Between my apathy and general disinterest in analyzing why this team is so bad unless I have to, I truly couldn't remember the last time the Sacramento Kings won a basketball game. In the long view of things, and whether it is intentional or not, the losses have been working in favor of the Kings future for now. So in that sense, I guess, good job? I don't know, my brain is on the brink of explosion from trying to find silver linings at this point. The Kings came into tonight's game against the Brooklyn Nets with a seven-game losing streak. Shall we go for eight? Let's see how they did:
Outcome: Kings win, 112-101
Sacramento Kings: 112 pts, 44.1% fg, 33.3% 3 pt, 88.9% ft, 23 ast, 48 reb, 14 to
Brooklyn Nets: 101 pts, 48.8% fg, 32.0% 3 pt, 78.6% ft, 22 ast, 40 reb, 13 to
I'm... trying... not... to... feel... things. Despite missing De'Aaron Fox, the Kings had one of their best team performances tonight and rallied from a 12-point deficit to extend the Nets' losing streak to six games. The burned part of my psyche is screaming at me not to get excited about how fun this team just looked - "remember those two nine-game losing streaks of yesteryear?" - but, to hell with it, let's allow ourselves to feel good for one night and pretend like the previous 52 games never happened!
The Good, The Better, & The Best
- Hard Night for Harden: As to be expected, at least one player on the opposing team had a career night when playing against the Sacramento Kings. Luckily, however, it was Nic Claxton who logged a career-high 23 points and was the Nets' leading scorer. Meanwhile, James Harden suffered a poor scoring night. Harden racked up 12 assists, but only scored four points on 2-11 from the field and 0-5 from the 3-point line. He also committed six turnovers. A lot of this can be attributed to the Kings' defensive effort, often led by Davion Mitchell, who pestered Harden on the ball and wasn't afraid to body up to him.
- Selfless Basketball: Although the Kings finished with an exactly average 23 assists tonight, this doesn't accurately reflect how well they moved the ball. I can recall two plays, both which ended in free throws for the Kings, and both which will be playing on an endless loop whenever I feel sad from here on out, where the ball moved to three or more players within seconds. Each player gave up a good look to find a better one for a teammate as the ball whipped around the perimeter, inside the paint, back out, and finally back towards the rim for a chance at more points. The Kings also had seven players finish in double digits, led by Harrison Barnes' 19 points and helped by Buddy Hield (18 points) and Moe Harkless (10 points). This kind of basketball exudes teamwork, togetherness, and provided the energy and momentum the Kings needed to seal tonight's win.
- The Fight: The game started out slowly, with both teams playing at a controlled and methodical pace. The Nets ultimately benefitted from this, as they took advantage of their size inside and gained a 12-point lead. It wasn't until Tyrese Haliburton began to push the issue that the pace sped up and turned the game into one that the Kings could successfully operate in. But what really got the Kings over the hump and into the end zone was their fight. There were a number of possessions where the Kings failed to execute any recognizable offense, but they were still able to earn their points the hard way by getting gritty and doing the dirty work. Damian Jones and Chimezie Metu were almost fighting each other on every rebounding opportunity and they both also finished with two blocks a piece. The energy from this squad was palpable and it was this fight and willingness to outwork the Nets that swung the momentum in the Kings' favor and allowed them to comfortably close out the game.
The King of Kings
There's a reason they call him "Off Night". Davion Mitchell had one of his best performances tonight and did it on both sides of the ball. Not only did he provide extremely solid primary coverage on both Kyrie Irving and James Harden throughout the game, he also stayed in attack mode on the offensive end. Mitchell looked comfortable and confident in taking and making big shots all night long and finished with 18 points on eight made field goals.
Thursday, February 3rd @ Golden State Warriors - 7:00 P.M. (PT)
Give more credit to Moe Harkless….
He had a great game….guarded Harden well. getting chase down block….move the ball well…..(nice dishes to D. Jones, but being fouled afterwards)….he got above average BBIQ
Like I said before, we need to put some defensive players, i.e. Mitchell and Harkless in the starting lineup so as to set the tone…
That’s right. Harkless gets the credit for shutting Harden down, not Mitchell. Mitchell didn’t guard Harden that much, mostly on breaks and switches IIRC.
