On Tuesday night, the Sacramento Kings (5-20), owners of the worst record in the NBA, will host the Golden State Warriors (9-18) in a game that will involve two of best young guards in the league in Monta Ellis and Tyreke Evans. These teams are obviously about more than just these two players but it’s a pretty good place to start. With that said, what should we expect from the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night? Let’s find out….
The Kings score 94.3 points per game (25th in the NBA) on 43.5% field goal shooting (27th in the league). Sacramento does a poor job of putting points on the board because they lack the required discipline to play as a unit. It may sound overly simplistic, but such is the case. The Arco Arena tenants are far too enamored with playing isolation basketball to be a great offensive team. Indeed, although Tyreke Evans is a wonderful player, far too often it seems as though he is playing at the world famous Rucker Park as he tries to go one on one to break down his defenderand eventually launch a fall away jumper. To be fair, Evans is not alone in this. Players such as Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia, Carl Landry and DeMarcus Cousins typically try to maximize their offensive possessions by putting the ball upat every chance they get as evidenced by the team’s 18.7 assists per game (27thin the association).
The other problem that the Kings face an offense is their lack of quality shooters. They are next to last in the NBA with 32.4% shooting from three point range; which makes it tough for them as a unit to get baskets inside. Teams usually pack the paint against them and dare them to shoot from deep. According to Hoopdata, Sacramento hoists up 22.5 shots per game from 16 to 23 feet; which is the fifth most shot attempts from that range in the league. However, they are only converting 37.2%of those shots (22nd in the NBA) thus shrinking the court for them.
Consequently, Sacramento struggles to get to the basket as they average 20.7 shots at the rim (23rd in the NBA). However, once they do get there, they convert relatively well, shooting 65.1% (10th in the league) when attempting field goals right at the basket. The end result is that the Kings average 41.3 points per game in the paint (17th in the NBA) and shoot 23.9 free throws per game (21st in the league). If this isn’t impressing you, it’s completely normal; the Kings offense is sadly rather unremarkable.
As bad as the Kings offense is, the defense does a good job of trying to be on par with it. They allow 101.6 points per game (20th in the league) on 47.4% field goal shooting per game (24th in NBA). Their defense is subpar because they have poor individual defenders as well as poor team defenders. Indeed, when watching Sacramento play, very few players are able to provide any type of resistance to prevent opponents from scoring.
To be fair, the Kings try to deter teams from attacking them straight up as they provide some help on slashing players to force kick outs and also; they double team post players once they put the ball on the floor.As a result, they only allow 18.2 shots at the rim per game (second in the NBA). And yet, according to Team Rankings, their interior defense still yields 43.8 points per game in the paint (23rd in the NBA). The problem? Sacramento has trouble rotating on defense. They do a good job of providing initial help to discourage opponents from getting directly to the basket, but they allow teams to shoot from the intermediate section (10 feet or less) to the tune 18.1 shots per game (dead last in the NBA) and to convert 43.0% of those shots (15th in the league).
So although teams might not always get to the basket against the Kings, they can get close enough to do some damage in the paint. For instance, I noticed that they have issues at times with guarding curl screens.They might end up giving the shooter a clean look and after adjusting on defense, they allow the screener to get free on a few occasions.And in the event that their opponents do make it to the rim, expect them to score considering that Sactoadversaries are shooting a staggering 71.8% at the basket.
Essentially, this could prove to be a high scoring game Monday night if the Warriors exploit Sacramento’s weaknesses on defense. The Dubs usually score a lot of points in the paint on the strength of their offensive rebounding and also have a great penetrating guard in Monta Ellis that will keep the defense on its heels.
Quick game notes: Andris Biedrins did not suit up last night against the Rockets, and the same applies to Dan Gadzuric. Both might suit up tonight but that’s still up in the air. Also, after missing the last four games, there is an outside chance we might see Stephen Curry tonight in the line up, although chances are they will keep him out tonight and have him play in the Christmas day game against Portland.