Nov 5, 2011; Las Vegas, NV, USA; General view of the Thomas

Despite Struggles Kings Easily Beat Lakers For First Summer League Win

Less than twenty-four hours after being bombarded by the Charlotte Bobcats in their Summer League opener, the Kings took out their frustrations on their Southern California foe, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 84-72. The game was relatively close through the first two quarters, both teams going on extended runs, but the Kings ended the third and began the fourth on two solid scoring streaks to put the game out of reach. A few garbage buckets made the game appear closer than the actual score as the Kings won their first game of the Summer. All wasn’t pretty though in the win as the Kings three “NBA” talents (Hassan Whiteside, Jimmer Fredette and Thomas Robinson) all had sub-par contests.

More Struggles For Jimmer – I hate to keep harping on Fredette because it seems as if I’m picking on the Kings sophomore, but the former BYU Cougar just looks woeful out there. Granted, he did pick up his game from last night, but it was nearly impossible not to as his dreadful performance last evening was eye wrenching. The Bobcats unexpected full court pressure obviously game Jimmer some serious issues in the Summer’s first game, so the more relaxed Laker defense allowed Fredette a bit more freedom tonight but he still struggled with the simple things. Multiple times he found himself trapped in the air, not sure if he wanted to pass or shoot – something that haunted him in his rookie year. The second year man also looked tentative yet again, only taking 11 shots in a near game high 25+ minutes. There were a few positives, namely his continued desire to get into the teeth of the defense with his tear drop, but he struggled to convert all game. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the Kings are forcing something that’s not there. Fredette has the skills to be a talented NBA player, he just needs to be used correctly – something the Kings haven’t done with him yet.

Playing In Slow Motion – Thomas Robinson again filled up the box score for the Kings, finishing the night with 14 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 4 assists. Fancy stat sheet aside, Robinson had some issues, but thankfully for King fans and Robinson, they’re easily correctable. One of the most pressing issues I see with Robinson early is the fact that he plays like his game is a stuck fast-forward button on your DVD remote. Everything is so fast in his game. As he progresses and gets more floor time, he’ll learn to pace himself and slow down, but right now his game resembles a five year old kid at Disneyland hopped up on about ten bags of Skittles. Robinson also has a bit of a rookie DeMarcus Cousins in him as he sometimes tends to get a little too happy with his outside shot and his handles, but again, those aren’t long term problems that fans need to worry about. On the plus side, Robinson again showed off his very nice court vision, throwing some snazzy passes into the paint for a few assists and also pushed the ball a few times with ease. Much like the Summer League opener, Robinson started the game slowly but came around as he got more in a flow. The few problems he’s shown through the first two games are simple items that will fix themselves in due time.

Looking For Guard Depth? – Even though it’s only been two Summer League games, it’s pretty clear that Jimmer Fredette backing up Isaiah Thomas isn’t an ideal situation and with much of the point guards in the free agent pool cropped, the Kings may need to find a backup elsewhere. Enter Josh Akognon who through two Summer League contests has looked impressive. Both games coming off the bench, Akognon has put up 15 and 25 on 13 of 20 from the field and ran the team with a nice pace, despite a lack of assists. The speedy guard looks to be a natural scorer with a sweet jumpshot that could provide some solid scoring off the Kings bench. It’s no dream scenario and he’ll never be confused with a true game manager, but for the price the Kings could do much worse.

Notes:

  • Although he had a couple nagging injuries that limited his time last evening, Hassan Whiteside looked healthy as could be tonight yet he could only find 11 minutes of game action, looking painfully blah in the said minutes. Not sure if it’s a question of work ethic, irritation of the coaching staff or what, but it’s certainly odd he’s struggling to find minutes in Summer League.
  • Forward Tony Mitchell had a solid game for the Kings, putting up a well rounded line of 8 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He also added 2 swipes in his 25 minutes.

Highlights (via KingsFlix):

Tags: DeMarcus Cousins Hassan Whiteside Isaiah Thomas Jimmer Fredette Josh Akognon Los Angeles Lakers Recap Sacramento Kings Summer League Thomas Robinson

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