Game 3 Player Analysis: Kings vs. Spurs

Here is the player evaluations for the game against the Spurs.

Before we get into that, there were comments from Tyreke Evans after this game about the team defense not being all it should have been. He had the following comments:

“We just go out there and try to play the game and not talk,” Evans said afterward. “That’s the most important thing. Offense will come for us, but if we don’t talk on defense, (opponents) will get points on us any given night … It seemed like everybody was playing selfish.”

“Once (Parker) gets out of that pick-and-roll, he starts to catch his speed and momentum, and it’s tough to get back when Duncan is setting that screen,” he said. “I just think if we would’ve talked … it would’ve been better.”

Now, while I like the fact that he’s vocal about the defense when he doesn’t seem to be a very vocal guy in general, I’m fairly torn about the comments for some reason. My personal paranoia questions why the comments were made. Could it have been because the defense was actually bad and Evans felt hung out to dry against arguably the quickest guy in the league? Possibly. Could it have been because Evans was torched on defense and was sloughing the blame off to everybody so he didn’t look so bad? It’s highly improbable but still merits questioning until we learn more about him as a player, leader, and personality. Why wouldn’t he come out and say this after they were embarrassed by OKC? Was it because he was uncomfortable saying something like this after just his first game? Or because the focus of the offensive attack didn’t get by HIM? Who knows?

It’s probably nothing and I’m only half-seriously questioning why he made these comments. Deep down, I love the fact that he’s already taking ownership of this team and holding them accountable. But at the same time, we should be prepared for all reasons before we get to know who he actually is. Most likely, I’m just thinking out loud here, trying not to get my hopes up about him, and desperately searching for reasons to not put this guy on the highest pedestal.

Now, onto the player evaluations:

Tyreke Evans: 6 points, 3/9 FG, 0/2 3FG, 0/2 FT, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, -15 on court
Offensively, Tyreke struggled to get much going against the Spurs defense. It took him an entire half to really get going and by the time finally got things done, the Kings were already buried and just trying to keep it respectable. In the third quarter, he really showed his ability to get to the basket and make things happen. On back-to-back possessions he drove the lane, sucked in the overly aggressive nature of Theo Ratliff and dished the ball off to Spencer Hawes for a dunk. Sure, it was Theo Ratliff but it was still an encouraging play for those questioning his point guard abilities. He did a great job of setting his teammates up in this game and he got to the basket for his own shot eight times (fouled on two attempts).

As for defensively, ‘Reke got lit up. He simply couldn’t stay with Tony Parker’s quickness (although nobody else really can, either) and didn’t have much help when the Spurs pick-and-Rick-Roll’d him. Evans was responsible for giving up 10 of Parker’s 24 points and 17 points on 6/7 shooting overall in his 24 minutes on the floor. Against the Hornets, we saw Evans take away the play-making ability of a speedy. pass first point guard but in the loss to the Spurs, he couldn’t take away the scoring of a speedy, score first point. That might be something to watch throughout the season. ‘Reke also had four deflections on defense that led to three turnovers.

Overall, I give him a C-. The defense was a real problem and whether it was his teammates fault for not stepping up or not, he still couldn’t stop Parker from penetrating. The sprained ankle looked bad but he said he’ll play against the Grizzlies. If he can’t use his quickness because of the bad ankle, it’s hard to see how effective he’ll be offensively unless his jump shot magically starts dropping (6/17 on jumpers so far this season).

Kevin Martin: 26 points, 7/13 FG, 2/4 3FG, 10/11 FT, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, -28 on court
Martin was back to his old self against the Spurs by scoring efficiently and getting to the free throw line. While many of his shot attempts looked forced or desperate in the Hornets game every move, fake and release had a purpose against a really good Spurs defense. He saw a lot of different looks with Manu and Roger Mason getting the majority of the time giving up points to Martin. The most comforting thing to see from him was that he made his open jumpers (which wasn’t happening). He made two of his four open jumpers with two out of three coming on open threes. It raised his season stats to 5/15 on open jumpers and 3/9 on open threes. I’m assuming this will continue to rise. Perhaps, the most impressive score of the night was the reverse layup to avoid being blocked by the bat on a fast break. He kept his composure despite having rabies flying at his head. That’s concentration.

On defense, Kevin was rarely tested with shot attempts. He did a really good job of defending Manu and not letting Mason or Finley find open spots on the floor. He had a deflection that led to a turnover and only six shot attempts come against him. He’s shown a real ability to stay with his man in the first three games, although he hasn’t been tested that much with having to guard Thabo Sefolosha, Morris Peterson, and old man Finley. He’s really only made defensive mistakes when he lunges (and misses) for steals in the backcourt. Other than that, solid performances all around for Kevin in this game.

I give him an A for performance. He had a very nice complete game in a tough losing effort. Without his play, this would have been a really embarrassing blowout for the Kings.

