Joerger is still trying to figure out his starting lineup
People like to do things that will make them successful. If you do something and it doesn’t work then you adjust and try to make it better, and then rinse and repeat.
For the Sacramento Kings, they’re trying to figure out what the best lineup is to start the game. You don’t have to start five offensive juggernauts but you need to find a balance that makes it easier for everyone involved to thrive. With a new head coach in Dave Joerger, his job is to figure this out.
In total, the Kings have had eleven different starting lineups since the year began and eleven different players have started a game this year.
What does that mean? Is that a lot? Well, if you compare that to a team like the Warriors you see that the Warriors started nine different players this year but only five of them have started more than three games.
In other words, the Warriors have their starters locked up and every now and then somebody misses a start because of an illness or a family emergency or something like that.
For the Kings, not only have they started eleven different people, but eight different players have started at least twelve games this year. They’re still trying to figure out what works for them.
Now, are the Kings the same as the Warriors? God no, but that’s not the point. Do you know the best season the Kings have had since 2006? In 2008, they went 38-44. So, as long as the team goes .500 and wins 41 games fans will lose their minds with happiness.
We’re 39 games into the season and the only two starters that started in game one that still start now are Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. That makes sense since they’re clearly the two most talented players on the team. Who else do you go with and why?
In ten of the first 13 games, the Kings started Ty Lawson, Arron Afflalo, Gay, Cousins and Kosta Koufos. It made sense considering they signed Afflalo in the offseason and Lawson was the only viable point guard on the roster at that time due to the eight- game suspension Darren Collison had received. They went 4-9 in those 13 games and Joerger decided to try something different.
Since then, they’ve swapped Afflalo for Ben McLemore, and then swapped McLemore for Garrett Temple. They went to Matt Barnes when Gay got hurt and they made Collison the starter at point guard for the rest of the season.
The results were mixed but since Collison was added as the full-time starter the team has gone 12-14. While that doesn’t sound great it’s better than the team has been in years. Add in the fact that he’s the third highest scorer on the team and averages the most assists on the team, it looks like the right decision was made to make him the starter.
Even better, since Dec. 12, 2016, the Kings are 8-8 beating Memphis, Portland and Utah (playoff teams). In that time frame, Cousins averaged more assists, had a better shooting percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage while only being slightly worse in points and rebounds.
In that time frame, Collison started all 12 games, Cousins started 15 games, Koufos started 12 games, McLemore started 11 games and Barnes started eight games. Add in some Tolliver starts, and the team has seen some progress.
Oddly enough, the only player who has a winning record as a starter is McLemore. The team was 8-6 when he started, but he averaged the least amount of minutes from guards in those 14 games (17.4 minutes) and didn’t even average six points per game.
I threw a lot of numbers at you but what does it all mean? Well, it looks like Collison is a good starter for the team. He’s not Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook, but he’s done a good job for them so far and the team is competitive.
Cousins is doing All-Star level things and Garrett Temple has been one of the most unsung players on the team both offensively and defensively.
Maybe the team trades 80 percent of these players by next year, but right now the duo of Collison and Cousins seems to be doing a good job so far and with an eight game road trip coming up, they need to know who to trust going forward, and it looks like maybe they’re starting to figure it out.
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