Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

Kurt —  April 1, 2007

The up and down Jordan Farmar. Jordan Farmar is set to make history today — the Lakers are going to assign him to the D-League so he can play with the D-Fenders at 2:30, then after the game call him back up to the main team and he will suit up for the Lakers. If he gets into the game tonight he will be the first player to play in a D-League and NBA game on the same day.

The thinking, by the way, is that he needs minutes to get his rhythm back and he wasn’t going to get those with the Lakers, so why not with the D-Fenders? For one day, it makes some sense. But I will say I expect that after a summer of working on his shot and strength, plus from watching and learning this season, I think Farmar is going to take a step forward next season.

Smush in the D-League. Roland Lazenby reminds us of something today that we guys who follow him closely need to remember — Smush Parker is a great story. I get frustrated with how he breaks out of the triangle, but how many guys from the NYC playgrounds could run it as well as he does? And how many players fight through playing in a smallish college and playing in Europe to be an NBA starter?

And, Roland and Tex Winter note, Phil Jackson loves the kid.

“He’s a tough little kid and a hell of a competitor,” Winter said. “I admire him for that. I’m still not totally sold on the job he’s doing. He has all that tremendous speed and quickness. But he gambles too much on defense and gets beat on the screen and roll (sounds like Tex describing Bryant’s recent defensive efforts).

“Still, it’s absolutely amazing what he’s done, considering where he came from,” Winter said. “He’s spent two years here as a starter. And I don’t think that’ll change.”

Why? Because Parker has enjoyed the support and admiration of the only person who matters—Phil Jackson.

“He certainly has,” Winter replied when I asked about Jackson’s backing. “I think Smush appreciates it. I think Phil has gotten more out of him than most coaches ever could. Smush knows Phil has a great deal of confidence in him.”

The up and down Kings. I recently asked Sactown Royalty’s Tom about the team’s problems and one of them was inconsistency. Sound familiar.

Among the downs recently has been up-and-coming star Kevin Martin, Early in the year he looked like an All-Star, of late he has looked pedestrian, at best.

After a blistering start that saw his statistics hover around 50% makes from the field and 40% from beyond the arc, Kevin’s statistics have dropped, whether due to fatigue, increased attention from the opposition, or greedy ball-handling from teammates (I won’t name names). Compared with the first month of the season, in March, Kevin is scoring 5 points fewer a game, his field goal percentage is down a full 12 percentage points, to 40%, and his 3 point field goal percentage has been cut nearly in half, from 47% in November, to 27% in March.

The bad news for the Lakers. Balancing out Martin’s down is Mike Bibby, who is hot. And traditionally a Laker killer. Again I quote Tom:

His March has been fantastic. With the exception of Sunday’s eruption, it’s flown completely under the radar. He’s shooting .438 percent this month – not great shakes, but much better than his dreary November .361 mark. From three (which is where he takes 40% of his shots), he’s hitting .456 in March. That’s incredible.

The Musselman Mistake. When Sacramento hired Musselman last year, I thought it a good hire, a guy who got Golden State to overachieve his first time around and was primed for success this time. But I was wrong – he lost the team and it two weeks he’ll have lost his job. And it all is because he got arrested before Ron Artest did. Let me go to the words of Sactown Royalty (since it appears Tom wrote most of this preview, he can have my pay for this post).

He hasn’t gotten a fair shake, but it comes down on his head. Not a single Sacramentan will fault management for sending this guy out on a railcar. And it all stems from that DUI. There’s no reason to believe Muss can capture the hearts and minds of upstanding citizens Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia and Mike Bibby and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Ronnie Price after that magnificent mistake. So why keep him around?

I think it’s very obvious that the Maloofs will can him at the end of the year.


Things to look for tonight:
The Lakers to play great defense…. April Fools.

Kurt

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22 responses to Preview & Chat: The Sacramento Kings

  1. They seem to have decided to at least attempt to play some D against Houston, but the offense needs to even out and stop being a constant Kobe heat check.

  2. “A constant Kobe heat-check” — that’s a terrific way of saying what he’s been doing. i had been looking for ways to describe the past 2 weeks and that did it perfectly.

    The Lakers can eek out D when they are playing a contender. Let’s you know that it comes down to laziness when they give up so many easy baskets to the lottery teams. Hard to root for when you see mindful up and down efforts on the defensive end.

