Kings Linkage and Spencer Hawes – January 7, 2010

Just wanted to pass on a couple of Kings related pieces that you should read while you’re killing time before tomorrow’s game in Oakland.

Shaun Powell has a nice piece on NBA.com about two young teams (OKC and the Kings) and how the patience with the youth movement is yielding good results.

– Alex Kramers from Blogcritic is a Kings fan who resides in New York. Check out his account of his first game at Arco. Great read.

– Mr. Aykis has tried to figure out if Spencer Hawes has regressed in his third season or not. Look at the data and his great analysis here on Sactown Royalty.

I wanted to comment about this Spencer Hawes regression issue. I’ve never been in the Spencer Hawes camp. I thought it was a mistake to draft him. I thought at the time the Kings should go after Thaddeus Young or Al Thornton (boy was I wrong about Al Thornton!). But I was always willing to give him a chance.

And reading the optimism of Kings fans in the StR comment threads while seeing him display a definite set of valuable skills, I tried to give him more of a chance than I usually would. Normally, I’d write him off because guys like him frustrate me. When he sets his mind to it, he can do great things on a basketball court. He dropped 30 points against a tough Lakers’ frontcourt just a couple games ago. He dished out nine assists in a game last year against 76ers (the only 20-year old center in the last 20+ years to ever do so).

However, I can’t help but see his glaring flaws and inconsistencies when I watch him play. Just four days before that nine-assist game, he played 25 minutes against the Bobcats and didn’t grab a single rebound – not even by accident. That’s been done 23 times by a starting center in the last 23 seasons and not a list of guys you want your young center being on. When Spencer Hawes goes inside and plays big, he seems to get this certain confidence, which opens up his entire offensive game. The passing becomes crisper. The defense becomes more inspired. His jumper gets a little wetter.

But there are far too many instances in which he doesn’t seem to be willing to impose his will. I can deal with bad games. I just can’t stand a seemingly lack of effort. Whether that’s a fair assessment or not of how he plays is up for debate. But there are a lot of Kings fans that grow tired of the events that lead to this debate. You can see he has more physically. You just hope with age and more experience his mentality catches up to the physical skills.

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