Game 39: New Orleans Hornets at Kings

2 bad teams square off at Arco for the 2nd time this season. The Kings won the last game when Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans got hot. Oh and there was this other little dramedy moment of Westphal telling Cousins to go home. Since then, Westphal got canned, Cousins has behaved much more often under Keith Smart, Smart had his option for next season picked up, and the Kings are still losing. Groovy.

Speaking of the loss in Denver, here is what Thornton had to say:

“It’s on me. I can’t do that. I take this loss. I have to be smarter,” Thornton said.

Want to know why I don’t kill Thornton nearly as often as Tyreke Evans. At least Thornton can admit there was a mistake made. ‘Nuff said.

The Kings and Hornets are similarly identical except the Kings are better at a few more things (namely Offensive Rebounding and getting to the line more often–especially at home).

Opposition Required reading

A roundtable from  Hornets 247 discussing  a few things Hornets related.

Gustavo Ayon is missing tonight’s game against Sac.

For all the positive talk surrounding the Kings at the moment, the Hornets faithful down in Lousiana are still waiting for good news. I can’t say I blame them for feeling ambivalent about the whole process either.

New Orleans Times-Picayune writers discuss who will be a Hornet next year or not.

Last but not least and this is rather old, but Rohan of At the Hive discusses anti-Hornets opinion written at Sherdian Hoops. But it’s worth reading if for nothing else to understand why Hornets fans don’t feel New Orleans isn’t as terrible a NBA market as others think. (I’m not convinced, but I won’t crap on Hornets fans. This isn’t their fault necessarily.)


Kings required Reading

Rob McAllister’s writeup of the City Council meeting last night.

There are multiple ticket deals, including a 27 ticket promotion for tonight’s game against the Hornets, and future promotions for Fire and Police to go to the arena during this homestand.

Ailene Voisin talked about the mood inside City Hall last night.

Aaron Bruski of ProBasketballTalk talks about the long journey that this arena journey has taken.

Cousins didn’t send an inappropriate photo according to him. Per Jason Jones of the Bee. (No comment on this. I don’t know, don’t care, and have no interest in this any further until a lot more details come out.)

Onto the basketball stuff….

Chuck Hayes is still playing catch up per Jason Jones.

The Kings have hired Clifford Ray to work with the Kings young big men. Ray has worked with Dwight Howard and Kendrick Perkins among others. Another outstanding piece of information from Cowbell Kingdom’s tag team of Jon Santiago and James Ham.

Kings haven’t suffered much injuries this season.

The Hassan Whiteside dunk in Denver via Bryan at A Royal Pain.

On a personal note, I’ve written some thoughts about the Western Conference at TheProBasketballTalkdotcom recently, and here is my recent article today. I wrote another article yesterday, and the first in the series last Thursday. (I get lazy sometimes as shocking as that may be.)

Stathead Final Thoughts

Not much here, but Isaiah’s Thomas TS% has dropped 2 points during his recent shooting struggles. Marcus Thornton now leads the team (minutes adjusted) in TS% at 53.9%.

Francisco Garcia, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes once had significant gaps between their ORtg and DRtg that is now closing. (Salmons is now at a 95 DRtg after being in the high 80’s at one point.)

The top 5 Kings in 3pt% are Jimmer Fredette (39%), Marcus Thornton (35.8%), Isaiah Thomas (33.9%), Francisco Garcia (32.5%), and John Salmons (30%). 

If you went by statistical production of the entire roster to create a rotation, this is the rotation that I would play:

PG: Isaiah Thomas, John Salmons

SG: Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette

SF: Tyreke Evans, Francisco Garcia

PF: Jason Thompson, JJ Hickson (narrowly ahead of Hassan Whiteside)

C: DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes

Which, of course, is exactly the rotation Smart has been using unless various players are hurt or not available at that particular moment.

3 players have an above overall league avg in ORtg: Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and Isaiah Thomas. As per usual with the mood swings of this team, none of those (who have all had positive differentials in their ORtg to DRtg) now have positive differentials in their ORtg to DRtg at the moment. Thornton sits at 110 ORtg to 111 DRtg, Thompson sits at 109 ORtg to 110 DRtg and Thomas sits at 108 ORtg to 111 DRtg. Only Cousins has a narrow differential, but his ORtg is 101 and his DRtg is at 103.

Final Thoughts

Tonight is a must win game if the Kings want to show real and incremental progress. This whole season I, and others like I, have been talking about the 2nd half of the season. Now is the first night to deliver on that promise of real progress by taking advantage of the 9 game season that may give us the real glimpse on how the Kings may perform long term under Keith Smart.

At some point it’s put up or shutup time for a number of guys starting with Tyreke Evans, and tonight would be as good a time as any to start putting up.

Game is at 7pm and on Comcast California.