Articles | Commentary | Numbers

The Kings are killing themselves from beyond the arc

The green light should be the exception, not the rule.

Over the last 10 years, the NBA has fallen more and more in love with the three-point shot. A decade ago, teams were averaging 18 three-point attempts per game. This season, Steph Curry is jacking up 13 three-point attempts per night on his own. Every offseason, more and more players, from guards to centers, try to add a three-point shot to their arsenal to try stay relevant in a league straying as far as it can from anything considered to be an inefficient shot.

Despite that seismic shift, most teams still only employ one or two players who are given a pure green light - the guys who can toss up any three-point attempts they would like, at any time they would like. Steph Curry, Buddy Hield, Seth Curry, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, James Harden, Zach LaVine, and a host of other players fit within that unique group. However, aside from those volume shooters, most contributors on most teams are only afforded three-point opportunities in the right situations, whether those be catch-and-shoot situations, open attempts after a drive-and-kick, or even late-clock desperation attempts.

This year, the Kings have seemingly taken a different approach. Everyone gets to shoot threes whenever they want, with no one being held accountable for poor shooting performances. It's as if Oprah Winfrey is coaching the squad and she's standing on the sideline screaming "You get a three! You get a three! You get a three!" And it's not working.

The Kings currently rank 7th in three-point attempts taken very early in the shot clock, despite sitting 24th overall in accuracy from beyond the arc this season. They play some of the worst three-point shooters in the league, and those players have been granted a green light from deep, for some inexplicable reason.

Chimezie Metu

Chimezie Metu, as likable of a player as he may be, is probably the worst example of this issue for the Kings. This season, he's jacking up 4.7 three-point attempts per game and hitting just 25.5% of his attempts, and his volume has only gone up as the season has progressed, despite his lack of success from beyond the arc. On a per-minute basis, Metu is averaging the third most long-balls on the team, 7.7 per 36 minutes, behind only Buddy Hield and Terence Davis.

Interestingly enough, Metu's three-point shots are also coming at the cost of much better shooters. In the seven games that Chimezie has played significant minutes beside Harrison Barnes, six of which he's started, Metu has averaged 5.3 three-point attempts per game, while Harrison Barnes has taken just 2.6, despite being Sacramento's second-best three-point shooter over the last few years. In games in which Metu has not appeared, Harrison attempts 6.7 three-pointers, a massive difference for such an important player in Sacramento's offensive scheme.

Terence Davis

Unlike Chimezie Metu, who doesn't have any large sample size of three-point making in his career, Terence Davis has previously found some success in the league from beyond the arc. Prior to the disaster that has been the 2021 season for Davis, he posted a respectable three-point percentage of 37.7% on 3.8 attempts per game. Those numbers aren't exactly awe-inspiring, but they speak to a player who can occasionally knock down a shot.

That has not been the case this season, for whatever reason. TD hasn't just been bad from three-point range - he's been arguably the worst three-point marksman in the league through 20 games. Of the 137 NBA players who are averaging around four three-point attempts per game, Davis ranks dead least in accuracy, currently 22.6%. Frankly, if Terence Davis isn't hitting shots, he's providing nothing for the Kings, and to date, that's exactly what he's done.

Davion Mitchell

Davion Mitchell probably deserves the least amount of frustration for his three-point performance. He's a six-foot rookie guard who is burning a ton of energy trying to make up for De'Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton's refusal to keep their man in front of them, while also trying to occasionally run the offense and find his own scoring touch. Thus far this year, despite knocking down 45% of his three-pointers in his final year in the NCAA, Mitchell has yet to find the range.

Davion's lack of success from beyond the arc kind of comes down to the simple fact that he's missing, and he's missing a lot. Most guards who struggle from deep often find a significant gap in accuracy between their in-rhythm, settled three-point attempts, and their off-the-dribble jumpers, but shot selection hasn't affected Mitchell's success this season. In fact, he's actually shooting better in pull-up situations (24.3%) than in catch-and-shoot scenarios (22.5%).

De'Aaron Fox

Slowly but surely, Kings fans are beginning to accept the fact that, for whatever reason, De'Aaron Fox probably isn't going to add the low-volume, accurate three-point shot that would unlock a whole new level of his game. This season has been especially disappointing for Fox, as he's sinking 25.8% of his 4.4 three-point attempts per game, the worst mark in his five-year career.

Unlike Davion Mitchell, who can't buy a shot no matter the situation, Fox's habit of settling early in the shot clock for step-back, pull-up three-pointers is killing his accuracy. On the season, De'Aaron is knocking down 35.4% of his catch-and-shoot attempts, around the NBA average for three-point percentage, while he's averaging a putrid 21.4% on pull-up three-point attempts. There are occasions, especially late in the shot clock, in which a De'Aaron Fox three-point attempt is better than nothing, but to date in his career those shot attempts should also be considered a win for the opposing defense.

