Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Was that a little swagger I saw?

With just under a minute left in Wednesday night's ridiculous 100-98 victory over Memphis, DeMarcus Cousins decided to gather his teammates together for a little huddle.

It was a small gesture in the scheme of things, but it struck me as a turning point.

Here was the NBA's rookie bad boy, explosively unhinged, a player benched because of immaturity - yet he was gathering his teammates to offer something the team so obviously lacks.

A dose of swagger.

Now Cousins is all about swagger. Usually misguided swagger. A selfish swagger. But this was different. This was Cousins feeling the swagger and wanting it to be a part of something bigger.

It's strange. Just from watching, you knew. From that moment, the Kings would win the game.

The players on the bench were energized. The crowd was electric. And suddenly there was confidence.

Even O.J. Mayo's impossible basket with 2 seconds left wasn't going to change the outcome.

What does it all mean?

Who the hell knows.

Tyreke Evans' 50-foot prayer with 1/10th of a second to play could be just the medicine to heal the deep, dark wounds this team has suffered.

And maybe not.

Maybe it was just a blip.

Maybe it all means nothing.

But I'm not sure. Swagger is the ultimate commodity in basketball. Once you get it, you learn to love it. And then you learn to love winning.

For one night, the players tasted the rare sweetness of a righteous win.

Let's see where it goes.

Where have I heard this before?

From ESPN's Chad Ford when asked in a chat: What's wrong with the Kings? So much talent with so little results? Coaching?

"Not as much talent as you think. No chemistry. Way overrated front office. Evans and Cousins are good individual players, not great team players. Rest of the supporting cast has a few solid players like Landry, Casspi ... but not much else to be excited about. I know lots of people love Geoff Petrie, but I don't get what they're so excited about. Team has been terrible for a while. You're supposed to get great players with very high draft picks. Rest of his moves are pretty questionable. Since the roster has already essentially been blown up ... might be time for changes at the top."

Geoff Petrie has been exposed and the league knows it. I've always kind of wondered why Geoff Petrie wasn't pursued by other teams if his reputation was so good. Wouldn't another team throw wads of cash at him if he was a genius? But there's been not a whisper of interest in Petrie over the past 10 years.

No surprise. He ain't a genius.

Here's an even more damning fact: David Kahn, who has garned a reputation as a complete buffoon as general manager of the Timberwolves, is making Petrie look like a hack this year.

Kahn gambled on Miami's Michael Beasley and it paid off big. He chose Wes Johnson over DeMarcus Cousins in the draft and that's looking like a brilliant move. He's got Ricky Rubio coming in next year. And he's always actively looking to make moves.

Petrie is barely a blip on the trade radar.

Read my post from a week back

I'll be over here patting myself on the back.

By the way, I'm officially throwing my hat into the ring for the general manager job. I have no doubt I can do what Petrie is doing. I'm very good at standing around and looking cerebral, giving non-answers to questions, and basically just surfing the net in my office instead of actually trying to do my job.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Joe Maloof's secret text messages: What it would take to fire Paul Westphal

Last night, Joe Maloof sent a text message to Jason Jones of the Bee proclaiming that "No" he was not going to fire Paul Westphal.

What hasn't been revealed were a number of text messages sent by Joe Maloof to his brother Gavin laying down the guidelines for what WOULD cause the firing of the coach.

The text messages were secretly leaked to Kings Talking Points and we are revealing them here today:

--If Paul tries to high-five me in the practice facility bathroom one more time, he's out.

--If Paul keeps ignoring my pleas to massage Tyreke's aching feet during timeouts, he is canned. Period.

--Paul is gone if he can't figure out that calling DeMarcus a "Sulky Suzy" in pre-game warmups is not helpful to the delightful young man's mental well being.

--I think Westy is done if I could convince Bill Walton to coach the team. He was at the house the other night and I love his enthusiasm, but his teeth are kinda annoying.

--If Paul loses another 20 more in a row, there's a pretty good chance we can get off easy by telling the press that he is voluntarily stepping down because of chronic heartburn. That way we don't look like we fired anybody and maybe Westy gets a deal with Zantac.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sam Dalembert for J.J. Redick anyone? And my dream scenario for the Kings

The Orlando Magic are reportedly desperate for another big to compete with the beasts from the East.

They are even pondering the thought of moving sharp-shooting guard J.J. Redick. That's because they recently acquired Jason Richardson from the Suns, making Redick a luxury.

Can you think of a team that might have an extra big man and might also desperately need a shooter?



Well how about this one:

The Kings trade center Sam Dalembert for Redick.

Redick is young, talented, smart and a great shooter.

Does it work?

I'm really not sure. The Magic acquired a $6 million trade exception in a recent deal that sent Marcin Gortat to the Suns. If you add that to Redick's salary of $7.5 million, it matches Dalembert's salary and you've got yourself a deal. Now I'm no cap guru, so maybe the numbers don't work, but wouldn't you make the call if you were Geoff Petrie. Orlando is certainly in the dealing mode right now.

This, of course, would be a huge leap of faith for the Magic. Dalembert's contract is expiring, but he would give them a nice influx of size and shot-blocking.

How about making it a blockbuster. Throw in Carl Landry. Get a point guard. Maybe get another team involved. Have some fun. Make a little news.

For the Kings, it just makes too much sense, which is why is won't even be attempted.

By the way, here's my dream scenario: Some way, the Kings pry Aaron Brooks out of Houston -- perhaps for Carl Landry and a few other pieces.

Then, we move Tyreke to small forward, which is probably his natural position, anyway.

Your new starting lineup:

PG Aaron Brooks
SG J.J. Redick
SF Tyreke Evans
PF Jason Thompson
C DeMarcus Cousins

Now that's a team you can build on...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DeMarcus Cousins is fined, but it's not a first-time incident for the Kings

DeMarcus Cousins was fined and benched for delivering the "choke" sign during the final moments of Tuesday night's humiliating loss to the Warriors.

