First off, I'd like to say it's great to watch basketball again. That's first and foremost. Here is the boxscore.
Some random thoughts before I hit a bullet point. It's quite possible the Kings were playing without their entire opening day starting frontline tonight: Cousins, Hayes & Salmons. Because of the circumstances surrounding the game, it's hard to evaluate exactly what went on. Because it is the Warriors who are not an exceptionally big team, it's ever more difficult to assess how this team is going to go.
In general, I find it strange that Westphal didn't play a deeper bench although I'm sure he'll address that in his post-game why some other guys didn't get those minutes.
Onto the bullet points.....
- Tyreke Evans looked explosive at times in the way that he can be. There is something to this explosiveness that I think will make things easier for everyone if Tyreke can harness it consistently this year. I've said it many times here and everywhere else: Health. If Tyreke is healthy, works on improving at the defensive end, and gets to the line consistently this season I think all will be fine. This team begins and ends with Tyreke Evans. That is simply the bottom line.
- Jimmer Fredette will be the talk of the town and up to a point that was always gonna be the case. Jimmer had 21 points on 7-11 shooting (4-6 from 3 3-6 line) which was only part of the story. At times he looked comfortable and ready to contribute. At others he simply struggled with the aspects of the NBA game that you can't teach a player how to deal with. Is Jimmer's curve so incredible he can't overcome it? Probably not. The biggest thing I think that turned a lot of people off Jimmer is due to the simple one of a kind hype he was getting last season. So, as a consequence, it's easier to say that Jimmer won't make the conversion or that he isn't capable of all the things the Kings will ask of him.
- I think a big issue, and I plan on going into detail on this in my season preview for Jimmer next week, will be how Jimmer plays both without the ball and with the ball. The Kings will ask him to be that hybrid G who can do mix and matching when necessary. How well Jimmer accomplishes this task will illustrate how successful his rookie season is.
- JJ Hickson looked terrible tonight. Everybody has their tough nights, and I think JJ will benefit a lot more from a guy like Cousins than any other player on the roster. Still I think all of the real negatives of JJ Hickson showed up tonight.
- Jason Thompson illustrated why he's not a starter.
- Isaiah Thomas is exceptionally quick and he's a lefty (I love that) too. Thomas has a great potential as both a 4th Guard and a change of pace up-tempo G who can get you bursts of points in a hurry. Thomas is like everyone else on the roster: He's really more of a scorer than a facilitator but that's okay. Thomas was always going to have transition into that role and that's part of a transition any player has to make. Still, for the 60th pick and a guy who would have likely gone undrafted had the Kings not had the 60th pick, I wonder what other teams were thinking on draft night. I'm shocked that the Kings were able to get both Tyler Honeycutt and Isaiah Thomas on draft night.
- I found it surprising that Tyler Honeycutt didn't play more than a minute tonight. Then again, with such a compressed pre-season Honeycutt isn't as important as the other guys who did play real minutes tonight. I can understand why Honeycutt didn't get those minutes for that reason.
- Marcus Thornton was Marcus Thornton tonight. He did what he does and there is little else to add.
- Hassan Whiteside needs a lot of work and that's the understatement of the decade.
- Donte Greene had a reasonably good showing tonight. He didn't play as well as he's capable of, but by no means did he play awful on the other side of that coin. I'm not convinced that the talent on this Kings team suits Donte Greene and his career well. I wouldn't be surprised if the Kings explored a trade of either Donte Greene and/or Jason Thompson to get a veteran G. I wouldn't be surprised if both were traded to get said G. The one thing the Kings have is plenty of guys who can play the 2, 3 & 4. * The way this team got smoked on the interior thus I wouldn't have a problem trading JT for a veteran G and re-sign Sam Dalembert. (He still doesn't have a contract.)
- In general this was mostly a team that really didn't have 3 of it's 7 most important players this season, and it suffered as a result. Because it's pre-season and because the main advantage the Kings have in a matchup with the Dubs is their size, without said size it became a Dubs game. Mistakes were made by the Kings that could have made the game more competitive no question. Still, it's a loss that nobody will remember in a week. That's the beauty of a pre-season game.
- Some will mention that there were times that Jimmer Fredette was frozen out by Tyreke Evans or Marcus Thornton and that's understandable. But shots will not be that hard to come by which is the most important point. Jimmer won't have the green light to shoot 30 times a game at this level and he shouldn't have the green light. That said, if Jimmer is hot and he's open finding him will help Tyreke and the rest of this team a great deal. Hopefully those type of wrinkles get figured out by all parties as things move along. (I'm not talking about the coaching staff.)
- My biggest concern is that integrating an entirely new unit (Evans, Thornton, Salmons, Hayes and Cousins) was lost because of the last 3 all being out. Hopefully Westphal's decision to leave Honeycutt out of the loop was a tactical decision due to circumstances. Otherwise, it's a bit frustrating to not play your young guys in the one situation where it won't really cost you.
- Again, this is a pre-season where there isn't any real right answer and you simply do the best you can. It's wise to remember that. Nothing was lost, and hopefully the players and Westphal learned something they didn't know yesterday. That's what pre-season is about. Oh, and did I mention the Kings were playing? :)