Mitchell’s assignment was Irving and he did a great job defending him.
I don’t whether to be happy or mad they won. Definitely like the Hali and Mitchell backcourt though. Max effort every night. That’s all Kangz fans ask for.
Would be such a shame if the Kings actually rebuilt and allowed Mitchell and Hali to develop.
Much better idea to play vets and go for the play in game.
Oh, and much better to have Fox playing 1-1 and not necessarily trying than a Defensive badass, hard charging, constant effort PG
Don’t be mad, this team isn’t worth that much energy from you. These games annoy me b/c its obvious these dopes can do so much more.
Hali and Mitchell are winners ! Get what you can for the rest ! They are all replaceable !
Really like Both. The Kings are too stubborn to realize they have a perfect rebuilding situation with 2 young guards. Top 5 pick if tank
Trade Fox etc. Boom -on their way back. Can’t spell idiot without Vivek
This, we could be in a similar spot to Memphis within 2 years with just a few smart trades and Monte nailing drafts like he has
The Kings are not in a similar place as Memphis in 2019 because ownership, basketball ops and the coaching staff are not on the same page.
That’s kind of a big deal.
Yes Guru- there is the operational and then there are the operators- the Kings are deficient in operators.
I’m not sure McNair has really “nailed” drafts. Haliburton looks like a good player. Mitchell does one thing an elite level, but nothing else as of today. I certainly hope that changes over time, but that’s far from a guarantee.
I’m pretty sure he has.
Mitchell is definitely an NBA level player who is playing significant minutes and putting up decent stats. Could he do better? Sure. And I expect he will with more experience. I don’t expect rookies to do anything at an elite level, so Mitchell’s already ahead of previous late lottery picks we’ve seen in Sac.
Considering where Monte’s had to pick these guys (late lottery, cuz Vivek’s an idiot) I’d say he’s got a pretty damn good feel for the draft.
As usual, we’re WAY too early on these pronouncements. Mitchell looks like he may be a useful NBA player. I’d peg his likeliest outcome at a solid back-up PG. Which would be a decent outcome for a #9 pick. We’ll see if he can become more. The only thing I’m comfortable saying at this point is that he doesn’t look like a bust.
I get the feeling he can be a great 3rd G on a team competing for a championship. Not every draft is going to produce a star level player for you.
I can sit here and pull out a bunch of examples, but if I asked which player from the 2006 draft has produced the most VORP (without having to look it up, just straight guessing), I’d be willing to bet 75% of the answers would be wrong. If anyone even remembers that player being drafted that year.
Just as an example.
Can Mitchell do that without being able to shoot, and given that he’s ~3 inches smaller than Marcus Smart? I’m not saying he’ll never be able to shoot, and am hoping he does. But how good is he if he’s not a shooter and an average playmaker?
He’s shooting about 31% from 3pt on the season. So there’s some reason to believe he can shoot good enough with a bit of improvement. There’s no reason to believe he can’t shoot 36% on reasonable volume, is there? An average playmaker is where I struggle with, but I’m okay with that as a 3rd G.
there are #9 players who are stars-
Mitchell will not be a star but probably solid.
Right now out of top 10 in ESPN Rookie Ladder
Similar to Memphis is a dream. They traded Conley and Gasol. They got two great breaks in the draft- getting JJJ in the infamous Bagley draft and Morant out of the ping pong sky. and they got Brooks in second round, Bane late in first with an astute trade.
The tradable Kings- will probably not get the same benefits as the Grizz.
Luck in the lottery is just that luck.
Hali best pick at #12 and he fell due to shortsighted GM’s. Mitchell either best or close to best pick at #9. ( ? Duarte, Sengun, Herb Jones, Duyosuno ???)
Monte’s pick pretty much no brainers. “Nailing” is more default than skill.
To replicate Memphis, Kings would have to get max value from trades including some unexpected high picks and extreme luck on their own pick. A #2 next year might yield a Morant-equivalent.
I want winners!