Desmond Mason: 7 points, 2/3 FG, 3/4 FT, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, -16 on court
Mason had a very typical Desmond Mason game that we should come to expect this season. I like to see the five rebounds, not a lot of shots taken, getting to the free throw line a couple of times per game, and solid defense. He had two deflections (one for a turnover) but left Richard Jefferson alone on the perimeter far too many times. In this game, he seemed to want to help with Duncan inside or flash towards the pick-and-roll situations but he really needed to stick to Jefferson. I’ll give him a B- for his limited run out there. And I wouldn’t mind one or two of these every game:

Jason Thompson: 6 points, 2/5 FG, 2/2 FT, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 5 fouls, +2 on court
More foul trouble for Jason Thompson and a lot of it seems completely unnecessary. He was one of the few Kings with a positive +/- for the game and considering he was on the court for 29 minutes, that seems fairly significant in a game they lost by 19. Offensively, he really moved the ball well and ended up with four assists. I like the fact that he only took one jump shot in this game and tried to get everything else inside (six shot attempts with being fouled on two of them). But defensively, he keeps picking up these ticky-tack fouls early in the game and then haves to play tentative defense the rest of his time on the court. Next game against Memphis, I’d like to see him stick it out on the court for 30+ minutes and not have to go to the bench early. Other than that, I thought his defensive effort overall with him playing big and challenging shots. I have to give him a C- for the stupid foul trouble.

Sean May: 4 points, 2/4 FG, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, -2 on court
May repeatedly failed to step up to help defend the pick-and-rolls from the weak side and he gave up 14 points in just 16 minutes. This was a terrible effort for him. There isn’t much left to say about his performance. He wasn’t on the court much and when he was, he played badly. I do like him taking that jumper off of pick-and-pops (stays?). He’s made five of his eight jump shots so far this season and it looks to be a nice weapon in his arsenal. Overall, I give him an F for this game.

Spencer Hawes: 22 points, 8/15 FG, 0/1 3FG, 6/7 FT, 10 rebounds, 5 turnovers, 5 fouls, -7 on court
THIS is the Spencer Hawes I’ve been waiting to see. Even though it was in a blowout, which takes the majority of the pressure off of how well he plays, he responded perfectly and played a fantastic game. 11 of his 15 shot attempts came in the paint and almost half of those came on post moves. He benefited from having the far-from-spry Theo Ratliff on him for much of his scoring binge (after Popovich took the starters out) but he still went out there and played an aggressive game in the paint. He rarely settled for jumpers (although he keeps taking those threes!) and even got to the free throw line seven times, which was a career high. If you can have him playing this way offensively, it will open up his jump shot and his ability to drive the ball.

Defensively, I loved his effort as well. He was aggressive on the glass, played with his arms straight up most of the night and even challenged some shots. He gave up only 10 points in 28 minutes on the floor and four of those points can be attributed to free throws coming from his fouls. Overall, I give Spencer an A- for this game. You could do without the five turnovers and the five fouls were a bit too much but other than that, he showed good heart and his best effort in three games. Consistent performances like this will EARN him the starting job.

Andres Nocioni: 2 points, 1/7 FG, 0/4 3FG, 0/1 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 1 turnover, -20 on court
He simply couldn’t get the shots to fall. I’ll say this for him – he tried to make something happen by firing up threes to get this team back within striking distance. And he took a lot of shots within the flow of the offense. He just simply couldn’t get them to fall. Defensively, I liked the way he challenged shots. He blocked one of them and bothered a couple more. Overall, I give him a D with an A for effort (in terms of firing up desperation shots because the Kings really needed a spark in the second quarter).

Omri Casspi: 7 points, 3/8 FG, 1/3 3FG, 0/2 FT, 2 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 2 turnovers, -6 on court
Casspi didn’t do much out of the norm for offensive effort or production. I want to talk about his defense. I loved the fact that Westphal brought him in and put him on Tony Parker. Having a small forward with his size and length that can stay with a guy like Tony Parker will prove to be a huge asset in this league. Parker ended up only attempting two shots against Omri and made one of them. With this kind of versatility, you can be assured Omri will be the main wing player off the court and Donté Greene probably won’t see much time from here on out. Omri comes in ready to play and doesn’t really have any mental lapses. I’ll give him a B overall, thanks mainly to his defensive adaptability.

Jon Brockman: 2 points, 1/2 FG, 0/2 FT, 3 rebounds (2 offensive), -10 on court
Brockman gets a D+ for this performance because he wasn’t able to come in and really rebound against the bigger, beefier front line of big men the Spurs wheeled out there. He also missed two more free throws, which puts him at 1/7 on the season. It’s okay for him to be an afterthought on offense but teams are going to hack him when he gets the ball because they’ll know he can’t step up and make his free throws. You love the work on the boards and the effort he brings but the free throw shooting has to improve.

Beno Udrih: 6 points, 2/4 FG, 1/1 3FG, 1/2 FT, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 2 turnovers, -3 on court
I am completely convinced that Beno should be the full-time backup point guard over Sergio after this game. The offense and the ball movement just flows a lot better when he’s on the court. He also seems more reliable to take and knock down shots when needed. Defensively, he played a solid enough game. There wasn’t much help around any of the Kings perimeter defenders and Beno was one of the few guys that didn’t leave his man wide open. He had two deflections that led to turnovers. The only problem he really had was trying to defend George Hill and keep him out of the paint. But that’s a problem that just about every other point guard in the league is going to have soon enough. I give him a B for this game.

Sergio Rodriguez: 6 points, 2/3 FG, 2/2 3FG, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 turnover, +4 on court
Sergio was only out there for 11 minutes but did manage to knock down a couple of triples. I’ll give him a B for this game but it came with a limited number of minutes in a game that was decided long before he came onto the court.

Donté Greene: 0 points, 0/1 FG, 1 steal, 1 block, +2 on court
Donté gets an incomplete for this game as well because he didn’t get enough time to really show anything. I wonder if it’s time to start thinking D-League with him. With the way the wings are playing off the bench, he probably won’t get much playing time and really needs to be on the court to develop.


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