Kings Practice: November 2, 2010.

Tuesday was the first official practice since the season began.  Coach Westphal ran a nice scrimmage, which ended with Hassan Whiteside burying an 18 foot jump shot to the cheers of his teammates.  The team looked loose and ready to take on the world champion Lakers in Wednesday's match-up at ... More

Evolution of a Kings Fan

I am well-aware that this article is much more Noam-y than it is Kings-y. If this bothers  you, I will gladly reveal to you the punchline – I am a former Kings fan who was drawn back into the world of Sacramento basketball by a team so fun it makes you believe in unicorns – and send you on ... More

Season Preview Essays: Donté Greene

More than anything else, Donte Greene makes you think. We're talking about a 6'11" small forward. 6-freaking-11. Same height as both candidates to start for the Kings at center. Taller than the projected starting power forward. Taller than any small forward in the league, sans the occasional ... More

Season Preview Essays: Jason Thompson

34 Jason Thompson of the Sacramento Kings is introduced and high fives teammates as he walks on to the court before the game vs. the Detroit Pistons at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. The Pistons beat the Kings 100-92 Photo via Newscom I can't help but feel sorry for JT. Well, the knowledge that he plays basketball for a living and is set to make 5 million dollars in the next two years before probably signing a new, multi-million dollar contract does kind of help. But it still makes me kind of sad to see a young kid with so much potential, so much skill, who was counted on to do so much, suddenly forced into a supporting role behind – let's face it – brighter prospects. First it was the Landry acquisition. Then it was the Dalembert trade. And finally, the incredible steal that was the Cousins draft pick. And before you know what hit you – BAM! Instead of being your team's second best player (arguable. I'd say that in Kevin Martin’s absence, JT was a clear number two for the first few months of last season, before Beno surpassed him as Jason regressed with the rest of the Kings roster sometime around January), you're but the fourth option in your frontcourt alone. Could this be a problem? Could this hinder Jason's development? Well, I want to say no. But I worry. Because the best case scenario with JT looks so high. The blazing start to last season showed as much. 15 and 10 a night in November? 16 and 9 in December? Call me crazy, but to these eyes, those first few months saw Jason show future all-star potential. A raw future all-star to be sure, but one with a soft mid-range touch, a knack for rebounding the ball, and a gazelle's stride. A very long, talented gazelle. Sometimes. ... More

Season Preview Essays: Beno Udrih

Oct 19, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guards Beno Udrih (19), left, and Tyreke Evans (13) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Kings defeated the Clippers 96-94. Photo via Newscom The good thing about Beno is the confidence he instills in one's heart as far as the Kings' front office. Yes, Geoff Petrie gave him a contract extension worth more (some may say much more) than he justifies. But you know that if your team's roster includes a productive player that the Spurs let go, you're in good hands. And after two years of solid back-up-point-guard-level production, Beno seemed to take the leap, to the point where the Kings can probably be comfortable starting him. He runs the pick-and-roll with expertise and precision, fine at both creating for others and shooting himself while curling off the screener. According to Synergy Sports, Beno scored 0.91 points per play as the ball handler in a pick-and-roll, while shooting a very impressive 48.3%. Going by these stats, Beno ranked as the 37th best pick-and-roll ball handler in the entire league. Beno’s best asset as a player, though, is his lightning quick release. The second Beno gets the tip of his big toe around the pick set by his big man, the ball is already up. This sort of quickness makes his shot very hard to contest, and helps his percentage immensely. This is what makes Beno such a weapon both on the pick-and-roll, and as an off ball shooter, as a spot up guy, and moreso when coming off of screens. Since opponents must respect his shot, this also opens room for penetration, both for scoring and for dishing, with the former often featuring his very strong floater. The downside to this is that his penetration rarely ends at the free throw line – Beno averaged only 1.5 shots from the stripe every game throughout his career, denying him the chance to show off that 82% free throw shooting. ... More

Training Camp Update: Day 20.

Ok, I thought camp was over yesterday and then the Kings made the team available one last time for the media before flying out to Minnesota. The team ran a scrimmage and then Coach Westphal lined up to hit a free throw. If he made it, the team would have to run lines, if he missed, everyone goes ... More

Season Preview Essays: Francisco Garcia

March 16, 2010: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is defended by Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Ben Munn/CSM. You tend to forget just how good Francisco Garcia is. It's nobody's fault, really. Just a series of flukes that somehow pushed Cisco's ability to the back of our mind. The overblown contract. The bizarre medicine ball injury. The less-than-impressive return last season. The miserable failure of the "play him at point guard" experiment, that reminded us mostly of what he can't do and not of what he can. But let’s face it – how many of us can play point guard in the NBA? Or can avoid weight-room appliances exploding and indirectly decimating our wrists? It's not Cisco's fault that he arrived when the franchise was on the verge of a depressing downslide, thus staining his advantages with the stench of a golden era in the rearview mirror. Sure, he has his liabilities, maxing out as a very good role player/locker room presence. But when given the choice between having Francisco Garcia on your team and not having Francisco Garcia on your team – salary factors not included – I don’t see how you could possibly choose the latter. And yet, when you look at this Sacramento rotation and tell yourself that the Kings have no help on the wings, you suddenly blink, cock your head to the right, and say: "wait, a tick… is that El Flaco I see there on the depth chart?”... More

NBA Blog Previews: Southwest Division

Last installment of the blogosphere coagulation of NBA previews. Remember to know thy enemy. Grizzlies:  Straight Outta Vancouver | 3 Shades of Blue | SBN Recap Hornets: At the Hive | Hornets247 | SBN Recap Mavericks: MavsMoneyball | The Two Man Game Rockets: The Dream Shake ... More

Season Preview Essays: DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins of Kentucky University gestures after being selected= There is a very good reason for the now 3-month-long-boogie that has been in Kings fans hearts ever since draft night of 2010. You're damn right I started off with a nickname pun. Because when you're dealing with 295 pounds made of nothing but pure talent, he can make everything – even nickname puns – work. The only problem is how. Because even though he has the ability, the body, the everything he ever needs, if you can't put it together, it could end up as bad as my pun. You’ve probably heard it by now, multiple times. You’ve been reading it non-stop since 2010 mock drafts started to surface. The attitude questions, the motor issues, the supposed lack of conditioning. The abundance of questions that all boil down to the same basic concept. Will he behave? Will he be able to use his massive frame and massive skill for the betterment of mankind, AKA Kings nation? Or does this road end in nothing more than a pat on the back from those burnt by Tyrus Thomas, Michael Beasley, and all other “draft by potential” headcases that never panned out? Will he be pre 2010, hold up the ball, kill your teammates’ will to live, airball iso 3s Zach Randolph? Or will he be 2010, dominant post scorer, rebounder extraordinaire Zach Randolph? All versions of the same question. Of THE question. ... More

Training Camp Update: Day 19.

Boogi and Tyreke.

Boogie and Tyreke.

This is the last official day of camp and I have to be completely honest, I am sad. For the last four weeks, I have put my life on hold to chase the story here at the practice facility. A special thanks goes out to the Kings for the amazing access but also to everyone who watched my children in the middle of the day and made this possible. It has been a wild ride and I have loved every minute of it. ... More