Hali and Davion are winners? They are 1-5 as the starting backcourt…. with a Net Rtg of -15.4. ORtg during this time 104.4, DRtg 119.6. Doesn’t scream winning to me, SSS approved or not.
Can not play with them. Can not win with them. Can’t coach them.
No, these narratives are just silly and I’m tired of them. That’s all.
Narratives are less silly and tiresome than Kings reality! 😉
They are both equally crummy, you phony championship banner.
errbody got choices…
Wait, SNL was wrong?
The only thing I know for sure in this life is that Irony is always a thing and it always wins.
That show is still on the air?
I’ve been saying that since the spring of ’77. It’s been barreling downhill ever since Chevy left.
He had a great career.
A couple of things:
Great game from plenty of players tonight. More fun that I have had in weeks watching the Kings.
Me too. Really good defense
Game was a heartbreaker- the Kings can play well and it breaks my heart that many nights- too many nights- they do not and, as such, will not make playoffs and because of playing well, once in a while, they are stuck in purgatory
The winning is more heartbreaking than another loss would have been
A nice palette cleanser. On to the Dubs!
Was not expecting a W. Feels good though 😬
ooppss I didn’t see your big knees there
Protect your noodle Mirann. It’s far more valuable than trying to fix this crummy team. Nice recap though.
Vivek rolling into 500 David Stern Walk this AM:
Sam Amick on KHTK this AM saying there is no traction right now for the Kings getting Simmons, Sabonis, Randle, Collins or Grant…
Blow it up Monte! Picks and expirings!
That just means there is no deal likely to happen today. How many times have we heard over the years how quickly a deal came together?
In reality, it was months in the making, but neither side was quite ready to pull the trigger until they were. Than it came together because the thinking about it had already happened.
I’d be pretty surprised if there wasn’t a trade by the 8th or so, or at least the 9th. Keep in mind the deadline is Noon Pacific of the 10th.
Totally agree, I’m just being cautiously optimistic that Monte does the right thing.
It’s not all Monte. John Collins, for instance, has to be traded by Travis Schlenk and Schlenk has to agree with a package and be able to sell it to his owners that that is the best thing for the Hawks. Same thing with Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers. And so on.
Everybody has processes to go through, for better or worse. I’m personally not waiting around for a trade, I assume it’ll happen when it happens and I’ll be too busy to comment about it until 24 hours later. Because that always seems to be the case.
No, no, no, you have it completely wrong. According to most of the things I’ve read here, McNair only needs to call a GM, offer a deal that is completely one-sided in Sacramento’s favor, and the other team’s GM agrees to it because…reasons.
His inability to have done so is a real indictment of his ability to make deals in Narnia or whichever fantasy-world this could actually happen.
Comments like this will not make you popular around here, Sims.
To be fair, I can’t think of anything that I do that will make me popular around here. I’m grateful that I’m not built to have need of it.
The only way I can deal with the Mississippi River-sized flow of ME WANTEE NOW whinging is by telling myself that most of the commenters are in fifth grade.
Tru dat. I, too, as you no doubt know, suffer from the same affliction.
Or at least twenty-somethings who think that if the world ran according to them it would run better. (Newsflash: It won’t. There’s a reason you don’t start land wars in Asia.)
It would be nice if McNair could pull off a couple of these trades we’re all hoping for. A new narrative would be refreshing. Wonder how long it would take to tilt negative, but that’s just idle curiosity talking.
I believe people on both sides of this disagreement know a lot about basketball and the league. I wish that everyone would drop personal invective and insults in making their arguments. It really represents the worst of internet discussion. On the other hand, I have read lots of intelligent and knowledgeable comment on TKH. Just drop the insults—PLEASE.
It would be nice if McNair could do absolutely anything to improve the team, which he’s flat out failed to do for going on two years. The choices aren’t Ben Simmons (Sabonis, Turner, whatever) or nothing.
You keep saying this Spackler. But like what exactly? It seems like, and correct me if I’m wrong, but that if McNair doesn’t direct a full out tank you won’t be happy with it.