But this is far from the first time for a incident like this for the Kings.

In an effort to promote fairness, we've gone over the film for the past few weeks to look for other players who were caught doing odd things on the sidelines.

--At four minutes into the second quarter of the Mavericks game, Donte Greene was seen quietly motioning to Dirk Nowitzki for an autograph. Nowitzki said something nasty in German and ignored him. Greene smiled, applauded, waved a towel, and cheered the response.

--With 30 seconds left in a recent loss to the Heat, Tyreke Evans waited for Kings coach Paul Westphal to turn his back, then he placed his finger down his throat, bent over, and feigned vomiting. When Westphal quickly spun around, Evans quickly grabbed for his ankle and grimaced in pain.

--While sitting on the bench during a blowout loss to the Rockets, Carl Landy was seen hiding under a towel, talking on his cell phone and mouthing the words, "You're my agent, get me the hell out of here."

--During a dry spell in the fourth quarter of a game against the Hornets, Beno Udrih was seen secretly using a Sharpie to write "Pass this, Tyreke" on the game ball. Later, during an important possession, Evans took the ball and held it for a full 20 seconds as he attempted to read the slightly smudged writing. The 24-second clock sounded just at Evans crashed into a defender for an offensive foul.

--Finally, even Westphal hasn't been immune. He was seen flashing the bird to his entire team during a timeout in overtime during the Warriors game.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How can Westphal survive this one?

There's no way Paul Westphal can continue as coach after Tuesday night's devastating loss.

I feel bad for the guy. He is, by all accounts, a decent man. But enough is enough. He has aged 20 years over the past three months. He looks like the poster boy for irritable bowel syndrome.

It's time to put him out of our misery.

Look, it's not Westphal's fault that his two studs - Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins - combined for a pathetic 7-for-31 for 22 points in Tuesday's horrifying OT loss to the Warriors.

But Evans and Cousins have become the Kings of the Forced Shot.

And that falls right on the shoulders of the coach.

It's his job to drum it in their ears.

Pass the ball. Make the offense move. Execute. And don't think you have to be the hero every game, especially when you are shooting like crap.

Westphal needs to be in their faces and making it clear. Maybe he is, but if so, the message isn't being absorbed.

Now all eyes turn to the Maloof brothers. How much humiliation are they willing to take? How many fans are they willing to lose?

Step up and make some moves.

The future of the team may be riding on it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another meltdown. Ho-hum

Somebody coach DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans about what to do with the ball in the final five minutes of the game.


Oh, that's right. We would need a coach to do that.

By the way, I'm sure nobody's counting but since starting the season 3-1, the Kings have rolled to a 2-19 record.

And here's one last fun fact.

The Kings are averaging 13,457 fans for their home games this year. Only the Nets, who are averaging 13,387, are doing worse.

You can bet the Maloofs are entertaining some might fine offers from other cities right this moment.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Geoff Petrie deserves a lot of the blame for the awful mess of a team

Okay, fans, this is the easiest quiz you'll have to take.

Which person in the Kings organization seems to go year-to-year and never absorb a hint of criticism, yet he hasn't presided over a winning team since 2005-06?

Which person has chosen loser coaches with the names Musselman, Theus and Westphal?

Which person has gained the rep as a draft genius but, during 2005-2007 when the Kings desperately needed to keep the momentum of the fading glory days alive, drafted the likes of Francisco Garcia, Quincy Douby and Spencer Hawes?

Which person hasn't made a team-changing trade since acquiring Brad Miller a decade ago?

What person has repeatedly given mid-level exceptions to hugely overrated stiffs like Mikki Moore? Yes, Mikki Moore.

Which person has been given a free pass from the fans for his cerebral approach, gentlemanly demeanor and subdued personality?

Which person has continually built teams with gaping holes and easy-to-spot weaknesses? Rebounding. Defense. Athleticism. The Kings haven't had any of those attributes in years and they still don't.

You know the guy, Kings fans.

And it's time he took the brunt of the blame for this gory mess of team.

Geoff Petrie, step right up and take a bow.

Because you've been awful.

That's right. Awful.

Look, there's no doubt the guy has financial constraints, but that's too easy an excuse for his dreary collection of innocuous moves over the past six seasons.

Petrie no longer collects winning pieces for a franchise anymore.

He simply collects a paycheck.

And that's not good enough.

Not for the Kings.

And not for the fans.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Westphal is in the dark and that's all you need to know

During Paul Westphal's press conference after Tuesday night's loss to the Rockets, a reporter asked him about the newly acquired shooting guard Jermaine Taylor.

Westphal shot the reporter a dirty look and asked, "Why are you asking me that question?"

When the reporter explained, Westphal said, "I've just been coaching the game, I don't about any trades."

Really? Really?

Geoff Petrie can't even bother to pick up a phone and tell his coach about a new player coming aboard? No brief consultation? How about slipping him a note at halftime?

The exchange made Westphal look like an out-of-the-loop rube.

Was this an honest oversight? Or was it an ominous sign that Petrie just has no regard for Westphal and the way he's coaching and doesn't care to include his coach in personnel decisions.

When I asked Kings beat writer Jason Jones about it in a tweet, he tweeted back that Westphal just couldn't say anything yet because the trade wasn't official.

If that was true, that's what he should have said, But it sure didn't look like that on camera.

Stay tuned.

It's gonna get really interesting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tyreke Evans injury report: Day-to-day chance that nobody knows what the hell is going on

Latest Kings injury report:

Tyreke Evans, plantar fasciitis, day-to-day: Unless, of course, his brother Doc decides to hold him out, or, on the other hand, if Paul Westphal asks politely for him to sit out and gets an answer in the affirmative.

