NBA Pick ATS December 17: Sacramento Kings at Charlotte Bobcats
The Pick: Kings 100-92
Both teams have lost seven of their last ten, but optimism is much more prevalent in Sacramento than in Charlotte. The Kings’ new big three of Isaiah Thomas, DeMarcus Cousins, and Rudy Gay is averaging 67 points on 51.1 percent shooting from the field in their two games together. Obviously that’s a small sample size, but it should be enough to beat the offensive inept Bobcats.
Charlotte ranks 29th in offensive efficiency, and while I wouldn’t use the word “efficient” to describe the Kings they can put the ball in the basket. The Bobcats make scoring more difficult than it needs to be as they rank 25th in free throw percentage and 28th in steals, trends that make it nearly impossible to get easy points. But maybe they have an effective half-court offense and therefore don’t need to get easy looks, right? Not so much. They rank dead last in field goal percentage, three-pointers made, and three-point percentage. Sure, the Bobcats have the third best scoring defense in the league, but there isn’t a level of defense that can be played to offset their inability to score.
Derrick Williams has been a solid contributor since joining the team (12.8 points on 49 percent shooting) and is a nice fourth option. They are averaging 107.6 points over the last ten days, and even if they fall 10 points short of that number they should be in a great position to win tonight. The Kings have lost when the opponent has an efficient scoring perimeter player (Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Goran Dragic have had huge days this month), but can the Bobcats do that? Kemba Walker, the team’s leading scorer and second most efficient player in terms of PER, ranks behind Gay in shooting percentage (reminder: Gay was dealt in part because of his ineffective style of play), ranking him 125th in the league. That’s right, there are 124 players (or roughly 4.1 players per team) shooting a higher percentage from the field. Not exactly a player I am comfortable betting on.
Fun Fact: The Bobcats have scored at least 100 points only three times this season. The Kings have lost four games this month in which they scored at least 100 points.