The Sacramento Kings have a lot of young and talented players. Do they have young and talented players that know how to play with one another? Not sure about that.
Ask most people what makes a good sandwich, they will tell you meat, cheese and lettuce. The meat fills you up, the lettuce gives the sandwich texture and the cheese brings the flavor together.
But when I look at the Kings, I see a team with too much meat with no cheese and lettuce. Any team with Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, John Salmons and and Marcus Thornton is a threat to compete every night offensively.
So what is the problem?
They have nobody who is going to pass them the ball. This is a team loaded with players who make their money beating their man off the dribble. In the half-court they most of their offense comes on isolations. And things get ugly when you put a bunch of volume shooters on a team and no one to distribute the ball.
When Evans gets the ball at the top of the key, he is thinking iso-left. When Thornton gets the ball, he is thinking iso-right. And we may as well call Cousins “The Black Hole” because when gets the ball on the low-block, it’s not coming back out. The Kings’ point guard Isaiah Thomas played well for them last year, but he merely finished 21st in the NBA in assist ratio.
Combine all of that and you’ll get a team that second worst in assist ratio last season.
This isn’t new territory for the Kings though, four of the last five years they’ve finished in the bottom five in percentage of assisted baskets.
It gets worse, in 2011, the Kings assisted on just 13.3 percent of made field goals. A recent team with a similar mark was the 2007 Atlanta Hawks, a team so comically bad you knew who was shooting the ball every trip down the court, whoever got the ball first.
Unless the NBA implements a new rule saying all teams must play with three basketballs during games, the Kings will most likely finish last in assist, and in the half court they’re likely to rely on isolation offense because nobody is going to pass the ball.
It’s a shame because this is a talented team on paper, but there is no distributor to compliment the skill-set of these scorers.
And I don’t trust the front-office to address any of these issues going forward.