In a super-secret email circulating through the bowels of the team's super-secret war room and high-tea recreation room, team officials are allegedly baffled.

A Kings doctor was allegedly quoted as saying, "Hey, I only went to medical school, do you expect me to make a sound decision based on my education and prior knowledge? Tyreke's brother is named Doc. I trust him."

Owner Gavin Maloof allegedly said he doesn't understand all the hubbub over this fasciitis stuff. "We intend to rip of 10 or 20 straight wins and we need Tyreke on the court to make it happen. He can sit when we clinch a playoff berth."

General manager Geoff Petrie says the injury is minor. "It's not the pain," Petrie allegedly said. "He just plain sucks this year."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A stench rises in Arco

There was a smell wafting through Arco Arena on Saturday night.

And I'm not talking about the exotic smell of spiced meat coming from Royal Shawarma on the concourse.

No, I'm talking about the smell of fear.

And the Miami Heat could sense it, laughing their way to an easy victory.

The Kings simply backed down.

Once LeBron James and Dwyane Wade took over, there was no fight. No hard fouls. Nothing but the smell of fear.

Only Omri Casspi played with heart. The rest of team put their collective tails between their legs and shuffled off into the foggy night with another disheartening loss.

They say a team reflects the personality of its coach. You wonder if Paul Westphal is a sulking, low-energy loser. Because that's what the Kings have become.

Fear wasn't the only smell.

More and more, DeMarcus Cousins carries the odor of a selfish, immature tool. When he was in the game, he fired up ill-advised shots and slump-shouldered his way through every possession. When he got benched, he could barely bring himself to his feet to join the huddle.

Cousins may have tremendous potential, but he's more ticking time bomb than future all-star at this point.

Look, beating a team like the Heat is a tall order, but it's not losing, it's the way you lose.

And unless something is done fast, fans are going to need to bring deodorizers to future games.

And now, just for fun, here are highlights from Saturday's game:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kings have a pulse

The Kings lost a two-point heartbreaker to the Mavericks, but we liked:

Pooh Jeter, who gave us a glimpse of how the ball might move if we had a real, honest-to-goodness, point guard.

DeMarcus Cousins, who was one or two baskets down the stretch from getting back into the talk about the NBA's top rookies.

Paul Westphal, who finally seemed to know what he was doing for most of game.

The fourth quarter, because it was the first one in four weeks worth watching.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Grant Napear sucks up to the Maloofs again -- and it ain't pretty

KHTK broadcaster Grant Napear spent Wednesday's radio show blowing unicorn dust up the asses of Joe and Gavin Maloof.

Nothing new there, but this was truly pathetic.

Challenged by frustrated fans about the team's cost-cutting and inability to secure high-priced talent, Napear could have finally broken free from the company line and ripped the team's ownership.

Instead, he told his listeners that they should be patient because the Maloofs are waiting to see the new collective bargaining agreement before they begin to spend money.

This is a crock.

Look, if the Maloofs want to nickel and dime and put an inferior product on the floor, it's their business. But don't expect the fans to be patient.

And don't expect them to buy tickets, no matter how many promotional deals they might offer.

Right now, there is no way I expect this team to be here next year.

A deal for a new arena is stone-cold dead. Arco is a morgue. The coach is lost. And the team lacks talent, energy and any charisma.

Why would any business owner keep the team in town?

But Mr. Napear is fine with this. Deal with it, he tells fans. Wait to make your decision until after the new CBA is signed.

One caller asked Grant to name a team that has pinched pennies more than the Kings. Lots of them, he intoned. And then named the Utah Jazz.

Oh yeah, the Jazz. The team with the 7th highest payroll in the league. The team that had no problem trading for Al Jefferson, a player who is owed $13 million, $14 million and $15 million over the next three seasons.

Sounds like a perfect analogy to me.

Look, if the Maloofs want to fill seats and generate enthusiasm for a new arena, they have to SPEND MONEY NOW. That's the only way you sell product. Not by cheesy seat deals. Sure, spending money now hurts the bottom line, but it builds good will, gets fans back in the seats, and turns around the momentum.

Unless, of course, you are not interested in any of those things.

Which looks very much the case right now.

Mr. Napear needs to stop bowing to the Maloofs. He needs to stop bailing the buckets of water out of their sinking ship and start laying down the truth.

I'm not holding my breath.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

WikiLeaks reveals Top Secret Behind-the-Scenes memos from the Kings organization (including latest memo on DeMarcus)

Lost among the thousands and thousands of confidential State Department memos released by WikiLeaks on Sunday was a slew of memos from the upper echelon of the Sacramento Kings organization.

They are revealing and sometimes embarrassing, but we are doling them out as a public service.

Nov 1, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Paul Westphal
From: Geoff Petrie

Hi Paul. Just wondering when you might be inclined to install an offense. I was peaking in at practice the other day and saw a lot of the fellas standing around and snacking. Any chance you could brief me on the progress.

Nov. 2, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Geoff Petrie
From: Paul Westphal

Thanks for spying on us, Mr. Busy Body. That was our offense. It's complicated, though. We do a lot of decoy stuff and many of the players say they enjoy watching my main man Tyreke just do his thing. You don't want me to start messing with our Rookie of the Year, do you?

Nov. 10, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Grant Napear
From: Gavin and Joe Maloof

Grant, we want to make sure you have the game plan for the new season. DeMarcus Cousins needs to be positioned as the team stud. Forget about the his immaturity, lack of jumping ability, and complete indifference on defense. Go nuts every time he touches the ball. Every time. Do you understand? Feel free to mix in plenty of that catchphrase of yours, "If you don't like DeMarcus Cousins, you're an inbred hillbilly" -- or whatever it is. We don't listen to you that much.

