News. There is a lot of excellent stuff in this (and worth every moment spent reading it), but there is a necessary part that actually pertains to Keith Smart:

Fast Break: On the basketball side, what’s been the biggest surprise?

Lacob: I don’t know that there’s that many big surprises on the basketball side, to be honest with you. I think we knew going in that we needed to do a lot of work. We needed to change the culture on not just the business side, but the basketball side. We made extensive changes to start that process in the coaching staff and, frankly, in the support organization around the coaching staff. A lot of changes. That’s happened. There is a substantial culture change already, and more to come. It doesn’t happen overnight, cultures don’t change overnight. They evolve. With new ownership, with new management, certainly a lot of that has happened already. But we need to do more. So, clearly we knew would have quite a bit of change to do along those lines and we’ve done that. We’re making progress. Keith Smart last year turned out to be a temporary hire. I think he’s a good guy, it was a very difficult decision as we’ve talked about, I wish him the best of luck. I actually think he’ll be a good NBA coach, but at the end of the day I just think we needed more of a culture change. It’s not his fault, but he was still part of the Nelson era.

Fast Break: Why didn’t you bring in a completely new guy — your own guy — at the beginning of last season when Keith Smart was hired on as head coach?

Lacob: I didn’t even own the team. It was hard enough to get done what I got done. It was actually very hard.

Fast Break: So it wasn’t your choice to hire Keith Smart?

Lacob: No, it was, but the idea of going out and recruiting was an impossibility. It was hard enough just to get the previous owner to allow us to make a change, of some degree. The idea that we could go remove Coach Nelson and do a search, it was logistically impossible. It was not possible. And so we had to do what we had to do. That was pretty much our only choice.

(Just on a side note, the Kings have benefitted greatly by the Warriors moving on from Smart. Even if it works out for the Dubs in this respect, it should be noted that the Kings have benefitted from Smart and his attitude.)

Rusty Simmons of the SF Chronicle has a piece about the Dubs aspirations:

The Warriors haven’t won three in a row this season. They did it five times last season, although never extending past a four-game winning streak.

“Great teams win three in a row every other week,” Curry said. “We’ve played hard, but we haven’t gotten results, so those things really mean a lot to us. Eventually, those small victories will turn into an everyday feeling. We’ll know how to handle it, and get right back into practice and work on getting better.

Ethan Sherwood Straus of Hoopspeak, among other things, has a piece up at Warriors World about Steph Curry that you probably should read. (That’s sarcasm for you should read it.) It does explain some of the lesser sides of Curry that maybe Kings fans haven’t seen as often.

JM Poulard of WW also has a preview up of the Kings-Dubs matchup tonight.

Stathead Final Thoughts

Nothing incredible, but the Kings currently have 3 guys over 85% from the FT line (Jimmer Fredette, Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas). There have been a total of 24 seasons (out of 258 individual player seasons with at least 50 Free Throw Attempts since the franchise moved to the EC in 1985) of players who have had 85% or better in FT%. There have been multiple instances of two players over the course of the last 12 years. But not once has there ever been a case of 3 players doing so. Of the 3 guys not being able to finish the year that way, Isaiah Thomas is the best bet. In college Thomas had a cumulative 71.9% from the FT line over his 3 seasons at UW.

Some perspective is needed though. If Thomas finishes over 80%, or well over even, that’s a successful season percentage wise for LSG.

The Real Final Thoughts

Tonight is the first chance to see whether this Kings team can actually turn the corner. Or, as usual, a bunch of teases followed by falling flat on their face when the team doesn’t understand how to respond to real actual success.

If for nothing else, I want to see this team’s effort (starting with the terrible two) remain at a high level for as consistently as possible. Keith Smart has this team pointed in the right direction, and it’s clear that Smart’s voice was something this team needed. But, as I’ve said many times before, during, and after Paul Westphal’s departure, it doesn’t matter who the coach is if players simply don’t play hard and execute plays. Which is sometimes easier said than done, no doubt, but it’s not too much to ask of professional basketball players.

Game is at 7pm on Comcast California. Night of the living Dub nightmare of the week is almost overall. The anticipation! It’s killing me…..

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