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The Kings are on a historically bad defensive run. Is it time to make a change? | TKHS Episode 6

Jerry Reynolds, Will Griffith, and Tony Xypteras break down an offensive defensive stretch of basketball by the Kings, and go over a few of the ways the Kings can change things up.

Episode 6 of The Kings Herald Show featuring Jerry Reynolds has arrived! On this episode of the podcast, Jerry Reynolds, Will Griffith, and Tony Xypteras give their impressions on the first month of the 2020-21 NBA season, and break down a historically bad stretch of defense from your 5-8 Sacramento Kings.

  • (2:00) The 2020-21 Kings are a historically bad defensive team
  • (7:30) What changes should Luke Walton make in the starting lineup or rotation?
  • (11:05) Richaun Holmes appreciation
  • (13:30) Mavin Bagley progress report
  • (24:00) How can the Kings fix their defensive issues?
  • (31:00) At what point should the Kings bench veterans and play the kids?
  • (33:45) Harrison Barnes is having the best season of his career
  • (45:00) Should the Kings expect more out of De’Aaron Fox?
  • (50:20) Do the Kings have a toughness problem?
  • (102:00) Patreon Question of the Week

You can find The Kings Herald Show wherever you listen to podcasts, but if we're missing a platform of your choosing, leave us a note in the comments and we'll get to work. If you want to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on any and all platforms, that would be greatly appreciated, too. It's the best way you can support the show!


In addition to our bi-weekly podcast with Jerry Reynolds, we also record a Patreon exclusive Q+A once a month where Patrons at any level can Ask Jerry Anything. The 2nd Patreon Q+A with Jerry was posted last week. If you're a Patron, you can submit questions to us on Patreon, or post your questions for Jerry in the comments right here in this post. We may even have a special guest joining us on the podcast next week, so stay tuned for that, and get those questions in!

Lastly, you can sign up for our Patreon here.

As always, thanks for listening. See you back here soon.

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January 18, 2021 10:37 am

playing musical chairs might help a little but it starts with offensive efficiency. Until the team plays more controlled they are always going to lack a focus on defense.

Hassan Whiteside was one of the beat defenders in the NBA in 2019 according to the DRAYMOND rating but he can’t get minutes on a historically bad team because he doesn’t play fast enough.

Playing fast should not be the priority of the team which is clearly is and while fun at times is just out of control most of the time and leads to disorganized defensive play and no development of the half court offense that is essential to late game grinding out wins.

January 18, 2021 12:38 pm
Reply to  OakieNiner

I thought that was pointed out in the podcast especially how to hold people to account on defense and improve offense efficiency ! May be changing the deck chairs but why not try to improve and find what might work better ? Nothing to lose !

January 18, 2021 1:27 pm
Reply to  OakieNiner

The Kings are 11th in the league in TS%, and 10th in Offensive Rating overall. They are pretty efficient, in the grand scheme of things.

January 19, 2021 7:58 am
Reply to  Otis

Dang, thanks for this. I suppose what I see is a lot of just pointless running. The Kings just seem to kind of grab the ball and try to run past everyone only to find themselves grinding out the clock.

Defensively, it’s just crazy how out of sorts they look. I am telling myself too often “that was too easy” after an opponent made FG.

January 19, 2021 8:03 am
Reply to  OakieNiner

I can’t confirm that they are this efficient in the halfcourt, I would guess not. But yeah, the defense is just abysmally bad.

January 18, 2021 8:57 pm
Reply to  OakieNiner

The Kings are 14th in the league in pace, so if they’re playing too fast for Whiteside, then it’s a Whiteside problem rather than a team problem.

January 19, 2021 8:00 am
Reply to  furious.d

As I replied to Otis above, my eyes are just seeing something different than what the stats are telling me. The Pace just feels fake. They are pushing way too hard and that is extremely difficult when you are constantly doing that after you opponent scores, which as we know, opponents are scoring at historic rates an breaking team records.