Nov. 16, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Gavin and Joe Maloof
From: Geoff Petrie

Hi boys. Just wanted to update you on our coach. I'm not so sure we made the right call on this guy. He seems to lack a little bit in the teaching department. And the strategy department. And the game-management department. And the ability to relate-to-his-players department. I was wondering if we could possibly eat his salary and hire a real coach.

Nov. 17, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Geoff Petrie
From: Joe and Gavin Maloof

That was a joke, right? We can barely afford the insurance payments on our matching lime green Lamborghinis. I suggest you suck it up and give the guy some coaching of your own. P.S. When did you become such a whiner?

Nov. 23, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Geoff Petrie
From: Paul Westphal

Hi Geoff. I was wondering if it's too late to add to those giant banners of DeMarcus and Tyreke on the side of the arena. Some of the players are asking why they aren't pictured. I agree. Luther Head and Pooh Jeter have scheduled photo sessions with the team photographer. I think it will exemplify our new team philosophy. By the way, I've come up with slogans for each of them: "Get Head" and "Smells Like Pooh." Whaddya think?

Nov. 24, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Joe and Gavin Maloof
From: Geoff Petrie

Hi guys. I think our coach has gone off the deep end. We really need to do something. I don't usually like to use this description, but we suck.

Nov. 26, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Geoff Petrie
From: Joe and Gavin Maloof

Hey Geoff, stop complaining about the coach. You haven't exactly made a trade that made either of our pants damp in a decade. All you do is stand in in the corner during the games and act all cerebral and stuff. You ain't so smart. I mean, Antoine Wright? Really?

Nov. 29, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Geoff Petrie, Gavin & Joe Maloof
From: Paul Westphal

Um, I don't want to sound scared, but I'm sending this memo from a cubicle in the locker room bathroom. I think that DeMarcus fellow is a little mad at me. He seems like he might have some anger issues and I was wondering if maybe we could get him some counseling. Wait, someone is pounding on the door. Oh, no... gotta go...

Nov. 29, 2010
Inter-office Memo
To: Gavin Maloof
From: Joe Maloof

We are so screwed.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Get Mr. Tyreke Evans a coach. Stat.

It's officially time for someone to start coaching Tyreke Evans.

Amazingly, he is hurting this team far more than helping it. And it all stems from last year's ridiculous chase for 20-5-5.

Paul Westphal has coddled this guy from Day One, telling him he's the next NBA superstar and handing him the keys to the team without giving him Driver's Ed.

Now Evans, hampered by injured ankles, still thinks his main job is to save the rest of the team by pumping up bad shots, driving to the lane recklessly, and alienating teammates by refusing to give up the ball.

Opponents have figured out his game, but Evans has not been schooled on how to adjust his.

Saturday night's second-half meltdown to the Bulls wasn't all on his shoulders, but his ill-advised shots in the fourth quarter are emblematic of his lack of progress.

This falls on Westphal's shoulders. It is his job to instruct and teach.

It's too bad, the Kings looked energized and focused in the first half. But there is no excuse for what happened in the second half. I repeat, no excuse.

You don't let a team on the tail-end of a two-week road trip outhustle and outrun you in the final quarter at home. Period.

The Kings now have the worst home record in the NBA and easy part of their schedule is over.

This is going to get uglier folks.

Strap in for turbulence.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Do the Kings really have the building blocks for the future? Not really.

Everyone is always yakking about how the Kings are building a great base of players for the future.

But are they?

Do the Kings really have a core of potential-laden players ready to contend in two or three years?

My opinion is no. A resounding no.

And here's the reason: If you compare the core players on the Kings with the other bottom-half teams in the Western Conference, the results are not good.

Here's a look at the bottom dwellers and the verdict on which team I'd rather have in two years.

First, the Kings core:

Tyreke Evans
DeMarcus Cousins
Carl Landry
Donte Greene
Jason Thompson
Omri Casspi

Now let's compare those to other teams currently in the bottom 7 of the West:

Memphis Grizzlies
Rudy Gay
Marc Gasol
Zach Randolph
Mike Conley

Kings or Grizzlie: Grizzlies get the edge mainly because of Gay. He is smooth as silk and a clutch perfomer. Conley is coming on. Gasol is vastly underrated.

Golden State Warriors
Monta Ellis
Stephen Curry
David Lee

Kings or Warriors: Edge to Warriors on sheer firepower. Warriors will always be able to score. For the forseeable future, the Kings can't. And some believe Curry will end up being the better pro than Evans.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Love
Michael Beasley
Darko Milicic

Kings or Wolves: Kings get the edge solely because I can't take Darko seriously, but Love has been putting up sick numbers and Beasley is showing signs of being the off-season steal of the year. The Wolves can easily overtake the Kings if Ricky Rubio ever shows up.

Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin
Chris Kaman
Eric Gordon
Baron Davis

Kings or Clippers: Sorry folks, I'd take the Clippers because of two words: Blake Griffin. The guy is a superstar in the making. Kaman is a nice part and Gordon can fill it up. If they could ever get Baron Davis to take the game seriously again, they could contend for a playoff spot.

Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash
Robin Lopez
Channing Frye
Hedo Turkoglu

Kings or Suns: I'll take the Kings because Steve Nash can't possibly maintain his production numbers for the next three years. Without him, the Suns would be the bottom of the barrel.

Houston Rockets
Kevin Martin
Luis Scola
Shane Battier
Yao Ming
Aaron Brooks

Kings or Rockets: Yao will probably never be the same, but the Rockets are still a more complete team and figure to get better with all the high draft picks they've compiled for the next couple of seasons.

Conclusion: As currently constructed, the Kings don't figure to be an impact team in the West in two years. The other young teams have just as much and, in most cases, more potential.

This doesn't even take into account the upper-echelon teams in the West, which are not exactly light on having young, potential talent.