***

The Sacramento Kings currently rank 24th in the NBA in three-point percentage. Of the 137 NBA players attempting around four three-point attempts per game, Terence Davis ranks 137th, Chimezie Metu ranks 133rd, De'Aaron Fox ranks 132nd, and Davion Mitchell ranks 130th. The Kings are responsible for four of the worst nine shooters in the league this season.

And while some of the blame for such terrible performances rests on the shoulders of the players who are missing shot after shot after shot, the responsibility for these foolish green lights lies with the coaching staff. The Kings aren't playing rec league ball at La Sierra where everyone gets a turn; they're an NBA franchise trying to break a 15-year playoff drought. On just about every other team, if a player isn't hitting shots, he's pulled or told to try something else. The Kings just keep jacking up more and more shots, and it's simply not working.

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RikSmits
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November 29, 2021 10:15 am

Death by a thousand cuts shots?

The green light should be the exception, not the rule.

You know there’s an All Star for sale who sparingly shoots threes?

Rosevillain
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November 29, 2021 11:30 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Simmons plays basketball on such a higher level than anyone on this team can even imagine. Monte is a fool for refusing to include Fox or Hali.

1951
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November 29, 2021 10:18 am

The Kings are responsible for four of the worst nine shooters in the league this season.

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Marty
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November 29, 2021 10:25 am

Nice article Tim.

RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 10:29 am

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RikSmits
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November 29, 2021 10:32 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Can he play SF?

RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 10:46 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Chimissing Metu
Terence Treymiss
Davioff Mitchell
De’Errant Fox

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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November 29, 2021 10:45 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Watch for the bricked shots, Marvin!
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Kosta
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November 29, 2021 11:49 am
Reply to  Klam

Holmes Alone?

RikSmits
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November 29, 2021 11:00 am

Jeesh, look at the drop-off between the top 4 and the rest.

Last edited 7 months ago by RikSmits
Gregoryl
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November 29, 2021 1:52 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Max player…

Carl
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November 29, 2021 2:21 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

The sad part is there’s really only one guy on the team underachieving, and one guy who is an unknown, but maybe (hopefully) should be better.

Kosta
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November 29, 2021 11:37 am

The Kings are killing themselves

The Kings’ Harold & Maude ?

“Goodbye, playoffs”
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Last edited 7 months ago by Kosta
RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 11:42 am
Reply to  Kosta

Gif checks out – they shot and missed the ocean.

Kosta
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November 29, 2021 11:46 am
Reply to  RobHessing

It won’t stop them from continuing to try……over and over and over and over and over………regardless of failure………….for the entire game…..no need to take it to the (Pacific) rim.
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Last edited 7 months ago by Kosta
ZillersCat
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November 29, 2021 12:18 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Very obscure Harold & Maude reference? Lead song, Morning has Broken .. along with the Kings jump shots.
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Last edited 7 months ago by ZillersCat
Kosta
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November 29, 2021 1:22 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

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pretty sure Harold was a Kings fan

Last edited 7 months ago by Kosta
Kosta
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November 29, 2021 1:29 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

PS, don’t you just love how they hired a Cat to write the soundtrack for that film?

ZillersCat
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November 29, 2021 2:10 pm
Reply to  Kosta

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Last edited 7 months ago by ZillersCat
Kosta
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November 29, 2021 12:03 pm

Strumming my pain with no finger-rolls
Clanging the rim with their bricks
Killing themselves softly with long-balls
Killing themselves softly
with long-balls
Spoiling our whole season with long-balls
Killing themselves softly
with these bricks

I heard we had a young team, I heard they had a style
And so I came to watch them, to livestream for a while
But they were not a young team, strangers to the playoffs

Strumming my pain with no finger-rolls
Clanging the rim with their bricks
Killing themselves softly with long-balls
Killing themselves softly
with long-balls
Spoiling our whole season with long-balls
Killing themselves softly
with these bricks

I felt all flushed with fever, embarrassed with the crowd
I hoped they found my TKH comments and read each one out loud
I prayed that they would finish (shooting threes), but they just kept right on

Strumming my pain with no finger-rolls
Clanging the rim with their bricks
Killing themselves softly with long-balls
Killing themselves softly
with long-balls
Spoiling our whole season with long-balls
Killing themselves softly
with these bricks

-Roberta Sac
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Last edited 7 months ago by Kosta
Hozr
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November 29, 2021 10:51 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Will not rec as it is not a Cat Stevens song.

Ralph_Furleys_Tailor
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November 30, 2021 1:38 am
Reply to  Kosta

Logged in just to lend a thumb.

well done.

sonny
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November 29, 2021 12:22 pm

They should eliminate the 3.

Vivek, Matina and Dumars.

SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 12:37 pm

Mitchell is most worrisome. Older rookie with size disadvantage. He may never get there as 3 point threat. He also dribbles too much and lacks passing skills.

Fox ain’t getting there. Should have shown some degree of consistency by nos

Haliburton, who also has big question marks around his offensive game, doesn’t seem like a good enough ball handler to get anything but the occasional uncontested 3

Bottom line: team is screwed for now and forseeable future.

ZillersCat
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November 29, 2021 12:48 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

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Last edited 7 months ago by ZillersCat
SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 2:15 pm
Reply to  ZillersCat

Sorry to rain on your parade. But yes, Kings are ass.

RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 12:59 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Mitchell is the least worrisome to me. Rookie, #10 pick. Has plenty of opportunity to become a Patrick Beverly-type player, which would be a solid get at 10. I’ll never understand why spending another couple of years in college limits someone’s upside. He is very NBA young and the least concerning to me.

Haliburton is a 2nd year player on a bad and inconsistent team. His role is not consistent, so neither is his game. That said, he is one of four players that has performed well above the average for this team, and his the biggest value to contract on the roster.

Fox is THE issue. He is no longer on his rookie contract. He is making $28m this season and $163m over the five year run of his contract. If he is not playing like a top 10 NBA PG, he is an overall liability. And make no mistake, he is not playing anywhere near a top 10 NBA PG right now.

Hali, Mitchell, Holmes, Barnes and maybe Hield. Those are the guys with any value to contract right now. Everyone else is no to bad value, meaning that over half the payroll is negative value. That is problematic for a small market team that needs to capitalize on its decisions and investments.

SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 2:24 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Well, I’m glad you enjoy Mitchell dribbling in circles, ignoring teammates, and launching threes. That’s a guy who thinks his game is way more advanced than it currently shows. He’s the same age as Trae Young and older than Ja Morant, Tyrese Maxey, Lamelo and others. He’s most likely not going to become the difference maker for a top playoff contender.

Haliburton has either regressed or he is what he is. A nice cog, capable of running a nice pick and roll and hitting an open 3. But also capable of throwing horrible passes and becoming invisible for long stretches. He’s clearly limited as an athlete able to get his own shot.

Kings fans shouldn’t have to be sold the a bill of goods every season. They haven’t drafted or acquired a transcendent player since Webber.

Last edited 7 months ago by SexyNapear
SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 2:31 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Current PERS for point guards:

Fox – 15.75 31th in league
Haliburton – 15.82 30th in league

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 29, 2021 2:43 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

To be fair, I bet if you put those two on better teams with better players, their PER would grow much higher. Haliburton on a contender would be fantastic. I bet Philly would prefer him over Fox at this point.

SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 3:40 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Richaun is 15th in the entire league for PER. Among ALL players. So that blows that theory.

Last edited 7 months ago by SexyNapear
Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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November 29, 2021 4:01 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Montrezl Harrell is even higher. I think this just comes down to preferred units of measure and I feel PER is more flawed than others and doesn’t fully take in advantages of position (bigs tend to have better PER numbers) or teammates.

RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 3:14 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Well, I’m glad you enjoy Mitchell dribbling in circles, ignoring teammates, and launching threes. 

That’s your takeaway from what I wrote? Well, your avatar checks out, at least.

SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 3:38 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I’m saying that the Kings don’t get anywhere without a transcendent player. They have chosen and traded for the wrong guys for years, but the Kings fans, ever hopeful, continue to dream big about their potential.

Mitchell is likely close to the player he will become because of his age in comparison to other top-tier talent. That’s just not good enough for a team that needs to make big strides.

Last edited 7 months ago by SexyNapear
RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 4:06 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

What are your expectations for a #10 pick, and when should that player meet said expectations?

Two of the last ten #10 picks made the all-rookie team: Justise Winslow (2nd team) and Elfrid Payton (1st team). Conversely, the two best #10 picks over the past ten years did not make all-rookie: CJ McCollum and Mikal Bridges. McCollum, by the way, was a four year college player. Jalen Smith, Cam Reddish, Zach Collins, Thon Maker, Austin Rivers and Jimmer Fredette round out the inventory of #10 picks over the past ten years.

Points being that you can’t make a determination about a player based solely on his rookie year, much less 1/4 of it. And if you’re looking for a savior at #10, you’re looking in the wrong place.

I would have taken Moses Moody at #10, but there is every chance that Mitchell winds up being a top ten player out of this draft by the time all of this draft class has had their respective careers.

I noted pre-draft that I felt bad for whomever the Kings drafted at #10, given the unreasonable bar that Haliburton had set the prior year. Mitchell looks exactly like most mid-lottery picks look like at this juncture of their careers: some promise, some putrid, and time needed to adapt to the NBA game.