January 19, 2021 8:29 am
Reply to  OakieNiner

Whiteside is not a good defender and that DRAYMOND thing is not a good measurement. There’s a reason be didn’t play crunch time for the Heat when he was at his peak.

January 18, 2021 10:51 am

Your Sacramento Kings: An exercise in fucktility.

January 18, 2021 12:36 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

No Fucks Given

January 18, 2021 12:55 pm
Reply to  Kosta

It’s “Zero Fucks Given”, dumdum!

January 18, 2021 3:46 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Zero Fox Given

Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
January 18, 2021 8:18 pm

Zero Faux Given

January 18, 2021 10:55 am

Is this really the worst defense team in the last 25 years of NBA play from a purely roster perspective?

And don’t get me wrong, I am not defending the roster construction. It’s bad. But still this coaching staff can’t get a better defensive performance out of these players that worst of the last 25 years?

Last edited 1 month ago by 1951
January 18, 2021 1:30 pm
Reply to  1951

And how is this roster significantly worse defensively than the last two seasons (when they finished 22nd in the league in defense)?

January 18, 2021 1:41 pm
Reply to  Otis

Exactly. And don’t tell me it’s the pace.

In Joerger’s last year our pace was 103.1 (100.7 so far this season) and yet our DRtg was 111.5 (121.8 so far this season!) which was 20th in the league (compared to dead last right now!)!

Also, in being dead last right now, it’s not even close. Minny has the second worst DRtg at 116, about 6 points better per 100 possessions.

January 18, 2021 1:45 pm
Reply to  1951

To put how big a discrepancy of 6 points per 100 possessions is, consider this: If the current NBA DRtg leader (who shall not be named!) gave up 6 points per 100 possessions more right now, they would drop from No. 1 to No. 17.

Whereas if the Kings improve by 6 points per 100 possessions right now, they would only rise from No. 30 to No. 29.

Last edited 1 month ago by 1951
January 18, 2021 3:00 pm
Reply to  1951

And basically, you pointed out the same thing. I’d have to imagine McNair is pretty concerned about this, it’s getting beyond just being an aberration.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 18, 2021 4:00 pm
Reply to  1951

We fucked.
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January 18, 2021 5:59 pm
Reply to  1951

Thank you for the perspective on how truly awful this team is.

January 19, 2021 11:12 pm
Reply to  1951

I get it, we are super bad defensively. However if we made those Free Throws as discussed in the podcast, would this stat be NBA worst record of all time?

January 18, 2021 2:57 pm
Reply to  1951

Yeah, there’s more going on here than simply “bad defensive players”. The discrepancy is even bigger just looking at the seven-game homestand. For that period, the DRtg is 129.5. Next worse during that stretch? Orlando at 116.2.

So to put it in perspective, the Kings would need to be 13.4 “points” better in DRtg to improve from #30 to #29. If Orlando was 13.4 better during that stretch, they’d jump from #29 to #1.

Basically, we’ve been twice as bad as the second worst defensive team in the league.

January 18, 2021 5:59 pm
Reply to  Otis

It gets worse?

January 18, 2021 11:37 am

I love Jerry and pretty much agree with everything he said. He’s so good in podcast format and I just continue to be fired up we have him in the TKH family.

January 18, 2021 12:38 pm

Worst defensive team in the last 25 years 🙁

Best podcast team in the last 25 years 😀

January 18, 2021 3:48 pm

Jerrys mentioned a few times now that he doesnt always agree with everything he reads on this website, and I wonder, does he mean he disagrees with some of the published posts or some of our goofball (mine included) comments.

January 18, 2021 7:12 pm
Reply to  TonyXypteras

I bet he doesn’t understand why we love him so much, that rascal!

January 18, 2021 11:57 am

Thanks again.
I enjoy these podcasts a lot, gentlemen.

January 18, 2021 7:14 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

They’re really great!

January 18, 2021 12:12 pm

Rearranging deck chairs again.