What can the Kings do? Well, they can get really lucky with a lottery pick, sign a high-priced free agent or Geoff Petrie can pull of a blockbuster trade. Fortunes can change fairly fast in the NBA. But anyone who thinks the current Kings team is a future title contender or even a sturdy playoff team is vastly overrating the team's talent and potential.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Time to put the bags on your heads, Kings fans -- this season is going down the tubes

That was thrilling.

Uh, no.

Remember when the Kings used to own their home court even when they didn't have much talent? Remember when you really enjoyed rooting for this team?

Yeah, neither do I. Seems like a hundred years ago. The team is now guilty of the most sinful of all sports sins. They are not only lousy. They are boring.

Unfortunately, the fans are starting to catch on.

Chloe, our 8-year-old correspondent for Kings Talking Points, caught up with an anonymous fan for a revealing interview.

Leave a comment to show your support for the bag.


Friday, November 19, 2010

A win is a win, but color me unimpresssed

Excuse me if I don't celebrate.

A slim win at home over a lousy Nets team is no reason to get excited.

It did, however, leave me with a number of questions:

1. How on earth does Omri Casspi not even see the floor after starting almost every game this season? You are simply alienating players with this type of ridiculous rotation tinkering. Now Casspi hasn't exactly been a force this year, but he deserves more than a DNP. Westphal did the same thing with Donte Greene, basically burying him in the desert for weeks before we saw him again.

2. Why don't the Kings push the ball more? This team has zero tempo to its game and the shots come with a struggle in the half-court offense. It just doesn't make sense for the Kings to slow it down.

3. Why does Tyreke Evans still have free reign when he is bumbling on the court? It is frustrating to watch this guy when he is forcing the ball and turning the ball over. More than ever, he is proving that he is not a point guard.

4. Why am I so bored with this team? They just lack charisma. And they don't play as a team. Maybe they will come together as the season progresses, but right now, they are just not very interesting to watch.

Now some good points:

1. DeMarcus Cousins has some nice vision on the court. You can see him becoming one of the top passing centers in the league.

2. Donte Greene had a couple of good moments, especially on a steal and splash in the fourth quarter.

3. The defense looked steady at times, cutting down on the silly fouls.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blockbuster Kings trade: Chris Bosh to the Kings. Would you do it?

Another game. Another blow to the enthusiasm of Kings fans.

Wednesday's loss to the Knicks was, once again, inexcusable.

You can't lose at home to a bad team playing the second of a back-to-back. Not when your slogan is "Here We Rise."

But there were some bright spots:

DeMarcus Cousins played with more intensity than we've seen all season.

Donte Greene was released from solitary confinement and actually looked capable of playing basketball.

And here's the best news: I just got off the phone with Geoff Petrie and he loves my new trade idea.

In fact, he says I should be the new Kings GM.

Then I woke up.

Seriously, here's a blockbuster deal that could shake up the league, get the juices flowing again, and perhaps change the direction of the entire Kings franchise.

Strangely enough, it's actually plausible. Improbable, perhaps. But very plausible.

So hold onto your jerseys, Kings fans, here's the game-changing trade:

SAMUEL DALEMBERT & CARL LANDRY & a No. 1 draft pick in 2012.

to the Miami Heat for


Yup, I told you it was a stunner.

So why does anyone make this trade?

Well, for the Kings, it's a matter of jump-starting the team's entire karma. Let's face it: Whatever's happening here is not working.

Dalembert and Landry are both solid veterans. But they are not the team's future. Neither figures to be around when the Kings are really set to contend.

Bosh instantly gives the Kings an impressive frontcourt scorer who has averaged 20 points and close to 10 rebounds for his career.

In addition, he is still very young (26).

On the contrarian side, Bosh has been called soft at times. I'm willing to overlook that since a certain Chris Webber used to suffer the same criticism and he seemed to do all right.

With Bosh onboard, Cousins moves back into the starting lineup at center. And he instantly becomes a much happier man.

For Miami, the reasons are less clear now but not entirely impossible to understand. The team has not fared well on defense and their lack of size is starting to make some people wonder about just how far they can go.

With Dalembert, the team instantly gets a large and extremely valuable inside defender and shot blocker. And he certainly won't be asked to score.

As for Landry, he gives them another honest NBA talent on a team that is very thin in that area. In many ways, Landry could fill the role he did with the Rockets. A solid-scoring, energy player off the bench.

But why would the Heat deal Bosh so soon after the arrival of "The Big Three?"

Well, it would certainly be an admission that their original strategy was faulty, but the results thus far prove that things aren't exactly going as planned.

Bosh's reputation is taking a beating and there are many who believe he didn't realize how tough it would be to become the third wheel. Reports say he looks uncomfortable and his scoring and rebounding averages are way down.

The trade also gets them out from Bosh's big-money deal and gives them some financial flexibility.

One caveat to this trade: It can't be finalized until after Dec. 15 due to contract considerations. However, it does work within the salary cap limitations.

Will this trade happen? Only if the Heat continue to struggle and panic a bit. And only if Geoff Petrie gets the go-ahead to get very creative with the team's money.

And probably only if I'm GM.

So I'm throwing my hat into the right now. Send your cards and letters to the Maloofs.

Ron Wenig for Kings GM.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Sensational Official Report on the DeMarcus Cousins Incident

The Official Report of the DeMarcus Cousins incident was slipped to me at a Starbucks on Madison Avenue. The facts are both startling and revealing, but I had to take a solemn oath that I would only vacation at the Palms in exchange for releasing the details. Despite my qualms, I agreed.

Herein lie the details:

Date: Oct. 12, 2010
Time: Early morning
Place: Kings practice facility.

DETAILS: Mr. DeMarcus Cousins, a large man of some girth, was engaging in the practice of multiple curls under the tutelage of Mr. Daniel Shapiro, team strength coach and producer of the award-winning video: "Sweatin' With The Oldie Kings - Smokin' and Pumpin' Steel With Vlade."