I’m just curious why the supposed Barnes deal last season, or the recent THT rumor is example of inaction (despite the fact the THT rumor is almost literally impossible unless the Kings and Lakers can figure out a 5 for 1 deal, which, btw, never happens during the regular season).
I don’t think McNair should get forever, but I don’t think the amount of time he’s had with what he’s working with (both from an ownership standpoint and an asset standpoint) is enough to say he’s not willing to pull the trigger. If Monte McNair has proved anything in his 18 months in these parts, it’s that he cares not what the fanbase thinks.
Which is a refreshing change, for me, because unfortunately I do not believe for one second that ownership understands you cannot run a franchise with fan approval.
Why do you think we need the trade rumors to judge the inaction?
Let’s just stick with the facts.
Monte (and the FO, but whatevs) rolled back into this season with:
Luke Walton as the Head Coach.
A core roster of Fox, Hali, Barnes, Buddy, Holmes, Bagley, Moe, TD and Alex Len.
So, sum of the changes made to the team from the prior season were:
(1) adding a rookie back up PG and (2) swapping out Whiteside for Alex Len at backup center.
And then Monte proceeded to personally tell us that the roster was balanced and they expected the team to compete for the playoffs.
So, I agree that he needs more time (I am in no way a “fire Monte now” fan) but I wholeheartedly disagree* with your and Andy’s disingenuous use of silly trade rumors to dismiss criticism of the GM’s inaction and poor judgement!
And could we please stop all of the leaks about how aggressive and tireless Monte is, too, while we’re at it?
Also, maybe he should stop saying he’s building around Fox, when he drafts two PG’s and assembles a roster with one wing and zero stretch fours. I’d be pissed if I was Fox, too.
Fans getting hammered for being disappointed when the org and the local media repeatedly misleads them.
Man those pesky fans are just such a problem. If we could just get rid of them then no one would be upset by the organization’s incompetence!
If you’re stupid enough to listen to PR and propaganda (essentially the same thing) and take them as gospel, you’re stupid enough to get what you paid for.
So yeah, I can call you stupid on that basis abso-doo-uh-loot-ely.
But the fans aren’t the one’s calling the shots, nor have I blamed them for decisions the org has made.
It’s not just about believing the rumors.
The rumors happen and then every source that fans enjoy (1140, 1320, Deuce/Mo, Ham podcast, this site, etc.) talks about it.
Call the fans stupid all you want, but that’s how sportsball discourse and media works: talking about all the BS to entertain the fans!
So, I am not saying you are blaming the fans for the org’s decision, but that ridiculous, arrogant and dismissive back and forth (more Andy than you TBF) about fan disappointment with the lack of these things coming to fruition is the source of my push back.
Especially, when the lack of substantive change by this current iteration of the FO is a totally legitimate thing to gripe about, whether you agree or not. And it’s not because they are a bunch of Veruca Salts.
So, let me get this straight. Monte McNair absolutely wanted to keep Luke Walton coming into the season? That was all Monte McNair’s decision?
So ownership had NOTHING to do with the decision to keep Luke Walton eh?
Okay. I see we are going down that route despite no evidence whatsoever that this is the case.
What is he supposed to say? That the owners are stupid nincompoops and that my roster’s talent could go any number of ways and oh by the way the bitter and angry sect of the fanbase won’t like any of it unless we are on a championship trajectory like the Lakers and end up with 17 rings in the next 3 and half seasons?
Give me a fucking break. You wanna call a spade pushing up daisies that’s your business ’51. But a spade is still a spade in my neighborhood.
Much of the issues with this team come back to the same thing for me: Unrealistic expectations of ownership. Then, the GM, an employee, a visible highly paid employee but employee nonetheless, is expected to carry out those wishes. Rinse, wash, repeat.
McNair has some autonomy on some things like the draft, but when it comes to deciding who gets traded and for what, the coach, that is squarely within the realm of ownership. And of course, the biggest problem ownership is that they can’t admit the truth of where the problems lay: Their unrealistic expectations.
But sure, this is all Monte McNair’s fault because he isn’t the second coming of Harry Houdini. And because he dared to speak positive of his team publicly instead of saying stupid absurd bullshit that instantly become meme’s like his predecessor. The nerve of that guy, I swear.