  3. Kobe needs to start driving in more.

  4. I understan that there is a new NBA “playground” Sunday promotion. The second quarter will be replaced by two (2) one on one halfcourt duels. Each player’s total will add to his team’s score.

    For this first experiment, the two starting guards will be featured. Kobe Bryant will take on Ron Artest, and Smush Parker will take on Mike Bibby.

    It is not clear whether playground rules also apply. The Laker contingent is favored.

    The game will revert to team basketball in the second half.

  5. Just out of curiosity could some one please recount the details of jerry west leaving the lakers?

  6. 3- Ask Phil Jackson, he seems to be, at the least, part of the reason the logo left, you know how it goes, ego’s, power-plays,blah blah blah.

  7. The Lakers are tall and all but man are the kings weak inside

  8. 6 players in double figures..Bibby with only 8 points…61.7% fg! I didn’t get to see the game but this looked like some Laker domination that we haven’t seen in a while..

  9. I didnt get to see the game. Where was LO tonight? Was he injured?

  10. Bibby only 8 pts? I missed the game also, and I’m praying that Bibby’s off night was a result of defense…

  11. Offense was the best since early in the season. Great team basketball. Kobe was Mr. distributer. EVERYONE who played did something right. The “bench” scored about half of the points. Lamar had foul trouble that kept him out most of the first half. In the second half, Lamar hit some threes.

    The defense was at best OK.

    Still, a feel good semi blowout hasn’t happened for a long time.

    We’ll take it.

  12. (9) Foul trouble. 4 fouls in 10 min in the first half. and got his fifth pretty quickly in the 3rd.

  13. chris henderson April 1, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    lamar had an interesting night with the officials. they seemed to be picking on him tonight, the 4th foul the most obvious mistake. anyway, they pretty much kept him in foul trouble the whole night.
    maurice evens had a career night to make up for it.
    tonight felt like the bench we had at the start of the season.
    the bench play was the difference tonight.

  14. DrRayEye hit it on the nose, this looked like the Lakers from December — the defense was average but that was more than good enough with the offense clicking and great interior passing. Lamar had to sit and other guys stepped up, great bench play. Just good not to have to sweat an ending.

  15. chris henderson April 2, 2007 at 9:01 am

    I think the turning point in this game was when Sacto cut the lead from 15 to 4, and it looked like things were going to slip away…again.
    but then some nice D along with a fluid O, and they got the lead back up, and never looked back again.
    like to see some more of that down the stretch.
    Basketball is a game of streaks, and we have to be able to know when to turn it up, match the intensity when the opponents are making a run, or trying to put the screws in for some stops, and a big part of that recognition needs to come from the coaching staff.
    know how PJ works, maybe he plays the regular season trying to get the players to recognize that and notch it up as a group on the floor, and down the stretch, having had this experience, they are better off for it, plus, the staff contributes to the recognition of stopping these streaks as we get into the playoffs.

  16. I think the second half defense was much better than what we have seen recently… guys were really active and moving their feet/ fighting for position. That led to steals/ turnovers which makes an offense flow easier. The first half defensively was nothing special, but it seemed they turned it up after half time.

  17. As much as I enjoyed seeing Kobe and Odom sitting on the bench for the win, all I needed to advance in the playoffs on my fantasy team was 11 points and 8 rebounds, and they were my last two players!

  18. Just to own up to it, by the way, that may have been the worst predictive preview I have written all season. Calling Bibby hot and Martin cold turned out to be a little off.

  19. Ian, that would be a great question to post over Roland Lazenby’s blog. He goes into detail about West and Phil and their relationship or lack thereof. I believe Buss became enamored with the idea of Jackson and fell even more in love with Jackson once he became coach, setting up West’s departure. I believe West’s reaction in “The Show” when he was asked by a staffer about Phil becoming coach was, “F*** Phil Jackson”.

  20. @18 – You cursed Bibby! Now, your favorite team must trade for him this summer.

  21. Great win by the Lakes last night. Glad to see they are actually playing with some effor these days. That Houston game might be a stepping stone for them. Phil Jackson teams have typically closed their seasons on a roll. Let’s see if this years Lakers can do the same thing.

    On another note, you guys might be interested in checking out this post:

    http://www.aolsportsblog.com/2007/03/30/why-is-kobe-bryant-the-most-polarizing-figure-in-all-of-sports/

  22. interesting to see Shammond did not play tonight..