The Kings take their craptastic play in the last 3 games into a match with the almighty aging Boston Celtics.
Can the Kings actually play defense? Can the Kings actually run offense for most of the game if not all? Maybe, maybe not. Time shall tell.
The burning question is will Cousins respond against the Celtics tonight? The greater question is should the Kings draft a player in this draft or not? For me, the answer probably should be yes. At some point, you have to get a young player in the program who gets it combined with a few veterans who can tell Tyreke Evans to grow the fuck up already. Something, anything, needs to be changed with Tyreke if this franchise is going anywhere. Otherwise, the Kings are screwed. And Tyreke is terrible for the most part quite often on 2 ends if the matchup does not go his way. Anything that requires intelligence, know how, or simple understanding is not anything close to Tyreke's wheelhouse. Growth? What growth. There hasn't been any. The reason a team full of role players looks so bad because Cousins hasn't fully grown into his potential quite yet, and Tyreke Evans has vastly underwhelmed as the "star".
So what's going to happen? Honestly, I suspect the Kings will compete and possibly win. It's the Celtics and the "lights" will be on just as they were against the better teams. You don't get anything but loads of criticism and anger when you lose to teams like the Warriors and Pistons, but when you win against the Celtics people beileve in you. For me, it's more telling that this group can't beat the Warriors or Pistons when both teams are offered up on a silver platter to win.
Right now, until Tyreke Evans either A) grows up or B) acts with some level of greater commitment, I'm done with his sorry ass. I'm tired of watching him do the same stupid shake n bake routine and finish with his right hand. It's old, stale and tired. Something new and effective please. Otherwise, fuck off until you become a franchise player. Tyreke: Your primadonna act is both silly and ridiculously retarded. You are not a star. Nobody thinks you're a star in the greater collective NBA community. Only a few smattering of fans really believe in you at this point, and that's because they are mostly naive or choose to be naive. Your play is atrocious, you play on a team with a 33 winning percentage and one of the worst defenses in the league. When you are the "best" player, that is a reflection directly of you. In otherwords, you suck because your team sucks. Welcome to the real world kid. Where people don't give a shit that you're 22 or that you lack purpose or commitment to basic NBA principles. Where people judge you based on a harsh and ultimately unfair reality for 90% of NBA players. But you're one of those 10% where it's totally fair and realistic to judge you in a harsh and unfair reality. And the reality: You're a so-so NBA player based on your total impact as a player. Which is, incidentally, being supremely kind.
Speaking of the Celtics, and particularly Paul Pierce, I was hoping the Kings could swing a deal for PP34 in part because I was hoping Pierce could slap the stupid out of Tyreke and actually show him what a real star at the NBA (even diminished as Pierce now is) does. Alas, at this trade deadline, it was not meant to be. C'est la vie as they say.
Opponents Required Reading
Not much here other than the basic stuff because I am lazy.
Celtics Blog Jeff Clark talks about the Celtics searching for a big man.
Ryan DeGama of Celtics Hub looks at the Celtics standing pat at the Trade Deadline.
Gary Washburn of the Globe reports that Doc Rivers does not expect Jermaine O'Neal to return this season.
Kings Required Reading
James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom reports that Tyreke Evans has hired a shooting coach. Maybe Tyreke Evans can hire a brain coach so he doesn't make ridiculously stupid plays on the court too.
Ailene Voisin offers an interesting tidbit that will no doubt birng out the Paul Westphal hate contigent yet again:
I continue to hear that Paul Westphal pushed very, very, very hard for the Kings to trade second-year center DeMarcus Cousins, so hard, in fact, that his persistence helped push him out the door. There was no way the Kings were moving Cousins for Nene, the Denver Nuggets center swapped to the Washington in the deal involving JaVale McGee. George Karl has long coveted Cousins. But McGee? Karl did a phenomenal job coaching Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, not to mention Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, etc. But, man, I can't wait to see George trying to coach McGee.
