Looking around the internet, there hasn’t been much buzz this morning concerning one of the seven biggest pre-season NBA games from Tuesday night. You would normally think that a “let’s get the blood pumping with a light job before you start that double marathon” type of game would be able to galvanize pontifications of what it all means to the big picture of the NBA but in this case, you’d be wrong.
I did find some writings on the Kings 12-point loss and have decided to throw in some comments afterwards.
“Evans played all but 20 seconds of a first quarter, after which the Kings trailed 24-23. After showing the predictably potent parts of his game – two free throws after a drive and a putback layup in traffic – he flashed the not-so-expected dimension midway through the first quarter when he buried a pull-up 20-footer on the right wing coming off a screen.
Westphal began tinkering with how to use him early on, bringing Beno Udrih in with Evans and Martin for a look that – by night’s end – would have the Blazers guarding Evans with four different players.”
“JASON THOMPSON has gone without mention, but how about a cheer for him? He didn’t foul out in 25 minutes (which, given the leaguewide whistle-happy nature of the replacement refs is impressive), he scored 12 points on 12 shooting possessions, 7 rebounds, only 1 turnover, 2 assists, a block … hurray for JT. Nice work, I think. (You see, I couldn’t see the game, so I have no idea how good his work actually was.)”
“Overall, it was a sloppy game where the pace was controlled by the officials constant calls. Portland looked less than sharp, but still look ten times better than the Kings. Before I get into individual stuff, I’ve got to make it clear how bad the Kings are. Sean May started, fouled out in 14 minutes, and was replaced by Kenny Thomas. Yes, that’s the same Kenny Thomas that was over the hill in 2005.”
And now some random, knee-jerk thoughts to the Kings first game of the pre-season, which fewer than 20,000 people got to see:
- Kings out-rebounding the Blazers team is impressive, whether it’s pre-season or not. The Blazers seem to be a bunch of vaccuums out there, cleaning up whatever mess on the boards that the crums from opposing missed jumpers leaves behind. So the fact that a team like Sacramento made such a concerted effort on the boards and dominated 44-34 is something positive the guys in purple should be walking away with.
- Now, if they can do it again tonight then I’ll be floored with their performance in the first two exhibition games.
- Even on the radio, you can experience how active Jon Brockman is. G-Man seemed to be mentioning his name more than anybody’s when he was on the floor.
- I’ve been quietly preaching (if that makes sense) that Tyreke Evans is the Kings best player. Whenever someone asks me how good he is, I always say he’s the best player on the roster. That isn’t supposed to be a knock towards Kevin Martin or Kenny Thomas by any means. I just feel like he’s a game-changer and a franchise-changer. It won’t translate to 45 wins and a first round playoff berth this season. But Kings fans will want to take a step back this season at some point and realize how special this guy is.
- I’ve hesitated writing anything on Spencer Hawes this off-season because I’m trying to give him time to develop before I judge him (which is like telling Kirstie Alley to go five minutes without devouring the cheesecake covered in BBQ sauce that sits in front of her face). I remember watching Greg Oden dominate him last pre-season and wanted to see how Hawes would come back this October. Well, after the first game I still am waiting for him to respond. I’m not a big Hawes guy. In fact, I think the Kings would be better off seeing what they can get for him (maximum value, of course) because I don’t like it when teams build around “soft” centers.
Now maybe, he comes out tonight and throws up a nice 15-point, 8-rebound effort in which he’s knocking down perimeter shots and mixing it up inside. You can’t really judge a 21-yr old center after a pre-season contest. And when you read a glowing piece on Hawes like Tom Ziller wrote on Fanhouse, it’s easy to get sucked into his potential. But I need to see some more fire and pride from him, even in meaningless games. I hope he responds tonight with a nice showing for the home crowd.