Here’s my issue with this situation:
#1. Vivek is the problem, no doubt.
#2. Monte took the job knowing full-well who Vivek was.
#3. If Monte is willing to fall on a sword for Vivek and his decision-making, that’s on him.
I love the “he’s not really in charge so how can we judge him” defense!
Kings still leaking about how active they are to make big changes, but it’s the fans fault for being silly-delusional-trade-rumor (what did Andy call them, me wanty now 5th graders?) idiots that can’t judge the GM because he may or may not be allowed to do anything to improve the team! 😉
Oh, this straw man again?
On this, I am 100% with ya!
I guess McNair is in charge, but to exactly what degree is anybody’s guess. I’ll repeat what I just said above about the PR/propaganda: Why on Earth do you expect me to believe that you believe it? Or take any of it as gospel?
I don’t care what McNair puts out there, it’s all bullshit. That’s the point of sources, to put out things. Different agendas, different pieces of nonsense and so forth, but I don’t take any of it as anything other than just food for thought. Most of the time I ignore rumors.
I’ll offer up a piece of analysis. The Athletic just put out their ‘trade big board’, and the thing that stuck out to me more than anything was that John Collins was not on it. Despite rumors of what Collins could be had for. An oversight? Maybe. But they spent like 2000 words on a bunch of players half of whom won’t get traded. I don’t think there was an oversight. I think Atlanta’s playing better and they might not be willing to move Collins until this off-season or until a real offer blows them away. Or whatever.
That’s why I don’t believe rumors. I believe trades when they get announced, but nothing more. And there’s a reason for that: Because when a trade happens, that’s what teams are actually willing to do.
Well, you know, except for the part where he said it. And then followed up a couple times by saying he had authority to do whatever he wanted.
But instead, unless you’re connected to the FO of course, let’s build a web of speculation that Monte secretly thinks Vivek is a fool, Luke is a bad coach, the roster is horrible and unbalanced, but continually says the exact opposite in press conferences to keep his job.
I think I’ll go with the simpler explanation, for better or worse. He said it. He owns it.
You’re wrong! There are a lot of avenues to improvement. One is trading for a star or higher level rotation player. That’s fine if it’s the right deal.
One is a flat out tank. That’s a very good option at least this year, since the team’s 75% of the way there already. If you tank this year and get the right player, a multi-year tank maybe isn’t needed.
One is to make smaller trades where you’re winning the deal. Trade a guy for a slightly better player, or younger player, or better roster balance, or from a “strength” (two guard) to a weakness (wing).
There are two things that can’t happen. One is to do nothing, which has been this front office’s MO since they started. That and the idea this roster was talented, was never going anywhere, and is worse a decision by the day. The other bad decision is to make a short term deal to “win” this year (let’s trade two firsts for Westbrook!)
Maybe I don’t get the question, but those deals didn’t get done, so they don’t count as doing anything.
I agree. I think he’s failed so far, but that doesn’t mean he should be fired or can’t succeed. That being said, if he doesn’t make some significant changes by November, he doesn’t see the first day of the 2022-23 season on my team.
Very true, but McNair’s team is failing badly, and they’re past the point where coaching can be blamed. Vivek is of course the real issue here, but McNair so far has done almost nothing (drafted a good player and a player who’s good at one thing, with zero effect on wins) to make the team better, whether that’s in the win column, though salary flexibility, younger players, roster mix, draft picks, etc.
Awesome. Mark this as Exhibit A.
Exhibit B and C aren’t far behind.
Is the team better than it was two years ago? If not, is its future clearly brighter? Those are the things he should be judged upon, regardless of path.
Says the infant who goes around calling people “piece of shit” on here for questioning Fox’s injury at the trade deadline.
I have to admit, I am an Andy Sims fan.
Okay, good one, Andy. Now please get back to work.
Mike and Andy are not the same person…..
Spare me, it’s a joke.
And like many of your takes, it’s quite lame.
Sort of the point. But it might require an actual sense of humor to play along.
There’s 2 more steps that you forgot to list.
The next step is some unforeseen event happens that implodes the whole deal.