At the time of the incident, Mr. Cousins was looking in the mirror and practicing his various snarls. Mr. Cousins admitted to an eyewitness that he is much more attractive when he snarls, but he is also known to scare teammates. Mr. Donte Greene, who once played basketball for the Kings, went into a three-week eating bender after Mr. Cousins tossed him "a very naughty look."

Mr. Shapiro claims that he asked Mr. Cousins to use a lower weight and do more reps. Mr. Cousins allegedly replied that he already had a good rep and didn't need multiple ones. "I think he was just joking," said Mr. Jason Thompson, who also used to play for the Kings.

At this exact time, Mr. Paul Westphal entered the facility and announced that he was ready to install a new offense. According to all witnesses, nobody heard Mr. Westphal. "We haven't listend to that dude in a year," Mr. Tyreke Evans noted. Mr. Westphal reportedly bowed his head and left muttering to himself.

At that point, Mr. Cousins started strutting around the room proclaiming that he was "buff enough" and needed no further work. Mr. Shapiro grew angry and told Mr. Cousins he needed to get back to work. Just then, according to onlookers, Mr. Darnell Jackson, a man that nobody knew was even on the team, picked up a barbell and started doing squats at an increasingly rapid pace. "That's what I'm talking about," Mr. Shapiro allegedly shouted to Mr. Cousins.

Mr. Cousins then took off his sweaty headband and proceeded to gag Mr. Shapiro. A shouting match ensued, followed by polite dancing and, finally, a healthy handshake.

RESULT: Mr. Cousins was fined an undisclosed amount and forced to watch five consecutive episodes of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" starring Adrienne Maloof.

No further details were made available.

There it is. Draw your own conclusions, folks.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dysfunctional Kings have me pushing the panic button

Some disturbing news from ESPN's Marc Stein:

Word is that handling rookie forward DeMarcus Cousins is proving to be an even bigger job for coach Paul Westphal and his staff than expected, even after the Kings hired Cousins' high school coach (Otis Hughley) in hopes of keeping the 20-year-old -- freshly relegated to a bench role -- plugged in.

One source close to the situation told that Cousins was fined recently for clashing with members of Westphal's staff. I've also been advised that it's not one-and-done as far as such clashes go, which has created a level of tension that -- anticipated or not -- obviously isn't what the Kings need when they're already operating at such an experience deficit on top of their serious defensive frailties.

And how about this from Sam Amick of AOL Fanhouse:

For all of (Tyreke) Evans' dynamic talents and incredible skill, he remains a polarizing figure in-house because of the way he has been handled since coming on the scene last season. He was pitched as a point guard, then subsequently gained a reputation among scouts, front-office and coaching types as someone who -- no matter how many times he toes the company line -- only passes if he has to most of the time.

I have one word: Oy.

The season is quickly degenerating.

Cousins is your prototypical boom-or-bust pick. It's very early, but there is nothing booming about his play right now.

He looks supremely disinterested in defense. And his limited athletic ability has exposed a lot of deficiency on the offensive end.

Evans might be the root cause of the team's selfish offense.

Worst of all, Westphal is not the coach this team needs.  After Friday night's loss to the Suns, he was playing the moral-victory card.  This is not tee-ball.  You get no badges for trying hard in the NBA.

This is supposed to be a turnaround year for the Kings. It is incredibly crucial to keep fan enthusiasm alive.  The future of the franchise in Sacramento may hinge on it.

But Westphal and Kings management have botched it thus far.

There's still time to turn it around.

Fire Westphal today.  Bring in a coach who will give a young team a clear idea about their roles, demand unselfishness, and enforce structure and discipline.

Take the financial wraps off Geoff Petrie and let him explore a trade that might actually make the Kings better instead of saving them money.

I'm pretty sure that isn't going to happen.

So I'm pushing the panic button right now.

Just because I can.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ugly and unacceptable

No need for a complicated post.

Tyreke Evans had almost no impact.

DeMarcus Cousins is obviously not a happy man.

And the Kings lose at home to the worst team in the league, a team playing the second of a back-to-back.

Undisciplined. Defenseless. Offensively inept.

Congrats on squandering the team's potential and talent.

Has Paul Westphal already lost his players? Could be.

The Bee's Jason Jones reported that Tyreke Evans said it seemed like the team was just going through the motions. Seven games into the season.

Westphal is a bad parent. He gives no structure (playing time and rotations are random). He sets no limits (players shoot at will and nobody knows their role). When that happens, the players rebel -- just like snotty toddlers. They become selfish on offense and offer no help on defense.

You see the results.

SEE MY POST BELOW for what should happen...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Westphal should be dismissed

Kings coach Paul Westphal doesn't get it.

And it shows on the court. So right now, I'm calling it.

Fire Westphal.

Sure, I could wait until the All-Star break. Or for an 8-game losing streak. After all, the team is just 3-3.

But I'm not waiting.

Fire Westphal.

Why? Well, there are many reasons. Let's get to it:


What offense? Too many times, the offense consists of Tyreke Evans dribbling for the first 10 seconds, then darting into traffic, only to A.) throw up a bad shot B.) dish off an unbalanced pass to a lunging teammate C.) make a spectacular shot.

There is zero movement. Back-door plays are non-existent. There is not enough cutting, no moving of the ball from side-to-side.

A smart offense needs a philosophy of sharing and team basketball. Whether Westphal is preaching it or not, there is none of that evident on the court.

Good teams need discipline. Teams with DeMarcus Cousins really need discipline. There is no way Cousins should be firing up three-pointers or getting free reign to shoot with his current frequency.

Look at these numbers: He has hit just 18 of 46 shots in five games. That is an awful percentage for a skilled big man. It is also a sign that he is not clear about his role. Now, he's lost his starting job -- and despite claims to the contrary, I'd bet he isn't very happy about it. This is when a coach earns his salary. I'm not sure Westphal has the ability to handle the ramifications.

