The Kings’ three-point shooting has completely abandoned them in March 

Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings v Orlando Magic / Rich Storry/GettyImages

The Kings are 9-5 in March, getting some big wins over the Lakers, 76ers, and Magic. In those wins, Sacramento’s defense has been surprisingly good. They are in no way known as a defensive team, but inserting Keon Ellis into the starting lineup and playing him and Davion Mitchell more has completely redefined their defensive identity. 

With a 110.4 defensive rating in March, the Kings are fifth in the NBA in that category. That is something they have not achieved before in this constellation. Mike Brown finally got the physical and competitive defense he has been waiting for all season long. 

With one problem solved, another one surfaced, however. It is not just the Kings’ inability to take care of business against the Bulls, Wizards, and Mavericks, but that their offense has been struggling massively. 

The Kings cannot buy a three in March 

Sacramento has been a solid three-point shooting team for most of the season. Kevin Huerter’s and Keegan Murray’s dropoff compared to last season has hurt them, but they ranked twelfth in the league going into the All-Star break. 

Since then, the three-point percentage has dropped to 34.5 percent, which is only good enough for 23rd in the NBA. This month, it has been especially bad. As a team, the Kings are only shooting 33.3 percent from deep and it has been a problem. 

Their new-found defensive strength has won the Kings games recently, but it is tough to beat teams like the Dallas Mavericks without a functioning offense. The only two Kings shooting over 40 percent from three this month are Keon Ellis and Davion Mitchell, and they are not volume shooters. 

De’Aaron Fox, Keegan Murray, and Malik Monk are all taking over six threes per game. They are only averaging 34, 31.3, and 28.2 percent respectively, however. Next in line is Harrison Barnes, averaging 36.5 percent on 4.5 attempts per game. 

The Kings have struggled offensively

Three-point shooting is incredibly important to the Kings’ offensive system. They need the floor spacing, and Mike Brown loves to see plenty of spray threes each game. It is what keeps defenses engaged and allows the Kings to play their style of fast, high-scoring basketball. 

Losing Trey Lyles and Kevin Huerter to serious injuries obviously hurt the Kings’ shooting. At the same time, other players, like Monk and Murray, who are usually threats from outside, have been struggling, and it has made those injuries hurt even more. 

Furthermore, sometimes the Kings just keep chugging threes even though they are not falling. That takes the rhythm out of the offense and keeps the number on the scoreboard low. 

It is nice to see Ellis and Mitchell shooting well, but the Kings cannot go into the postseason struggling so badly from three. To win any big games, they have to be a two-way team. The defense seems to be coming along well. Ironically, it is the Kings’ offense that needs fixing now. 

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