And finally the good folks here on TKD blame it all on McNair anyway.
If McNair limits his choices to a star/list of four players or nothing, he’s not good enough to do the job. This is a trash and declining roster. You have to work with what you have.
I was pissed for 40 years that Czervik wouldn’t trade me his Rolls for my mower, but maybe my mower is worth a little less to someone who doesn’t cut grass for a living. I’ll trade it for a Mercedes instead.
Great, now I have to file suit for whiplash, because a minute ago it was imperative that McNair get someone in here who can make the team better immediately, and now McNair is incompetent in putting emphasis on getting players exactly like that.
I didn’t say that, and I don’t know if you’re confused or making it up. If you’re making it up, stop it. And don’t reply to my comments.
I’m tired of this back and forth. I’m going to ask you and 1951 and others who wish to answer a simple question:
Assuming you were GM starting today, how would you proceed?
I tear it down because this “core” is fundamentally flawed.
I’d sell off Fox, Barnes, Buddy, Bagley, Holmes, Moe, Len, and whoever else and stack up on draft assets (even if they come with a few crappy contracts) and prospects.
I build around Hali, Mitchell, draft picks and young dudes.
Now, if you are going to tell me that ownership won’t let me do that, fine. But then I’ll tell you that nothing is going to get better by any meaningful significance, so I answered the question based on what I felt was the spirit of the question.
Also, I wouldn’t have waited until now. I would have done this beginning last season and through the off season. Too lazy to produce them, but I have plenty of receipts to support this.
And just so we are clear, I am not expecting a ton in return for any of this. Heck, I probably assess Fox’s trade value lower than most on here, including you and Andy!
Actually wasn’t going to bother. It’s been pointed out, and to great consternation at that.
We have a fundamental disagreement on how to maximize value. That’s what a trade of De’Aaron Fox now amounts to.
I think the idea of trade “value” on an individual trade level can cause paralysis to proper team development.
My perception is that is what may be in part holding Monte back on pulling some trade triggers: his desire to “win” the trade from a value stand point or to hold out for a Morey style blockbuster.
I care little about winning the trades. I would focus solely on the question of: what is the best way I have at my disposal as GM of the Kings to improve the team through the acquisition of top end talent.
Trading Fox directly for it ain’t happening. Building around Fox doesn’t seem particularly viable to me either. So, I cash out on Fox and get back some draft capital and young prospect(s) and hunt for top end talent elsewhere.
The time to “maximize” his value sailed like a kite in a tornado.
Adding: Watch him pull off some blockbuster in 7 days and then I’ll come back here and scrub any evidence that this convo took place! 😉
I highly doubt that this matters at this point. I think there’s just much general pissiness, hatred and what not directed at ownership/FO/players to let it go so quickly and so easily over a thing like a blockbuster trade.
This whole brewing of anger has been a long time coming and I doubt one or two moves, even good one’s, will make many happy if other things (like not trading Fox) doesn’t happen, too.
At this point, I think a lot of fans want it all, and short of getting it will be ticked off.
Quick edit and add on: I’ll be happy to be wrong on the last paragraph.
Again, we disagree a bit.
I think it would take very little to get fans excited again.
Like, even just a set of youthful try-hards, or add an exciting player of the Sabonis/Simmons/etc ilk.
Anything other than trotting out the same core of meh vets to lose more games.
When Monte was hired, I was hopeful he was a smart, aggressive guy who wanted to quickly clean up Vlade’s stain and create his own team from the bottom up. As of right now, two years later, I have no idea what he wants to do, if anything.
My goal for the deadline and offseason would be to deal Fox, Barnes and Hield and cut Bagley and Thompson if I can’t get second round picks for them. I’d be fine with a star deal, with a tank the rest of the season, or with laterals where I’m getting younger, better, picks or salary flexibility.
I’m not going to write you a big ole business plan, because I actually have to cut grass, and can’t expect the golfers to be like “Well, Smails is actually in charge of the grass and not Spackler, so even though Carl lives in the groundskeeper shack and says he’s the groundskeeper, it’s not actually his fault the fairways are three feet deep.” 😉