Speaking of roles, does anyone on the Kings know their role? Westphal used Carl Landry as his go-to guy against the Lakers, but he was a benched no-show against the Grizzlies, amassing a grand total of 19 minutes, 4 shots and 4 points and barely getting a sniff down the stretch. Landry has to be confused. How are you "the guy" one game and the "non-entity" the next?

Jason Thompson is another guy with a mystery role. He's now a backup small forward. How in the world did that happen?

Donte Greene is on milk cartons now, his once glorious potential completely wasted.

Players have no idea when they'll play or what their role should be. Westphal's rotations are so bizarre they border on random. And that is an awful recipe for a young team that needs structure.


Without Samuel Dalembert, the Kings are easily the worst defensive team in the league.

Not a single player seems fundamentally strong. Everyone reaches and pokes and gets called for silly fouls. Opposing teams shred the Kings from the 3-point line (opponents are shooting more than 40% on threes)

Tyreke Evans has been weak on defense early in the season, getting exposed by quicker point guards. Penetration is almost a given.

The Kings surrender points at an alarming rates. You knew this was going to be a problem when they allowed the Timberwolves to score 116 points in the opener.

Defense, like offense, is a philosophy. It's hard work. It's aggressiveness. It's moving your feet and being smart and helping teammates. None of this is evident on Westphal's team.


I'm saying yes. Sure, it's early to pull a move look like this. But here's a better question: Has anybody seen enough to think Westphal can take this team to the next level. I haven't.

This team needs someone with a clear philosopy and a disciplined approach. Someone who can bring structure and instill an unselfish attitude.

They need someone who can school Evans and Cousins about what they need to do to become great NBA players.

They need someone to inspire and teach.

Too much to ask? Maybe.

But I think the move has to be made.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kings are aimless and defenseless as they squander a chance to get back on track

So which team was playing the second game of a back-to-back and coming off a heartbreaking two-overtime defeat?

That would be the Memphis Grizzlies.

Not the Kings, who were sitting at home, well-rested, and supposedly ready to pounce.

But in a game that proved the Kings are not ready for prime time, the Grizzlies imposed their will in every facet of the game. Shooting. Rebounding. Defense.

Final score: Grizz 100, Kings 91, Enthusiastic Kings Fans 0

I put part of the blame of coach Paul Westphal.

Somebody tell me why the Kings weren't pushing the ball at every chance against a road-weary team. And somebody tell me why the team still has no offensive sets. There seems to be no offensive gameplan, besides telling Tyreke to try to make something happen.

Westphal's rotations are also puzzling. Omri Casspi was a difference maker in the first half, then was almost completely forgotten in the second half until the final minute.

By the way, DeMarcus Cousins did not look happy out there, no matter how much he proclaimed that he had no problems coming off the bench. His body language was bad.

Defense, well, that's another awful story. Name a single good man-on-man defender on the Kings? I mean, besides Samuel Dalembert.

The Kings had no answer for Rudy Gay. No answer for Zack Randolph. No answer to O.J. Mayo. Hell, they had no answer for Mike Conley.

So now a promising start has been squandered. The team stands at 3-3.

The energy at Arco was meager at best.

And we'll soon find out just how far the Kings are rising this season

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A disheartening night at Arco

When Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins slammed into Lakers center Pau Gasol on the low block and hammered in a one-hand duck, it seemed like a flashback at Arco.

How many times did Shaquille O'Neal brutally crush Vlade Divac in the post? Time after time after time. Divac and the Kings would plea offensive foul, but the refs almost never saw it that way. They simply let O'Neal bruise at will.

So when Cousins did his best impersonation of Shaq in his prime, the Arco crowd responded with a burst of jubilation. That happiness lasted just seconds.

You see, these are still the Kings.

And those other guys are still the Lakers.

And in the dark cruel universe of professional basketball, there is no justice for Kings fans.

Only heartbreak. And whistles.

Like the one called on DeMarcus Cousins for an offensive foul on the above-stated play.

Now let's get this straight: The referees had nothing to do with the Kings' 112-110 loss to the Lakers on Wednesday night, but it was just another sign that the basketball gods are not ready to change the physical makeup of the NBA universe.

And, in the end, the night was greatly disheartening.

The talent level between the Laker and Kings is still staggering. Kobe Bryant basically toyed with Sacramento like a cat with a ball of yarn. The Lakers offense clicked in every phase. The Kings battled and managed to stay close, but I doubt anyone in the building thought the Kings had a chance.

Furthermore, in another embarrassment, Lakers fans in the stands outcheered Kings fans. It was sad. In 2002, an atmosphere like this couldn't be imagined. Walking the concourse, I saw dozens and dozens of fans in Kobe Bryant jerseys. And nobody gave them a second look.

Arco used to give the Kings the top home-court advantage in the league. Those days are long gone. They couldn't even manage to sell out Wednesday night. The announced attendance was slightly over 16,000, but I saw wide swaths of empty seats.

You could almost smell the desperation coming from Kings management. The huge screen above the arena hawked ticket deals at every timeout.

On a night that should have been a coming-out party, it ended up feeing like a New Year's hangover.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What's down is up

Go figure.

I sure didn't.

For the first half, the Kings were uninspiring and unwatchable. Zero energy. Outplayed in every phase of the game by the Raptors.

In the second half, they sold tickets.

Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi showed pure guts. Samuel Dalembert provided much-needed defense. DeMarcus Cousins woke up and pounded inside. The team fought and battled on both ends.

And they escaped with a win. And a little more momentum.

Of course, we have thank David Stern for doing the Kings a nice solid by scheduling four relative creampuffs to start the season.

Now here come the Lakers.

