Turns out, this is Kevin Martin’s last game for a couple of months. It’s a shame too because he was playing so well (outside of one mediocre game against the Hornets). I don’t really want to say he was going to be an All-Star because who knows after just five games? If he kept this up and the Kings played better than most expected (most expected them to be as bad as last season) then he would have a good shot. He wouldn’t be a lock. But he would be hard to keep off the team.
But now, none of that matters. What matters is Tyreke Evans stepping up and carrying the load consistently that was on Kevin Martin’s shoulders.
And with that, here are the player evaluations for the Kings loss to the Hawks:
Tyreke Evans: 15 points, 7/21 FG, 0/3 3FG, 1/2 FT, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 turnovers, +4 on court
Evans once again did a nice job of attacking during this game and was just a little too out of control to get things to completely go his way. He couldn’t find his stroke, your stroke or anybody’s stroke on the jump shot, making just 3/8 of his jumpers and 1/5 of his open jumpers. He created 14 scoring attempts inside and scored on five of them (with one of them being from the free throw line). ‘Reke was also blocked four times officially in the paint but I counted five of them (I guess one of them could have been considered a strip of the ball out of bounds). Once again, he’s making things happen, only to a point before shooting himself in the foot.
Defensively, I enjoyed his effort early against Joe Johnson. He used his strength and length to bother JJ and ended up holding him to four points on 2/6 shooting. Overall though, he gave up 19 points on 7/15 shots against him. He failed to close out on threes or fight over screens to take away clean looks from Bibby and Crawford. For the night, I’d give him a C as a final grade. He seems to always be on the cusp of having a great night. In this game, he was better about spacing on offense. It’s an encouragingly frustrating night for the rookie. Just watching the game, you wouldn’t have guessed that he had a positive +/- from his time on the court.
Kevin Martin: 29 points, 11/22 FG, 2/5 3FG, 5/6 FT, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers, -11 on court
Knowing now that Kevin Martin was playing with a broken bone in his wrist, this was an incredible scoring performance and all around game from Martin. Big surprise but Kevin Martin shot the ball very efficiently in a game in which he was questionable to play. He had a True Shooting percentage of 58% which is actually much lower than what we’re used to seeing with him. He freed himself up with savvy “route running” to the open spots on the floor and managed to get off seven uncontested shots (made four of them and was 2/2 on open threes). His job on the boards was incredible considering how long and athletic everybody on the Hawks is, outside of Mike Bibby. Five of his rebounds came in the fourth quarter, in a period in which he was denied and trapped whenever he thought about getting the ball.
Defensively, he didn’t play great but he also wasn’t allowing a ton of points. He gave up 17 points on 13 shots with quite a few of those points coming because his man took him inside and he didn’t receive proper help defense in time. Overall, Kevin Martin gets an A- from me. It’s a shame it’s going to be quite a while until he’s seen on the court again.
Andres Nocioni: 14 points, 5/10 FG, 1/3 3FG, 3/6 FT, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -3 on court
Nocioni got his first start of the season and to be honest, I kind of miss him coming off the bench. I think he is a more stable scorer and difference maker off the bench than what Casspi will give you from night to night. But at the same time, I love putting his toughness, defense, and shooting with Thompson and Hawes in the frontcourt. Noc played pretty well in his first starting role of the season. He only freed himself for one open shot (thanks to a long, athletic Hawks perimeter defense and Mike Bibby) but he knocked down that open shot. Three of his made shots were inside, where the Kings seemed to attack the Hawks best.
Defensively, he was matched up with Marvin Williams for much of the game while he was on the court. Williams scored effectively on him by making four of his five shots against Noc. Those were the only points scored on Nocioni in the game. Andres did a nice job of hitting the boards and running the floor. Overall, Nocioni deserves a C+ for the game. He would have been much more effective moving better without the ball and freeing himself up for open shots. Also, if he slows down Marvin Williams better then the Kings might have been able to capitalize better in the middle of this game.
Jason Thompson: 22 points, 7/15 FG, 8/9 FT, 12 rebounds (8 offensive), 5 assists, 2 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers, -6 on court
This was easily the best game of the season so far for Jason Thompson. He bullied and dominated Josh Smith in this game and did exactly everything you would have wanted him to. He knocked down his first two jumpers of the game and it made Josh Smith antsy on defense. Thompson then set up camp in the low block and used his strength to get some good post moves going against the smaller interior. His work on the offensive boards was also impressive. He constantly kept possessions alive and the Kings in the game. He passed the ball well and even led the break several times for baskets. His aggressiveness got him to the free throw line and put Josh Smith in trouble.
