Thinking about Andrei Kirilenko….a bit more

Yesterday I thought an Andrei Kirilenko acquisition was overkill. Today I think that too, but there are other things out there to consider that I hadn’t as of then considered.

Numero Uno: Andrei Kirilenko plays the 3 and plays the 4. My general impressions are that Francisco Garcia is the backup SF and will play some backup SG as needed. But in a 66 game season on an exceptionally truncated timetable as this season will be, Garcia will likely be the backup SG instead as the backup SF. It’s not like Garcia will be any more or less valuable at one or the other; it’s just that if you sign Kirilenko he’s not a SG.

I’ll make this point in a very simple way: A short season with lots of games and little days off means depth; You gotta have it. Without depth, injuries will kill you. You can’t recover. In a normal season I’d stand by the overkill remark. I think it would be overkill. But in a normal season, you have more days off. There’s only one time during the regular season (not including the All-Star break) where the Kings even have TWO days off in a row.

Numero dos: What kind of contract do you offer Kirilenko? I’m not convinced Andrei Kirilenko is better than John Salmons today. You aren’t convincing me with 82games numbers, Adjusted +/- or anything else. Salmons and Kirilenko are different type of offensive players sure (I know: Salmons is a ball pounder and you hate that; got it), however the real impact for each player with the Kings will be on the defensive end. Both do it a bit differently, but the end game is both are effective at each end. (How much better than one another? It’ll depend on how you feel about Salmons when it comes right down to it.)

 

The last point I won’t insult you by saying Number One or Two in Spanish: Does Kirilenko add veteran leadership to this team? That’s a given we won’t know that until Kirilenko is on the team. We don’t know how Hayes or Salmons, already on the team, will have an impact. We can guess, we can postulate based on previous history, as we are doing with Kirilenko now, but we don’t really know. The mix of players may determine how effective all these guys, young or old, will perform. I said this about Chuck Hayes yesterday: It’s not just what role Hayes, or Kirilenko, plays in replacing a now departed player; it’s also mostly about how it works within the overall schematic of a team concept. I’m not disputing how important individual players are in the NBA, but unless Tyreke Evans gets badly hurt or DeMarcus Cousins takes the crazy train into Ozzy Osbourne’s soul, nobody the Kings were going to acquire was better than the aforementioned two players. This off-season has been about finding players who can work with Evans and Cousins in the short term and hopefully longer.

Can Kirilenko work? Sure he can. But I’ll be on record here stating that I think anything longer than 2 years is a real mistake for a couple of reasons. One, the Kings are trying to make the playoffs (and stacking depth is one key to winning games this season besides the other obvious stuff), and two you’re trying to find out what kind of future with what you have at the SF position. Is Tyler Honeycutt that guy? Or will it be unnamed future draft guy? That’s one of the questions that is long term for the SF position (if you want to call it that–I agree with PW about positions in Voisin’s column today) no matter how anyone slices it. Since that question won’t be answered by next May, and since flexibility seems to be such an important part of the Kings planning these days, I don’t see how you break the bank for Kirilenko because you need more veterans.

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Since I feel like linking a few things hopefully you’ve read, here goes……

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee on Tyreke Evans. The John Salmons quote was what got my attention more than anything:

Forward John Salmons didn’t alter his summer routine. But as the lockout continued into November, the routine became mundane.

“That last month got kind of monotonous, doing the same thing every day,” Salmons said. “So the last month was really tough. Besides that, I just tried to come in the best shape I could.”

Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee on DeMarcus Cousins. My favorite quote is the mentioned position quote by Paul Westphal:

“We’re changing it,” coach Paul Westphal said, citing the addition of ballhandlers and passers.

“It’s going to be a system that gets us away from the one (point guard), two (shooting guard), three (small forward) stereotypes.”  

DeMarcus Cousins, via Kingsflix, talking about his summer. (Normally I’d embed this, but YouTube has banned me from frontpaging stuff. I suspect it’s the years of linking to music. Whoops?) Bryan at A Royal Pain discussed why it isn’t a bad thing that the Kings let Sam Dalembert walk. This point I’d like to highlight:

No, the Kings didn’t make the big name, name in lights splash many of us had hoped for – but that doesn’t mean some blue collar signings wont be just as effective, if not more when all is said and done.

James Ham of Cowbell Kingdomhas an excellent post about the 1st day of Training Camp.

Kudos to James for scoring the NBA.com job of covering the games in Sacramento. (He mentions in a subsequent tweet that his work at Cowbell Kingdom will continue.) Well done sir. One note I’d like to highlight:

The depth of this Kings team is incredible, and they might not be done adding players. The second unit of Jimmer, Garcia, Greene, Hickson and Thompson was impressive. The Kings used Greene a lot to bring the ball up and initiate the offense with Jimmer and Garcia flanking him on the wings. Thompson and Hickson are both aggressive hustle players which compliment the skill of the perimeter players.

I think that’s it. Have a nice day.