Game 4 Player Analysis: Grizzlies vs. Kings

I’ve been slow with these player evaluations for each game due to being backed up on a lot of other stuff I’ve been working on. But have no fear, by Tuesday’s game against the Thunder we’ll be all caught up.

Kings got the first win in the Tyreke Evans era with any real help from Tyreke Evans. He “was slowed” by the sore ankle throughout the game and ended up being supplanted by the red hot Beno Udrih. The foursome of Udrih, Martin, Casspi and Hawes made things happen while they were on the court together and ended up putting the Grizzlies away in over time. The Kings STILL haven’t had a game for them in which all components of the team are playing well because it’s either Spencer not playing well, Evans not producing, JT in foul trouble or something else. It would be nice to see what this team can really do with an “on” night.

And with that, here are the player evaluations for the Kings 127-Grizzlies 116 over time victory:

Tyreke Evans: 3 points, 0/4 FG, 3/6 FT, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 turnovers, -16 on court
Blame the ankle if you want (and the Kings certainly did) but I don’t think that was the reason Evans played so poorly against the Grizzlies. The Kings spacing when he was on the court was just horrible. Every time he was going to post up, there were two teammates with their defenders clogging the area. When Evans looked to make a move towards the lane, there was more clogging and less room to operate. Who do you blame for this? Westphal? Evans’ teammates? Evans?

I think you can blame all of them but most of all, Evans should be to blame. If he’s going to eventually be the leader of this team (which a lot of people, including myself, assume) and if he’s going to be the point guard of the future (which is still up in the air) then he needs to be more vocal and direct the players on the floor. He can’t bring the ball up slowly, dribble forever, and the rush the offense because the shot clock is winding down. The Kings were much better and flowed a lot smoother when he was off the court against the Grizzlies. He did get five shots in the lane but only two of them counted in the box score due to being fouled. Defensively, “Reke gave up 8 points on five field goal attempts against him and had one deflection. Overall, I give him an F for this game.

Kevin Martin: 48 points, 14/27 FG, 7/10 3FG, 13/18 FT, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 3 turnovers, +10 on court
Brilliant. He was Eff’ing brilliant in this game. The only thing you can complain about in this game is his free throw shooting. The reason to complain about that is because it kept him out of scoring 50 on the night. He made every single shot you could imagine. He knocked down seven threes on ten attempts in an effortless way that would make Reggie Miller blush. I don’t even know what else you can say about what he did on the court. It was about as perfect of an offensive game as he could have possibly played.

Defensively, he was really good. He switched pretty evenly throughout the game between guarding Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo. His opponents shot 3/10 against him for just seven points. Seven!!! That’s incredible, especially with Mayo being such a great volume scorer. Martin used quickness to stay in front of his man and when he did get beat, he funneled guys perfectly to his helping teammates. He also had two deflections with one of them resulting in a turnover. Overall, I give Martin a A++.

Desmond Mason: 0 points, 7 minutes played, 0 stats across the board, -10 on court
I honestly forgot he played in this game until I re-watched the game. For that, he gets an F.

Jason Thompson: 7 points, 3/8 FG, 1/2 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 6 fouls, +2 on court
You really want to see Jason Thompson on the floor for 40 minutes without getting into foul trouble early. He’s definitely better than his numbers have let on this season. In this game, JT was once again active on the boards and tried to be active on defense. He was just a little too active. Now, two of his six fouls were absolutely abhorrent calls but at the same time, he shouldn’t put himself in those positions to get the fouls called against him. He’s clearly going to struggle against brutes like Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol until he earns the respect of the referees. Because he had to play tentatively, he was scored upon fairly easily in his time on the court, giving up 17 points on 11 shots against him.

Until then, he has to play much smarter. When he’s on the floor, the Kings are better and the numbers show it. Overall, with such little time on the floor due to foul trouble, I’ve got to give him a D.

Sean May: 2 points, 1/5 FG, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 turnover, -11 on court
Moving forward, even though Sean May is no longer the starting center, his greatest asset for getting consistent time on the court is the fact he plays so well offensively with Tyreke Evans. At least once a game, it seems like he runs a pick and pop with Evans and gets a made wide-open jumper. But other than that, he’s having a hard time fitting in with the rest of the guys. He played so poorly in the first few minutes of the game that he was pulled immediately and replaced for pretty much the entire rest of the game. For this, he gets a grade of F.