All I'm gonna say is that it seems like an obvious thing for Westphal to do. Cousins' and Westphal's management of him was never perfect no matter what Westphal says. And, again, I'll maintain that Petrie and Tyreke Evans really led to Westphal's demise whatever remains said about Cousins. (I'm not defending Cousins here. I'm just saying that the issue with Cousins is the excuse the Kings are using. It wasn't the real reason, or it shouldn't have been.)
An interesting article in today's Bee by Jason Jones that every Kings fan should read. The quote from Keith Smart:
"DeMarcus can do that, but we have to get him to where that becomes a habit," Smart said. "He has to get to about 55 percent shooting because he's going to be around the basket. He's a gifted offensive rebounder, and those putbacks have to benefit us."
Back to Voisin's written paper piece in today's Bee and another quote from Smart:
"We started out working on the offense because that needed so much help," Smart acknowledged, "but defense is our problem. Everyone has to learn to defend their position. It's learning how quickly you can go from helping (other defenders) to recovery (back to your man).
"That lag time is killing us. Dribble penetration is killing us. I want to get to the point where we don't double-team anyone, where our guys stay with their own. But we're not there yet."
Okay, the last piece isn't Kings related but in relation to whom the Kings should draft in this up & coming draft. I'm not alone in this sentiment (nor have I been from the beginning), but the guy the Kings absolutely need to draft is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist whether or not he's a real SF and can't shoot or no. It's not that simple, nor is it ever.
From Chad Ford's Jan 3rd entry (insider only):
"You get what you deserve in life and in basketball," UK coach John Calipari said after the game. "You want to spend the extra time, do more, get out and do extra things. It's going to start showing. Something is going to happen good for you, those guys who do that.
"[Kidd-Gilchrist] was vicious today. He was vicious."
Over the past week, stories have emerged about the "Breakfast Club" Kidd-Gilchrist started to encourage teammates to work out and eat breakfast together. He's forged a special bond with his teammates that very few freshmen can do.
"He's a winner," one GM said. "He always has been. He cares about the game. Every game. He loves to play, and it's infectious. The NBA desperately needs guys like this. My team needs them. He makes everyone better."
Davis might be Kentucky's best NBA prospect, but Kidd-Gilchrist is its best player and has all the makings of being one of those intangible greats at the next level as well.
Seems like the Kings could use a player like this. (But what do I know?) Beware: Kidd-Gilchrist is listed 2nd on both Draft Express and Ford's Mock Drafts right now (and also 2nd on their top 100 prospects). So in otherwords, for the Kings to get this guy it will likely be the 2nd pick or at worst the 3rd pick.
Stathead Final Thoughts
After spending much of the season in Double Digits ORtg, Francisco Garcia, Chuck Hayes, Jimmer Fredette are all over a 100 ORtg now for the season. John Salmons ORtg is now 97 after most of the season when it was in the high 80's low 90's. By the end of the season, I wouldn't be shocked to see Salmons end up with a TS% near 50% (which is a substantial improvement when you start at 41% for the 1st half of the season), and an ORtg of near 102 or so. A DRtg near 108 (his career avg) would not be a surprise. Currently, Salmons is at an 97 ORtg and a 112 DRtg. The fact that it looks that bad is a significant improvement no matter what some have said. In the last 10 games, Salmons is now at 63.4 TS% for that batch. While that has never been a realistically sustainable output, if Salmons maintains that it might be possible in future seasons (wherever Salmons is at) to maintain that.
One last thing about Jason Thompson's DRB% in particular. For much of the season it has been in the 16-17% range. After the wonderful game against Detroit where JT grabbed 10 defensive boards, that DRB% is up to 18.4%. I think for JT, the Kings need to have him in the 21-22 DRB% range (something he is very capable of even with Cousins on the court) if the Kings are going to improve in their team rebounding.
Just want to see this team play hard. I have no other expectations.
Games at 7pm PST, will be on CSNCA, and yadda yadda yadda. With my luck, I'll probably get the Celtics feed (which is not a terrible thing) Until tonight where another possible butt kicking looms.