Apparently, the Vegas Summer League schedulers knew what they were doing when they set up a Friday the 13th game for the Kings because the purple and black were painfully murdered by the Charlotte Bobcats this evening.
The Kings looked lost from the tip, dealing with an almost unheard of Summer League full court press from the ‘Cats which clearly had the Kings at a loss, resulting in twenty turnovers and just overall sloppy play. The fact that the Bobcats also played what could be considered four rotation players from their NBA level roster (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo) heavy minutes didn’t really help the Kings’ cause either. Needless to say, it wasn’t the Kings’ night as they looked over-matched and out-talented from the start.
Hello, Mr. Robinson – It’s only been a few weeks since the NBA Draft, but Sacramento King fans couldn’t wait to see their first round draft pick in action – myself included. So how was his first taste of NBA basketball? Well, if you asked Thomas Robinson postgame, he summed up his performance in three words – “I played horrible”. Horrible? Not exactly. For just getting his feet wet, Robinson looked very competent and displayed a few hidden attributes, like his floor vision and passing, both of which looked very solid for a 6’9 ‘big guy’. He was clearly uneasy in the games first few minutes, taking two extremely difficult shots but he settled down as he got into the flow of the game and went 5-9 the rest of the night, hitting a few outside jumpers in addition to living at the line (9-15). In addition to Robinson’s 19 points, he also grabbed five boards and should’ve registered at least three or four assists, but, his teammates were unable to convert a few easy buckets he put them in position for. T-Rob did have his struggles though, especially maintaining control of the ball as he attributed 8 of the Kings’ 20 turnovers, though some of them could be due to the fact the Kings appeared to be possibly trying out Robinson at the small forward position (can’t say I’m a fan). For portions of the evening (especially early), Robinson appeared to be an unofficial backcourt mate of Jimmer Fredette, taking the ball out of the trap (something Fredette couldn’t do, which will touch on in a minute) and bringing it up court. He also showed some of that previously mentioned court vision, driving into the late a few times finding a teammate for an easy basket (which they missed). Overall, while far from perfect, for his first ‘NBA’ experience, Robinson did well. He certainly has plenty to learn and parts of his game are still very raw, but he also showed some very unique talents for a player with his size and skill set. There’s little to be concerned about with T-Rob, he’s the real deal and just needs time and experience.
Oh Jimmer, Oh Jimmer – Speaking of time and experience, the Kings are doing their best to get some for Jimmer Fredette. Sadly, at least right now, it’s not working. The second year guard looked absolutely dreadful all evening, struggling mightily with the Bobcats pressure, having to continually pass to Thomas Robinson to avoid getting trapped in the backcourt. His body language was telling as it’s been since the start of last season, looking completely overwhelmed at times and just out of sorts. For a guy who looked so comfortable as one of the Nation’s premier collegiate talents, Jimmer looks anything but in the NBA – the confidence is completely shot. Personally, a large amount of that is on the Kings as they’re doing everything they can to force Fredette into playing point guard, something he just doesn’t look comfortable doing. Will it eventually work if they continue to cram it down his throat? Anything is possible, I guess, but at some point you have to realize it’s just not going to work like you envision and you have to wonder how much longer the Kings will continue this experiment. Jimmer has some very high quality skills, a few that could be elite NBA skills in due time. For the Kings benefit and his, they need to focus on how to improve those rather than trying to force him into something he’s not. We’ve read this book already with Tyreke…
- Hassan Whiteside had some small injuries throughout the game so he struggled to find consistent minutes, ending the night playing only 18 clicks. The time he did get though, he was effective, grabbing 8 boards to go with 7 points and 4 blocks. Little defense was played by either side, so there was nothing to report in terms of his paint presence outside of the swats.
- No King impressed tonight as it was a complete beatdown, however, Josh Akognon out of Cal State Fullerton might have had the best night outside of Thomas Robinson as he put in 15 points on only six shots in his 15 minutes of floor time. He also added three boards, a steal and a dish. Very solid play off the bench.
- It was only one Summer League game, but the star of the night went to the Cats’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist who was completely unstoppable. In 21 minutes, the former Kentucky Wildcat filled up the stat sheet with 18 points on 7 of 12 (hitting from outside as well), 8 boards, 5 assists and 4 steals, all the while looking confident and cool.
- Kings will try to improve on their woeful outing tomorrow afternoon against the Los Angeles Lakers who, hard as it is to imagine, played even worse than the Kings earlier this afternoon.
Highlights (via KingsFlix):