You can’t blame Davion Mitchell for the Kings passing on Luka Doncic or hiring Luke Walton or failing to dump at the deadline last year, which would have likely led to a higher pick.

Last edited 7 months ago by RobHessing
RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 4:19 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

And 1 –

My mistake, Mitchell was a #9 pick. But the same applies. Trey Burke was the only 1st teamer to come out of #9 over the past decade, with Dennis Smith Jr., Rui Hachimura and Andre Drummond as 2nd teamers. On the other hand, Jakob Poeltl and Kemba Walker did not make their respective all-rookie teams. Walker was a three year collegiate player. Poeltl was a two year man.

SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 4:47 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

The Kings have drafted in the lottery for the past 15 years and haven’t struck gold yet. At some point, you have to realize it’s the team and it’s player evaluations. By the way, it’s not Mitchell’s fault he was drafted by a team that has no clue how to put together a squad. And it shouldn’t be the job of fans to imbue unrealistic hope into players who are longshots to turn the team into a contender.

Some examples of striking gold (no Kings in the bunch):

  • Kawhi Leonard (pick #15)
  • Nikola Jokic (pick #41)
  • Paul George (pick #10)
  • Jimmy Butler (pick #30)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (pick #15)
  • Devin Booker (pick #13)
  • Donovan Mitchell (pick #13)
  • Klay Thompson (pick #11)
  • Bam Adebayo (pick #14)
  • Zach LaVine (pick #13)
  • Rudy Gobert (pick #27)
  • CJ McCollum (pick #10)
  • Domantas Sabonis (pick #11)
  • Draymond Green (pick #35)
Last edited 7 months ago by SexyNapear
RobHessing
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November 29, 2021 5:01 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

So we agree then that Davion Mitchell is not “the most worrisome.”

SexyNapear
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November 29, 2021 5:09 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

He’s the most worrisome because he’s been given the green light when he hasn’t earned it and he shows no signs of becoming the fully realized starting point guard. Which they definitely will need if they dump Fox.

Rosevillain
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November 29, 2021 5:43 pm
Reply to  SexyNapear

Yeah, I’m way more worried about a guy in his fifth year, who just got a max deal and doesn’t care anymore, than a guy who’s played in 20 freaking games.

SneakerKing
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November 30, 2021 10:25 am
Reply to  SexyNapear

It’s also the Kings lack of any real developmental system or program. Even if the Kings had taken some of these guys, its possible they don’t become the players they are now in our system. Scary thought: The Kings stifle talented players.

Carl
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November 29, 2021 2:25 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

I was told we were in a fantastic place as far as our roster goes.

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Nostradumbass 14
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November 29, 2021 2:44 pm
Reply to  Carl

Yeah, I was told Walton would led us to the playoffs and Vivek would bring back the Monarchs. It’s almost as if people don’t tell the truth.

Gregoryl
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November 29, 2021 3:04 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Quick fix: It’s almost as if people don’t Vivek doesn’t tell the truth.

Gregoryl
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November 29, 2021 1:54 pm

Shooting 3’s is easier than driving to the basket…its really simple for this roster.

Kosta
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November 29, 2021 2:04 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

I kinda feel like opposing coaches write on the whiteboard:

LET THEM SHOOT 3’s

Hozr
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November 29, 2021 11:00 pm
Reply to  Kosta

“Let them shoot 3’s”

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BabalooMagoo
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November 29, 2021 3:05 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

Making 3’s, now that’s a different story.

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November 29, 2021 2:39 pm

It’s almost like this team isn’t very good and will be floating around 30 wins once again. Color me surprised.

7th in attempt, yet 24th in makes isn’t going to win too many games or keep coaches employed.

rff
citykidd
November 29, 2021 2:58 pm

When is Monte going to realize that the current core isn’t very good and can’t win or does he already know and Vivek won’t allow him to make the proper trades?

Rosevillain
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November 29, 2021 3:44 pm
Reply to  citykidd

He knows if he doesn’t make a move, he can’t be blamed for anything. Except to make a move. Which he’ll eventually be forced to do next offseason, and he’ll have bought himself an extra year on the job to see how things play out. What’s the damn hurry, right?

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November 29, 2021 3:47 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

As Ham said last week, Monte is a middle manager in this org. He does NOTHING without Vivek and his cronies having the final say.

Rosevillain
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November 29, 2021 5:36 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

So Monte keeps lying that he has final say on everything then?

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November 29, 2021 7:46 pm
Reply to  Rosevillain

100% yes

oshima9
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November 29, 2021 4:00 pm

For me, this article suggests that players are doing what they want regardless of what the coaches tell them. I think the coaches have this data and more, and have told the players what to do, but the players keep going on their merry way.

UsedToLoveTheKings
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November 29, 2021 6:30 pm

Vivek may add 4 more data analytics guys to the front office to better understand what you just described.

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