Defensive Grade: C-
The future defensive ability of this squad is harder to define. It’s equally difficult to determine if there’s even anything Joerger is going to be able to teach this team as it currently is made up.
The defensive production of this team was mostly dreadful as a whole. There were a few bright spots here and there. The Sacramento Kings were about average in opponent points per game (105.8, good for 14th overall). However, Sacramento’s defensive rating for the season was a woeful 111.1. On the same note, they were 11th in steals (7.8), but near the bottom in blocks (4.1, 25th overall).
Individually, it doesn’t look much better. Nobody on the Kings had a defensive rating of lower than 108. None of the rookies’ defensive stats are particularly kind. Before anybody panics, it’s important to note that rookies traditionally have a difficult learning curve when it comes to team defense. It is also worth pointing out that De’Aaron Fox has the tools to become a plus defender eventually. They are not there yet, though.
Everything goes back to the point that Joerger’s system may not be the best for this particular group of players. It appears from the numbers and the eye-test that this team is likely better suited to run and gun. Moving fast is especially important if the lightning-quick Fox is to be running the point for the near future.
It’s on Joerger to either recognize that and adapt, or to have a serious discussion with Divac and the rest of the front office on what type of roster is going to be needed for him to run his style effectively. The Kings defense is unlikely to improve until a decision happens.