March 11, 2017, 11:21 pm
Will the Kings win another game this season? It’s hard to find a game they are capable of winning at this point. The losing streak stands at eight games as another week of Kings basketball wraps up. It’s not like the Kings have been playing horrible basketball, they have been somewhat competitive, but they just don’t have the talent to consistently compete with other teams. As a side note, the last time the Kings lost eight straight games was in 2015 when Ty Corbin was the head coach.
The week began with a fairly one-sided loss to the Nuggets in Denver. The Nuggets took control of the game early on and never looked back. Wilson Chandler was on fire throughout the game finishing with a career-high 36 points to go with 12 rebounds. Nikola Jokic, arguably the Nuggets best player, didn’t even play in this game but the Kings just weren’t consistent enough to make a run at Denver’s lead. Darren Collison led the Kings with 17 points.
Sacramento came out all guns blazing on Wednesday against the Spurs. It’s worth mentioning that the Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, among others, in this one but the Kings just couldn’t play 48 minutes of coherent basketball to get across the finish line. The Kings led 37-15 at the end of the first quarter and even led by as many as 28 at one point but the Spurs came alive after that slow start and eventually cruised to victory. Tyreke Evans had his best game with Sacramento dropping 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting and 3-of-4 from three.
It was a similar situation on Friday against the Wizards. The Kings won the first three-quarters and were up by 15 heading into the fourth but they just couldn’t hold on and were eventually defeated in overtime. Bradley Beal was unstoppable with 38 points while John Wall had 25 points and 12 assists for Washington. Willie Cauely-Stein takes the cake as the Kings’ most impressive player in this one posting 20 points and 13 rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting.
The week concluded with another meeting against the Nuggets. This one followed a very similar path to the game earlier in the week as Denver had no trouble with the young Kings lineup. Nikola Jokic, who played after missing Monday’s game, was great recording 20 points and 14 rebounds. For the Kings, Buddy Hield stood out with an efficient 17 points but the most impressive aspect was that he took decent care of the ball with just two turnovers.
Takeaway from the week
The Kings are competitive, but they aren’t consistent enough
Sacramento has been somewhat competitive in the majority of the games this week. Monday’s game was probably the only exception, but the Kings at least put themselves in a position to win in three of the four games. They blew a 28-point lead against the Spurs, a 15-point lead against the Wizards and lost in overtime, and they were within five points late in the fourth against the Nuggets. They are showing fight, but their in-coherency and general lack of consistency catches up with them and they end up losing games they put themselves in a position to win.
This is what happens to young teams though, they are incredibly inconsistent and it’s just something that a lot of Kings fans have realized or will come to realize over the next couple weeks. It’s a process, the Kings have to learn how to win again. Yes, they weren’t really winning in the first place but this is Philly level stuff now. Vlade Divac and the front office have decided to build from the ground up so we are probably two or three years away from seeing Sacramento win games consistently; even that’s probably a bit generous.
Player Power Rankings
Note: These rankings are based on each player’s performance from this week, not on the entire season.
#1 – Tyreke Evans (Last week: #7)
This week it was incredibly tough to choose a number one. Evans only played three games this week but he showed enough in his three appearances to earn the top spot. Tyreke posted averages of 18.0 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals on 51.3 percent shooting from the field. He was an instant source of offense when on the floor but his minutes will probably hover around 25 for the remainder of the season and he won’t be playing in back-to-backs so he will be fairly limited.
#2 – Skal Labissiere (Last week: #9)
He still isn’t getting the minutes he deserves, but when he is on the floor he’s easily one of the best players out there. He managed 10.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and he shot 57.4 percent from the field. With more minutes he could be posting some seriously impressive stats but it seems as though Dave Joerger is content with the rotations as currently constructed which is a little frustrating; what do the Kings have to lose by not playing Skal close to 30 minutes a night?
#3 – Buddy Hield (Last week: #8)
Buddy Hield slots in at number three this week which is a solid jump. Hield averaged 15.0 points per game on 55.1 percent shooting from the field. His shooting and scoring has been great and it’s very promising to see how easily he can score the ball. However, his only detriment so far with the Kings is his ball handling. He averaged just over two turnovers per game this week which isn’t great but he is a rookie and it will take time for him to lock down his ball security.
#4 – Willie Cauley-Stein (Last week: #2)
It’s a slight drop for Willie this week but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t solid. Cauley-Stein posted averages of 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds on 47.1 percent shooting from the field. His shooting isn’t great for a center but overall he’s been pretty good. He’s getting well over 30 minutes a night which is perfect and exactly what he needs for his development moving forward; at least Joerger is letting one of the young guys loose.
#5 – Darren Collison (Last week: #3)
Collison slid down the ladder a bit this week. He was a bit inconsistent which explains the drop but he’s still a valuable piece to this young Kings lineup. Collison averaged a decent 11.0 points and 6.0 assists for the week. His minutes a very slightly down compared to his season average but this is expected with the Kings’ large collection of guards. Expect him to remain around this range moving forward.
#6 – Kosta Koufos (Last week: #6)
He’s unlucky not to be a little higher in all honesty. Koufos has been one of the more productive players since the All-Star break and in three of the four games this week he managed a double-double. His touch around the rim is still remarkable and glorious to watch but at times he does get a little trigger happy. He’s probably due for a decrease in minutes over the last 20 or so games but Joerger seems pretty set so you can probably lock him in at around 25 minutes a night for the rest of the season.
#7 – Garrett Temple (Last week: #4)
He’s struggled offensively since returning from injury but he continues to bring it on defense every night. He gave Wall and Beal everything they could handle when matched up with them but the Wizards would often force the Kings to switch so Temple would have to guard someone else. The Kings are a better team when Temple is on the floor so it would be wise for him to play close to 30 minutes a night if they Kings want success. Even if that isn’t the case, he still deserves to be playing a lot.
#8 – Ty Lawson (Last week: #1)
His time at the top didn’t last long. Lawson drops quite dramatically this week after some underwhelming play. He averaged 8.8 points per game and shot just 36.4 percent from the field. News also came out this week that Lawson has allegedly violated his probation three times in the past year but his Lawyer has come out and denied these allegations. There may be nothing to this report but it’s worth keeping a close eye on the situation.
#9 – Arron Afflalo (Last week: #5)
Afflalo had a pretty rough week shooting wise. However, he did have one stand-out performance dropping 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting against the Wizards. He started in all four games but he doesn’t get too many touches on offense so it’s hard for him to get anything going.
#10 – Anthony Tolliver (Last week: #11)
Tolliver ends up down the bottom for a second consecutive week. His shooting was much better this week but he just doesn’t bring anything valuable to the Kings on the court. There is no doubt how much of an influence he is in the locker room so he’s worth keeping around on that point alone.
Out of the rotation: Langston Galloway, Ben McLemore and Georgios Papagiannis.
Injured: Rudy Gay (Achilles) and Malachi Richardson (hamstring).