  1. If the coach sees no effort on D, you need to be benched. Regardless, of how much offensive talent you have. The mindset will only change if it becomes a habit.
  2. Defense is less about coaching and more about the the passion to effect the game on the defensive end.
  3. Walton knows he’s on the hot seat. Wins are all he cares about. Defensive awareness is secondary. Walton knows this team will lose alot more games if the likes of Metu, Cojo, Robinson, Guy, Bjelica, and Whiteside are on the floor.
January 18, 2021 12:32 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

Good points and exactly what was stated in the podcast relating to defense !

January 18, 2021 1:31 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

I’m not following you on #3 – if all he cares about are wins, wouldn’t he be pushing defense hard?

January 18, 2021 4:45 pm
Reply to  SelecaoKOJ

how much worse can it really get?

January 19, 2021 10:00 am
Reply to  BigDrewbot

What have you done??

how much worse can it really get?

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January 18, 2021 12:50 pm

I think a guy on our roster who can help with some of those defensive issues is DaQuan Jeffries. He’s a gritty player.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 18, 2021 1:02 pm
Reply to  eddie41

He is likely not back until around the trade deadline.

January 18, 2021 6:44 pm
Reply to  Adamsite

Until then! I am Hans and I am Frans and we are here to pump … you up!

January 19, 2021 7:51 am
Reply to  eddie41

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January 19, 2021 8:13 am
Reply to  ZillersCat

Is that Xavier Tillman in the background?

January 18, 2021 12:50 pm

That was fantastic. You guys are obviously super prepared. Yes more Jae Crowder types!

Listened while updating shower and tub hardware here at the compound, good stuff.

Nostradumbass 14
Nostradumbass 14
January 18, 2021 1:27 pm
Reply to  Marty

I was kind of hoping the Kings would be interested in getting Taurean Prince when the Nets were rumored to want to dump him. I think he fits that kind of tough guy mold as well. Sadly, he was packaged to Cleveland in that Harden deal.

January 18, 2021 2:08 pm

The main problem, IMO: (lack of) accountability.

The coach can’t be fired by the GM so there’s no accountability. Yet he is a lame duck so players feel no accountability towards the coach.

The GM is stuck with a coach he didn’t choose and can’t fire (yet) and the mess of the former GM so he can’t be held accountable.

The franchise player already has his max contract because we ‘couldn’t afford to let such talent go’, despite the fact that he hasn’t proven anything yet. No accountability.

Same for the disgruntled ‘sniper’ who got paid, made his trade demands and going through the motions until he gets traded.

we have the veteran guard, still floating on his former reputation as a great defender who is not being held accountable for his current play.

And then there’s the former no. 2 pick, of whom everyone including his father is shouting that he should be gifted minutes so we can see what we have in him, despite his horrendous defense. What accountability?

Last but not least, the owner who cannot be deposed and has yet again set up a system with two separate people having a voice in bball opps; the GM and the special adviser. And his son, too, probably.

Go Kings!

Last edited 1 month ago by RikSmits
January 18, 2021 9:03 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

My favorite brief summary of our current predicament.

January 18, 2021 2:41 pm

The three has been the main problem. Teams have been shooting greater than 50% from thee land recently. How much of this is bad D vs just great shooting? I feel like over the last few games opponents have been just shooting lights out, even on well contested shots. As bad as the Kings might be on D, should we really expect teams to shoot greater than 50% from three point range over a longer time frame than a few games?

Last edited 1 month ago by extra
January 18, 2021 2:59 pm
Reply to  extra

When does an anomaly become a trend? A trend become pattern? A pattern become a systemic failure?

I don’t know but it seems to me that the Kings are often and continuously the common denominator for every other team’s statistically great and outlier shooting nights!

January 18, 2021 3:07 pm
Reply to  extra

Historically bad is more than a few teams getting HOT ! Hope the team can improve enough to just be the worst in the league this season instead of All Time !

