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Reviewing the Kings poor defense against the Knicks

View at your own risk.

The Sacramento Kings have a basketball IQ problem, specifically on defense. Again, you are shocked by that statement, right? This time, it is Harrison Barnes saying it though.

After the New York Knicks embarrassed the Kings in Madison Square Garden Thursday night 140-121, Barnes expressed his frustration with the team's defensive effort saying it is an IQ-based problem, the players aren't executing the game plan, all five guys are not connected on a string and not communicating.

"We have energy, you can see that on the offensive end. We have no problem running up and down the floor doing all that type of stuff, but it's how smart are we playing defensively on our rotations? How lacking are we to that? And our communication. Are we talking or does one guy think the big is going to drop and then the big is up thinking he's in a switch or a blitz and then the roller is getting a wide open layup?" Barnes said. "We've just got to play the game within the game better and execute the game plan."

He went on to provide a few more examples.

"If three guys are executing a double team and two guys are just a second late, then that's what's going to allow them to shoot 60 percent in the first half," he said. "If we're supposed to load up in transition and we run to our man then that's going to allow them to get wide open layups in transition."

Let's look at some examples of the problems they are having.

Here, Marvin Bagley gambles on trying to get a block when DaQuan Jeffries is already playing excellent man defense. There is no need to leave his man here to bring help. As a result, a wide-open put-back dunk occurs. You will notice De'Aaron Fox and Cory Joseph express some frustration there at the end.

Here, Bagley decides to box out his man to give the guy with the ball a clear path layup. You will notice Barnes look at Bagley at the end of the play and point to his head. Yikes.

Here, the Kings double and the ball is passed into the key. Buddy Hield leaves his man, which leads to an easy second pass and open layup. No one communicates about the open man he left.

Fox and Bagley get beat badly in the pick and roll.

Here, Hield leaves his man wide open beyond the arc to help Fox cover a cutter that Fox is sluggishly following. An easy pass-out to that open man results in a three.

Fox puts minimal effort in here to close out on the shooter (notice it is just a three-point game at this point).

Yes, this is a coaching problem. Yes, this is a player problem. Both can be true. Same story, different day, but the Kings are reaching historic levels at this point on the defensive end.

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February 26, 2021 1:07 pm

I have never seen Barnes like that in a post game media session. Barnes is too professional to blast teammates or coaches in a media session, but it was definitely the most unhappy I have seen him after a game. Kings have to do right by Barnes and trade him to a contender. He deserves to be on a high IQ team that is competing.

February 26, 2021 1:45 pm
Reply to  Peja

Or turn the Kings into a high IQ team that competes. Just a thought.

February 26, 2021 3:25 pm
Reply to  eddie41

Unfortunately, I don’t think some of these guys are teachable at this point. This is high school JV-level court intelligence, at best. They somehow haven’t developed those instincts by now, so why would they ever?

February 26, 2021 10:28 pm
Reply to  Peja

Good for Barnes. I’ve/many of us harping on Bags horrible D BBIQ—which we’re not allowed to comment on unless we are professional ballers I guess—

This is why I don’t want Bags for the future. Not type of players who helps win, rather one who frustrates his teammates. Buddy at least can shoot.

February 26, 2021 1:16 pm

i know these are just examples, but in two of these the issue with Fox isn’t IQ, it’s effort.

Fox has been bad on D for two seasons, with spotty effort, no willingness to fight through screens and a tendency to gamble.

He’s our franchise player and he needs to lead by example.

But yeah, we have too many low BBIQ players on this team.

February 26, 2021 1:24 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

It is an accountability issue. I am not trying to shift blame only onto coach, but we know from post-game pressers and … other things… that Luke struggles mightily with accountability.

February 26, 2021 4:05 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Curry has been the weak link on defense for most of his career until this season. What changed? He bulked up and got stronger in order to fight through screens and not easily get pushed around. Now he’s able to use his quickness and anticipation to stay with defenders (instead of dumb reaching fouls) and still clog up the passing lanes as well. It’s what made them jump to a top 5 defensive team this year.

Fox could stand to put on some muscle as well. It’s not just effort level, it’s being capable of putting up a fight against a strong attack and not go bouncing around or resort to reaching fouls or constant help. If everyone needs help defenders, but there’s no defensive minded players or anchors to orchestrate it.

February 26, 2021 1:35 pm


More like D-Baby Gate

February 26, 2021 3:25 pm

Hey, I’ve had a baby gate up in my house for 3 years now. Those things can be impregnable.

February 26, 2021 3:47 pm
Reply to  AmateurNerd

Something about referring to a baby gate as impregnable seems self-undermining.

February 26, 2021 1:36 pm

We need a Draymond Green type alpha on defense. The intensity and aggression from Fox during our winning streak needs to be every night. He kind of coasted to 29 last night. That should have been a 40 point game from him. He needs to understand he sets the tone. I think we should start Haliburton at 1 and move Fox to the 2. Buddy should be on the bench. I know this is the direction the team hopes to go based off of the media (Richard Jefferson) name dropping Barnes as a source during a ROY discussion segment. Why not do it now? We literally have nothing to lose at this point. And I can not wait to see Woodard get some burn after his G League stint is over. He is looking like another potential steal from our draft. And he was drafted partially (mostly) for defense.

February 26, 2021 1:46 pm

You know, I just can’t stop thinking about that poor clipboard.

February 26, 2021 1:52 pm

Despite its excellence, this will be the least-read article of the year.

February 26, 2021 2:11 pm

comment image

February 26, 2021 2:33 pm

Tank God It’s Friday?

February 26, 2021 2:50 pm

YIKES to seeing Barnes hit his head to Bagley!

Its crazy how often they look like they dont know what they’re doing defensively. Like no one told them: “hey, no threes, stay home” or “double off penetration.” Either it isnt being said or the players are really that bad.

Bagley and Buddy should be coming off the bench until they can prove themselves on both sides. It also has been disappointing seeing Fox play defense. I feel like he has always played like that though.

February 26, 2021 3:01 pm

Man, those were rough to watch.

February 26, 2021 3:37 pm

Makes me think if this team can play 2-3 zone and be better than the worst defensive team in NBA history.

We are worse than even every Trust the Process Sixer team. Those rosters were UGLEE. This is embarrassing especially for a former champion champion consumate pro like Barnes and I’m glad he is finally speaking up and calling it out like it is.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kangz_Landing
February 26, 2021 3:50 pm

To be honest, I’m only watching tonight to see how low we can go. I really think we can pull off an impressive loss tonight. Basically what happens when a stoppable blob meets a moveable piece of jello. I’m excited for the no name Detroit player who has his career night tonight.

February 26, 2021 4:10 pm
Reply to  Brizz

When people (like my dear wife) ask why I continue to follow the Kings, my response it that I choose to view the team like a long-running television show. Like a screwball sitcom. Or a soap opera.

February 26, 2021 4:43 pm

I’m glad Fox was called out here. He’s the head of the snake and continually seems to take defense off. As much as I love him, he’s a big part of the problem.

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