Overall, you have to give Thompson an A for this game. He shut down Josh Smith offensively for much of this game. There were a few times in which Smith leaked out or used his speed on the break to get some easy dunks but for the most part, JT just outplayed him and overpowered him. Great game for JT. It seemed to be one of the only things Coach Westphal was pleased with in the press conference after the game.
Spencer Hawes: 6 points, 3/9 FG, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 turnover, -3 on court
Kind of a rough game for Hawes because he doesn’t match up well against this Hawks frontcourt. He wasn’t able to do much inside and he didn’t make a single jump shot in this game. You can see the big difference in going against a big, slow frontcourt like Memphis and a smaller but really quick and athletic interior presence like Atlanta has. His shot was bothered inside by Horford and Josh Smith. He also wasn’t able to get much going with his passing because the Hawks are long and recover decently in the paint. I was very happy with the fact that Spencer didn’t step back and try to make a three. He still hasn’t hit one this season and I want him to be big inside before he steps outside to confuse the defense.
Defensively, he had a nice game. He did a good job of challenging shots and bothered Marvin Williams and Josh Smith a couple of times as they drove the lane. He also did a good job of stepping out on jump shots. He was fairly quick and active defensively. Overall, I give him a C+ for this game. You’d like him to be able to establish himself in the post more against a short frontcourt.
Beno Udrih: 14 points, 5/11 FG, 2/4 3FG, 2/2 FT, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -4 on court
I’ve really been impressed with the way Beno has embraced the role of backup point guard this year. He’s playing nearly perfect basketball on the offensive end by creating space in the middle of the floor and freeing himself up for easy jumpers. He’s played impeccably with Spencer Hawes and is meshing really well on the court with guys like Andres Nocioni and Omri Casspi. In this game, the Hawks did a nice job of taking away his play-making ability but it resulted in a lot of good shots for Beno.
Defensively, he had a tough time covering Jamal Crawford (as did everybody during that game). Beno was responsible for 12 points on just eight shots against him. But he’s done a much better job of playing the pick-and-roll but I’m having issues with the way the Kings play screens defensively. It seems like they are purposefully going under the screen a lot of the possessions and it’s resulting in hanging the big man out to dry, defensively. If it’s the scheme, then I disagree with the defensive philosophy. If it’s the players’ decision then I think that’s lazy defense.
Overall, I give Beno a B-. Needed him to be more of a play-maker in his time on the court.
Omri Casspi: 5 points, 2/5 FG, 1/2 FT, 1 block, 1 turnover, -6 on court
This was a tough game for Casspi because the athletic Hawks team didn’t allow him to spread the floor and shake free from the defensive assignments. He didn’t end up with a single open jumper and actually had all of his attempts inside. It looked like Westphal wanted to keep him in the fourth quarter because hopefully, his length would bother Joe Johnson. Unfortunately, the Kings had to get desperate and try different looks to slow down JJ; this resulted in Casspi being pulled for Mason after a couple of baskets. Overall, Casspi gave up 13 points in this game on 13 shots. Seven of those points came from Joe Johnson with four of them coming in a key stretch late in the game. I’ll give Casspi a C- for this game because he needed to make himself more of a factor in the fourth on offense.
Sean May: 0 points, +2 on court
Sean May literally didn’t have any stats in his six minutes on the floor. He did give up seven points on 3/4 shooting against him and yet, ended up with a positive +/- while he was on the court. I think Sean should get comfortable on the bench. With the way Spencer and JT have played collectively over the past three games, you can expect them to play between 70 and 80 minutes combined (foul trouble permitting). I’ll give May an incomplete because he didn’t really get involved with anything.
Kenny Thomas: 0 points, 0/2 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -2 on court
Kenny Thomas should be fined any time he tries to do something offensively that doesn’t involve a tip-in or a wide-open dunk created by a teammate. But defensively, I think he’s really be a plus off the bench for the Kings. Against the Hawks, he only came in for about eight minutes but he did a nice job of hitting the boards and played decent defense inside. The Kings need competent bodies inside to spell Hawes and Thompson and K9 definitely did that against Atlanta. I’ll give him a C.
Jon Brockman: 0 points, 0/1 FG, 1 rebound, -5 on court
Brockman was given a single baseline jumper that didn’t end up being all that close to going in. He only played two minutes and finished with an offensive rebound to help pad the numbers for the Kings’ fantastic offensive rebounding so far this year (second in the league for offensive rebounding rate). Brockness gets an incomplete.
Desmond Mason: 0 points, -6 on court
Dez had one final moment on the Kings before being cut. It ended just as you would have expected. He didn’t do anything offensively to help the team and was so disrespected by the Hawks that they put Bibby on him. He gave up one jumper to Joe Johnson and four points overall. It was nice knowing you, Mr. Mason.