Spencer Hawes: 21 points, 11/17 FG, 0/3 3FG, 3/4 FT, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, +15 on court
Let me get this out of the way because it’s pretty much the only negative thing I can say about him in this game: he gave up over 20 points in this game defensively. Now, let’s get to the rest of his game. He gave up so many points on defense because he was out there for a long time and playing against a pretty legit frontcourt. But those 24 points came on 23 shots against him. That’s pretty impressive to me. He also was really active on the boards and blocked a Zach Randolph shot in the fourth quarter that ended up being a turnover for Memphis.

Offensively, Hawes played huge inside. He was dipping his shoulder and really bodying up his defenders in the post. He used a great turn into the lane on several occasions and made his nice half-hook shot. He scored five times in the paint and even though he was blocked a few times inside, it was good to see him being aggressive down low. He made 4/5 of his open two-point jumpers and missed all three of his open three-pointers. In fact, I really would like him to put a pause on those three-point attempts. The good news is that he’s taking them in the flow of the offense. The bad news is he’s 0/7 this season from long distance and showed he can be very effective inside. Overall, I give Spencer an A++ and welcome him back to the starting lineup.

Beno Udrih: 16 points, 7/12 FG, 2/3 3FG, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, +27 on court (!!!)
Look at the +/- for this game. +27! Now, this is a tricky statistic because it’s hard to judge if it accurately portrays the impact a player has on the game. But for this game, I’d say it was dead on. Evans wasn’t playing effectively for whatever reason so Westphal went to Beno early and it paid off perfectly. Beno ran the two-man game with Spencer Hawes to perfection and hurt them most of all on the final possession of the game in which he set Conley up perfectly for a backdoor cut. Beno’s best asset in this game was his ability to show patience when creating with the ball. He used this to create space between him and Iverson/Conley for open mid-range jumpers. He made all three of his wide-open jumpers and accounted for 30 points on the night between his points and passing.

Defensively, it was kind of a mixed bag. The Grizzlies guards scored 17 points against him but most of that came in a late third quarter flurry by Allen Iverson. For the most part, he kept Conley in front of him and kept him from quickly getting into the Memphis offense. He gave up a lot of scores on jumpers but only one layup the entire game. Overall, I give him an A++. Who would of thought that was possible after last season?

Andres Nocioni: 13 points, 4/9 FG, 2/5 3FG, 3/4 FT, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, +17 on court
Defensively, Nocioni was pretty good. He only gave up six points on seven shots for the game and did a nice defensive job against Rudy Gay when he was in the game. Offensively, he did what Casspi was asked to do – knock down jumpers. Three of his three-point attempts were open and he made two of them. The big one and most memorable one came in overtime with the Kings leading by six and less than a minute left. Nocioni took a wide-open three in front of the Grizzlies bench with a lot of time left in the shot clock. It was not a shot Westphal wanted him to take. And he gave him some crap for taking it. But everyone had a good laugh about it on the bench because he made it. I like the cutthroat mentality it showed, even if it wasn’t the smartest shot.

Overall, I give him a B+ for the night.

Omri Casspi:
15 points, 6/9 FG, 3/4 3FG, 0/2 FT, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, +22 on court (!!!)
Omri was also completely indispensable in this game. Offensively, he was spectacular. Hell, defensively he was spectacular too. On defense, he gave up 13 points on 16 shots against him and blocked two shots. He also stole the ball twice and had a huge rebound against Zach Randolph late in the game. Offensively, he knocked down open shots, made big three-pointers and ran the floor beautifully. All of his threes were open shots and he made 3/4. He moves so well without the ball that it sort of reminds me of a young Peja. Obviously, he’s not the same shooter that Peja was but he’s also proven to be not as streaky as the scouting reports said he was before the draft. He seems to find the holes in every defensive scheme and as long as he keeps knocking down shots, he’ll keep playing his way into the All-Rookie 1st Team.

Overall, I give him an A for this game. He doesn’t get the plus because he missed both of his free throw attempts. Petty, I know.

Jon Brockman: 2 points, 1/1 FG, 1 rebound, +1 on court
Incomplete for this game because he was on the court for only a few minutes.

Kenny Thomas: 0 points, 0/1 FG, 3 rebounds, 1 block, -2 on court
Kenny seemed to make some positive things happen when he was on the court with his defensive effort and rebounding abilities. He was a strong body to put on Randolph and Gasol (a couple of times). And he played GREAT defense against Randolph on the free throw line jumper to put the Grizzlies up two with six seconds to go. Z-Bo simply hit a tough shot on that play. Overall, I give Kenny a C because he should never attempt jumpers when being guarded. He attempted one in this game.

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