Come training camp, you tend to get two types of reviews on player – either they look amazing compared to last year or they look completely out of shape. It’s a case of the extremes and through two days of the Sacramento Kings training camp, Travis Outlaw looks all-world according to those who’ve had a quick glance. Then again, after Outlaw’s horrific 2011-12 campaign, it’s hard not to look improved.
Outlaw, who was claimed by the Kings on amnesty waivers last season was nothing short of dreadful during his four and a half month tenure in purple and black. In nearly 13 minutes a game, the Mississippi native manged 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and more turnovers (0.5) than assists (0.4), but it was his woeful shooting that caused rage in the Kingdom as Outlaw shot an eye gouging 34% in 39 games – a nearly impossible feat.
Combined with the poor offense was poor defense, only producing a .2 win share on the defensive end along with a negative 6.9 simple rating – neither rating impressive in the least bit.
But the 2012-13 season is a new year and with early glowing reports, there’s hope within the Kings organization that Outlaw can return to form, where as a 24 year old member of the Portland Trailblazers, Outlaw climbed the charts producing a +3 offensive and +2.4 defensive win share. Still – despite the early optimism, Outlaw’s recent poor seasons aren’t ringing endorsements for the Royal Pain team. Here’s what the squad has to say about Outlaw’s upcoming season:
- Marilyn – Outlaw was claimed off the waiver wire in December 2011, New Jersey having used the amnesty clause to waive him. I don’t have a whole lot to say about Travis, simply because he wasn’t much of an impact player last season. I’m not sure what the front office had in mind when they signed him. He has been a pro for nine years. Last season he played 39 games, averaging 12.8 minutes per game. He averaged 4.3 points per game, down from his career of 9.1 points per game. He averaged 1.69 rebounds per game, last season, down from a career of 3.3. His 3- point percentage is .267, down from .338. His field goal percentage has trickled down over his career from a high of .498 to a low of .343, which he posted last season with the Sacramento Kings. I’m not even going to begin to speculate why his numbers have dropped. He is 28-years-old. He is too young to have this kind of decline. It sounds like he is working very hard to do better. I only hope that he worked hard this off-season and has more to show this coming season.
- Scott – Expectations for Outlaw weren’t high last year, and he still failed to reach them. The lanky forward showed a clear inability to make open shots, and with nothing solved in regard to the Kings logjam at the small forward position, Outlaw shouldn’t see much time in 2013. Keith Smart likes to try everyone so Outlaw may still see occasional minutes to guard athletic power forwards, but his eroding offensive skills make him a prime end-of-the-bench candidate.
- Bryan – Despite the early glowing reports, I just don’t see Outlaw making much of an impact this year – or any, for that matter. Granted, he’ll be better than he was last season – but then again – it’s nearly impossible not to be. The small forward rotation will continue to be a sore spot, despite the log jam of sub-par talent, so Outlaw will probably get enough run there to at best be serviceable, but that’s a best case scenario. More likely than not he’ll have decent games/stretches but it’s been four plus seasons since Travis showed he was anything more than an end of the bench talent. He might have his best season in quite some time, but, that’s not exactly saying much given his recent history. He’s an end of the bench player who’ll get more floor time than he deserves due to his work ethic and the Kings terrible problem at the three.