Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kings defend as team, play offense as individuals

Four games into the 2012-13 NBA season, we can at least say, the Kings are defending with unity, intent and focus. It has been years – perhaps back to the 2002-03 team led by Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Doug Christie, Bobby Jackson, Jimmy Jackson, Keon Clark and Scot Pollard – since we could look at Kings team and say they gave a freak about truly defending as a team. However, head coach Keith Smart made defending the main priority for his squad. With the help of assistant coaches Alex English, Clifford Ray, Bobby Jackson and Jim Eyen, the Kings have begun to defend as a team. That is the only way for an NBA team to have defensive success. Rarely does an individual slow a top scorer. NBA scorers are too good for that to happen on a nightly basis. It’s always easy to pick out weaknesses. However, the Kings, at this early juncture, have shown the desire and dedication to limit penetration, the disease of all defenses... The Kings have challenged a higher percentage of field-goal attempts. Their increased athleticism has led to the NBA’s lowest percentage of made three-pointers by their opponents. Sacramento’s .defensive field-goal percentage against is second in the league. Before you say it’s just four games into the season, consider their percentage could be second to worst. Only Indiana has scored more than 93 points and its 106 came during a double-overtime victory. The Kings are playing hard and that’s nothing at which to sneeze. Now, all teams have strengths and weaknesses and struggles (see: Lakers and the Thunder. The Kings offense is ugly. Sacramento has yet to score 100 points. Sacramento often has little ball movement, patience or creativity. Certainly, the ability to make shots would make things look better. But Sacramento’s poor shot selection leads to poor shooting. Smart said the team has not yet worked consistently on its offense. Well, it would be even worse had this product been the effects of offensive focus. Ultimately, teams, particularly those without a star to lead them, usually need to have five or six players scoring at a consistently high level. The Kings are no exception if they want nightly success.


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