January 19, 2021 8:08 am
Reply to  extra

We’ve been saying this for years. Teams love to shoot 3’s on the Kings.

January 18, 2021 3:14 pm

Meh. I expected a shitty team, and guess what? We have a shitty team. I can’t get myself to care about it anymore. I’m just completely all out of fucks to give… spent them all a long time ago.

Let the tank roll. I kind of hope we are the worst team in the NBA this year. Get a #1 draft pick and hope Monte makes something good with it. Fire Walton, blow up the roster, keep Hali and Fox, and maybe Holmes, enter some hot new draft pick and a trade piece or two, and go from there. Or trade them all and keep no one. Trade Slamson for all I care. Just give me something worth watching next year. That is all I care about, and even for that I won’t be holding my breath.

January 18, 2021 3:52 pm

Another white van adventure.

“I’m concerned for our security,” says Lyle, the secure one.
“The white van is your security,” responds Roger, the confident one.
“Anything could happen to wreck the van. We ride through dangerous territory,” says Evan, the deeply concerned one.
“Someone should be in charge. We need a director of white van security.”
“Isn’t that the job of the DMV and the police?”
“No. They provide identity and investigation after the fact.”
“Only we are responsible for our own security.”
“And one of us should be in charge of it.”
“That person will need to assess threats on the white van way and communicate them to the driver. These could come from people, from weather, or from misguided ideas.”
“What’s our defense?”
“It’s different for every threat. It doesn’t always mean a physical response.”
“Can’t we get information from the outside? We have phones. What if someone calls us with troubling information about our path?”
“Then we’ll need to decide what to do.”
“Who will decide?”
“The driver.”
“But we all drive.”
“Can we decide in consultation?”
“Or congress?”
“But what if the threat is immediate and we don’t have time to consult?”
“Then Roger should decide.”
“White van security is paramount. It’s more important than our destination or our path.”
“Is it more important than what we eat?”
“Everything is less important.”
“Then let’s pull over into a safe spot with food and establish some expectations for white van security.”
“What if we get trapped in the van going down a lonely road?”
“Society won’t rescue us. We need a plan.”
“There’s an exit with some eating. Let’s get some security food.”
The white van enters the exit and finds a less than obvious parking place within view of The Last Flag, a survivalist restaurant. Lyle locks the doors and they enter

January 18, 2021 4:01 pm

I almost like your username. Almost. Time will tell.

January 18, 2021 5:49 pm

OT a little: Reading about this Kevin Potter Jr. kid that the Cavs are looking to potentially cut for poor character…it seems potential and age may be worth looking into and roll the dice on some maturation? I’m not sure of a downside with the crap show we have seen on the floor at this point.

January 18, 2021 6:42 pm
Reply to  FarmerGuy

I appreciate your confidence that the Kings have the culture in place to keep Kevin Porter in check.

January 18, 2021 7:36 pm

Let me just say how much joy it brings me to hear Jerry say “dickhead”.

January 19, 2021 3:49 pm
Reply to  deez

Highlight of the podcast for me!

January 18, 2021 8:25 pm

Very few coaches in Walton’s position could get fired.

But I believe in Walton; I’m sure he’ll get fired soon, unless something drastically changes.

January 18, 2021 10:17 pm

Getting exclusive unfiltered Jerry Reynolds commentary is an absolute treasure of this site.

January 19, 2021 4:08 pm

I have been watching Buddy particularly closely, as his defense in the Bubble games last season included some of the worst defense I have seen in my nearly 60 years of watching the NBA. But — his defense is a lot better this year, both in effort and in intelligence. However, watch highlights and see how many times people drive right around Bagley in particular and sometimes Fox and Barnes. To my eye, they are overly committed to defending the three and thereby allowing players to easily go around them and get inside.

January 21, 2021 9:51 am

Question for the Legend Jerry Reynolds:

Which would have a bigger positive impact on this franchise moving forward: making the playoffs as an #8 seed or getting a top 3 pick?

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