Just when you thought the Kings were moving past the embarrassing blowouts…an awful performance from Sacramento against Philadelphia in the first game of a five-game road trip. The offense was brutal, and defensively, the Kings made life easy for the 76ers, allowing Philly to shoot 56.6 percent en route to a 112-85 victory.
MAKING OPEN SHOTS – Basketball is a pretty simple game. If you make shots, you have a chance. The Kings just do not make open shots. The team did a great job in the first half of creating wide open looks for perimeter shooters. But people just do not hit. Tyreke (15 PTS, 6-13 FG, 5 REB, 2 AST) takes some flak for his low assist totals, but Reke did nothing but penetrate and create opportunities for his teammates against the Sixers. And all they did was blow them. Can’t get assists if you don’t make shots.
WHERE’S JIMMER? – That leads to the next point. Where is Jimmer? And I mean the BYU Jimmer. We didn’t get Fredette (24 MIN, 7 PTS, 2-7 FG, 3 AST, 3 TO) to dribble around the court and pass. We’ve got plenty of guys to do that. Jimmer had the perfect opportunity to assert himself with a starting role in place of the injured Marcus Thornton. But Jimmer still won’t let loose. It’s time for him to get aggressive. I’d much rather watch him shoot than pretty much anyone else outside of Thornton.
THE SMALL FORWARDS STINK – Pretty self-explanatory. As Bryan alluded to, John Salmons (6 PTS, 3-10 FG, 0-6 3FG, 6 REB) just does not fit with this team. We crave a spot up shooter, and Salmons just continues to stink in that regard. Behind him is Travis Outlaw (3 PTS, 1-8 FG), a guy I was perfectly happy with signing. That was when I thought Outlaw would not just hang around the three-point line and fire up anything he touches. Use your athleticism and get closer to the rim. The Kings are dying for production from the 3-spot.
OTHER OBSERVATIONS – Jason Thompson (16 MIN, 13 PTS, 6-7 FG, 4 REB) does nothing but bust his butt every night. It’s refreshing to watch. He’ll never be a difference maker, but as a third big man, JT is terrific. Against Philly with his family in the crowd, JT’s jumper was out of sync but he had several impressive moves in the post. More than 16 minutes, maybe? … Keith Smart’s rotation is still confusing to me, but I’m guessing he’s still feeling things out and learning which players to use. The offense is moving the ball better and there is more activity … Good numbers from DeMarcus Cousins (17 PTS, 10 REB, 2 BLK, 4 TO), but still too many misses around the basket. You get the feeling that if he could develop a jump hook he could go to that move nearly every time he gets the ball.