Kings at Denver Nuggets; game 7

Well, let’s see. Another game, another chance at running the offense well, and a very high chance that this team will do it poorly. Like I’ve said in my comment on the last thread about Paul Westphal, this is how I see the situation:

I think Smart is likely to have the job by the end of the week if the team continues to be listless.

Either A), Westphal won’t want the job any longer or B), the Maloofs will overrule Petrie and fire Westphal anyway in the hopes that a small change will produce a different attitude.

My feelings on a coaching change will be that a guy like Cousins may improve in the shortterm, but in the long run the same problems apply. And if the same problems keep cropping up, Keith Smart won’t be any different for Cousins than Westphal is now.

At some point, players need to be accountable regardless of the head coach. I look at it this way: Unless Westphal is doing a ridiculous foundational move by playing a player out of position (like PJ Carleismo with Kevin Durant), it’s very difficult for a head coach to have a real impact in the NBA. It’s still up to the players to execute and give effort. I don’t see this group, right or wrong, doing that right now.

On the other hand, nothing Westphal is doing is telling me that he is a long term hire and that is probably the best reason for letting him go IMO. If Westphal isn’t the answer, perhaps Keith Smart is. Westphal knows that unless he produces a miracle with this team and quickly, he isn’t getting another head coaching job anyway. He’s also probably too old to want to go through with what he is going through anyway. As far as I’m concerned, Westphal at worst is a stopgap coach and at best is the coach who set things in motion so that the team could have paramount improvement. Take that for what’s it worth.

Nobody is convincing me that firing Paul Westphal because DeMarcus Cousins acts like an unmanageable twat is the right thing to do. Firing Westphal because the other guys aren’t buying into his system and it’s clear that the only real move is to make a change? Okay, I’ll buy that. But change for changes sake isn’t really the way to go, and is only a desperation move. The problem is that this team could very well be at the point where a desperation move is the only way to proceed at this juncture.

As far as the Kings and the ORtg/DRtg watch, the ORtg is at 101.5 (20th of 30) and the DRtg is at 109.8 (27th of 30). Pace is 92.1 possessions per game which is good for 14th in the NBA.

The Denver Nuggets have an ORtg of 103.4 (15th of 30) and a DRtg of 96.5 (5th of 30). The Pace is 98.8 (1st of 30).

Other than that, I hope the Kings can play effectively on 2 ends of the court tonight. I would like to see this team improve on the court (although I’m not expecting much honestly) by running an offense and getting back in transition defense so that a team like the Nuggets (that will kill you in transition unlike Memphis) can’t get as many easy baskets. Sometimes the game is simple: Get more easy baskets for yourself and lessen the other team’s and you increase your chance at winning. Yes, here at ECInc you will get nuggets such as that. (Pun intended.)

Required Reading

Nate Timmons has a game preview of the Kings-Nuggets game at Denver Stiffs.

Just because I love Jeff’s writing more than anything, please read his recap of the Nuggets victory over the Bucks at Stiffs.

Kalen at Roundball Mining Company discusses why the Nuggets sent Jordan Hamilton and Julyan Stone to the D-League. You’ll find the reasons are similar to why the Kings sent Honeycutt and Whiteside to Reno. I especially recommend reading the comments as there is a lot of good discussion there about the impact it has on the players and team respectively in these kinds of situations. (Officially, I endorse both Honeycutt and Whiteside in Reno for what it’s worth.)

Nene is listed as day to day and his availability may not be known until game time (6pm Pacific) tonight.

Practices effect every team; Via Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post.

Jason Jones has his recap up. Paul Westphal had an interesting quote:

“It’s tough when neither one of them (Evans or Thornton) can get it going, but we just had a hard time shooting the ball tonight,” Westphal said. “Some nights are going to be like that. I thought we played hard, we didn’t play real sharp at times.”

But this quote from JJ Hickson is even more revealing:

“I think in the second quarter we did a good job of pressuring them and keeping them out the paint,” Hickson said. “I just think in the second half it was tough. They ran the floor a lot harder, they got into their sets quicker and that kind of caught us off guard and you see the end result.”

Translation: Gotta play hard every possession if you expect to win consistently in the NBA. And, even then, you won’t always win the game. On the other hand, if you don’t give it your all every time out, you won’t give yourself a chance to win very often. How have I missed you hokey wisdom no matter how true you are.

In case you don’t read the Bee Blog for the Kings, Matt Kawahara has some links (including a few I included) around the Web that I haven’t linked to.

Final Stathead thoughts of the Day

Regarding Chuck Hayes TS%, before the Memphis game the TS% for Hayes was at 42.2%. After the Memphis game, where Hayes went 3-4 from the field and was 2-2 at the line for 8 points, Hayes TS% now stands at 45.7%. While the TS% was never going to hover around in the low 40’s, this type of performance would have Hayes in the mid 60’s TS% range for the season if he was able to repeat it consistently.

I thought the reason Hayes was so effective in that way was because all he had to do was go up and make a play by scoring the ball as opposed to dribbling or putting a layup with 3 guys around him. A big part of that was the Guard play that gave him the ball in a scoring position.

Now if the Kings could do that with JJ Hickson and Jason Thompson as often, I’ll be thrilled.

Game is at 6pm PST. The game may or may not be received at an outlet that you are capable of receiving from your current location. Even though Mt Mutombo is no longer part of the Denver sporting schematic, Mt Mozgov is and stands, just as Mutombo did, at 5,287 feet. Fortunately everywhere else, Timofey Mozgov is only a 7 footer. Like I said up top, let’s hope for a quality outing eh?