The Scouting Report: Sacramento Kings
In an attempt to help you get to know the Blazers opponent each night, we are going to post a little bit of a scouting report of each team on the blog before each game. Friday’s opponent are the Sacramento Kings. Tip-off will be at 7 P.M at the Moda Center and it will be shown locally on CSNNW. It will also be shown nationally on NBATV and can be heard on radio on 620 AM.
Projected starting line-up: Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons, Patrick Patterson, DeMarcus Cousins
New faces: Vasquez, first round pick Ben McLemore, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Hamady N’Diaye, Head Coach Mike Malone, General Manager Pete D’Alessandro, Owner Vivek Ranadive
Injuries: Carl Landry out 3-4 months with hip surgery
After two years of dealing with the threat of their team migrating to the northwest, the city of Sacramento finally can rest easy with a new ownership group that has kept the Kings in Sacramento.
Vivek Ranadive has come in and the culture has changed in Sacramento. They brought in an innovative offensive coach in Mike Malone from Golden State, they brought in Pete D’Alessandro as general manager and also negotiated a max-extension for big man DeMarcus Cousins. They also brought in Shaquille O’Neal as a minority owner.
It’s a new day after the end of the Maloofs reign was dominated by bad teams and the uncertainty of whether their team would be there tomorrow.
From a basketball side, Malone has changed things offensively by having an offense that involves more movement, spacing and less one-on-one play.
“It’s a lot more fluid. The offense is moving a lot better, a lot more guys getting shots up. It looks even over there,” said Blazers forward Thomas Robinson who was drafted with and played with the Kings last season.
“I think they move the ball more,” said Terry Stotts. “Nuts and bolts are different. I wouldn’t say they are running the same sets but the mentality that they have is more ball movement and less 1-on-1.”
Last year, the Kings would either shot themselves into games or shoot themselves out through one-on-one isolations or Cousins making plays in the post.
One thing that they’ve committed to early on in the season is using Patrick Patterson.
Patterson is a good rebounder but also presents a threat with a decent three-point shot, although he hasn’t shot well so far this season, 18 percent so far from deep this season. He shot well against Portland in their preseason match-up.
So far, the Kings starting line-up hasn’t played very well getting outscored by 29 points over four games. That unit has shot under 40 percent from the field and they’ve shot a 26 percent from three.
What has helped the 15th ranked Kings offense do well has been the play of their bench, specifically Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore. Thomas is the team’s leading scorer off the bench scoring 20.8 points per game and McLemore is averaging 10 off the bench.
DeMarcus Cousins presents a monster game waiting to happen every night and while he’s been frustrating at times by not getting back on defense or pouting at times, the Blazers are preparing for one of the most talented players in the league. Cousins is averaging 18.3 points and 9 rebounds per game on 46 percent shooting.