And the fun really starts.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Twitter, as most of you know, is the single most important invention of the last 100 years. And you need to keep track of the tweets to really know what's going on behind the scenes with the Kings. Here we present the best tweets of the young season:

@COUSINS No food worth eatin' on plane. Gonna snack on brother @WHITESIDE'S leg.

@OMRI How was I possibly not starting over @DONTE?

@TYREKE Ankles swollen like balloons. Maybe I'll just pass the ball more. LOL.

@SPENCERHAWES Do U guys miss me?


@RONWENIG Yo @GRANTNAPEAR, stop the drooling over DeMarcus. He not THAT good. Yet. You sound like a fawning fanboy.

@GAVINMALOOF Just listening 2 an old favorite song, "Leaving on a Jet Plane."

@GRANTNAPEAR Stop tweeting, me, you idiot @RONWENIG I don't need your opinion.

@WESTPHAL Got cool tattoo on chest. Players very impressed. It reads "Born To Coach"

@BENO Haven't been injured in 24 hours. Wow. Sigh of relief.

@JOEMALOOF Great tix deal: Buy 4-game package at Arco, get a 4-game package free in San Jose.

@FRANCISCO Did anyone see @WESTPHAL'S tat? OMG.


@DALEMBERT Coach @WESTPHAL keeps walking around with shirt off. LMAO.

@BENO Sprained my lung while sighing. May need 2 go on injured list.

@DONTE Keep getting dirty looks from @OMRI. He thinks I care that I don't start anymore.

@WESTPHAL Anyone know any laser tattoo removal places?

@WHITESIDE I'm having leg pain. Strange bite marks on knee.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Kings win but Westphal invents NBA Prevent Offense

Gutty win for the Kings over the Cavaliers Saturday night, but it was a lot harder than it should have been.


Because Paul Westphal has invented a unique offensive scheme in the final minutes that guarantees the team will never put away a team with ease this season.

Congrats, coach, you've invented the NBA's Prevent Offense.

Here's how it goes:

Tyreke Evans stands 30 feets from the basket for 15 seconds and the rest of his teammates stand around waiting.

Finally, Evans bulls his way down the lane, only to be met with a slew of defenders. It becomes virtually impossible to score.

This odd, clock-killing option may be the silliest coaching idea I've seen in years.

The team was clicking on all cylinders in the fourth quarter. Everyone was involved. Omri Casspi was hitting open looks.

There was zero reason to change anything. I repeat, ZERO.

Too much coaching. Too much bad coaching.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Darnell Jackson, who are you? I think that I'm in love

The Kings lost a rough game to the Nets, but found a new frontcourt talent Friday night.

His name is Darnell Jackson and it might be a mirage, but he did everything I've been waiting three years for Jason Thompson to do.

He caught the ball with soft hands (his finish on a break was a revelation)

He banged down low.

He made shots.

He rebounded.

Final tally in the loss to the Nets: 12 points, 6 rebounds and 1 steal in 22 minutes.

Was he a flash in the pan?

I don't think so. He looks fundamentally strong, unlike Thompson, who perpetually hacks opponents, takes bad shots, and looks like he leads his life off-balance. Sometimes I wonder if he stumbles on the way to the bathroom in the morning.

Anyway, let's hope Jackson is the real deal. A solid rotation guy who can help on offense and defense.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Talking Points: Kings get a taste of the future in opening-night squeaker

Here We Rise?
Maybe.  A victory over the T-Wolves on the road without Tyreke is a good start.  The team produced down the stretch and  Carl Landry proved himself a worthy clutch performer.  DeMarcus Cousins gave us a glimpse of his star-power potential.

Francisco Garcia was a bright spot, providing much-needed offensive pop from the outside. He's the team's emotional leader. 

Donte hasn't earned his minutes
Small forward Donte Greene still looks lost and overmatched too much of the time.  He should be getting 10 minutes max a game until he shows he can compete consistently.

DeMarcus needs to work on footwork
A nice debut for Cousins, but you can tell he gets impatient when he gets the ball in the low block. He's not really sure what he wants to do.  And he doesn't seem to have a go-to move.  He needs to work on a quick jump hook and step-back jumper and then let the rest come later.  Oh, and if someone can get a waiver to give Cousins an extra six personal fouls a game, that would be much appreciated.

Stop fawning, Grant
Kings announcer Grant Napear needs to stop drooling over Cousins.  The kid had a nice game, but it wasn't earth shaking. And he was playing against Darko Milicic.  I repeat, he was playing against Darko.

Wesley Johnson is good
The Kings were reportedly eyeing Wesley Johnson as a possible pick if Cousins wasn't available.  He looked very skilled Wednesday night.  In fact, he would have looked very nice as a small forward for the Kings this year, especially in comparison to the recent play of Omri Casspi and Donte Greene.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Guaranteed-Accurate Kings Win Prediction Based on Precise Mathematical Formula

Time to use our patented and Nobel prize-winning mathematical formula for predicting the amount of games the Kings will win this season.

Before we start, I'll preface this analysis with two points:

I don't mind setting the bar low.

I'd love to be proven wrong.

Okay, here we go:

Start with 82 wins.

Subtract 41 right off the bat.  Why?  Well, because the Kings play in the Western Conference and they are not named the Lakers, Jazz, Nuggets, Thunder, Spurs, Mavericks, Trailblazers, Rockets, Suns, or even, dare I say it, the Blake Griffin-led Clippers.

Add 6 because of the addition of rookie DeMarcus Cousins and his massive potential.

Subtract 3 because DeMarcus Cousins may believe a little too much of his own hype.

Add 4 because Jason Thompson and Omri Casspi have to get better.

Subtract 3 because, as hard as it is to believe, Donte Greene may be worse.

Add 3 because the Kings fans are the best fans in the world.

Subtract 8 because a half-full arena with the best fans in the worlds isn't a home-court advantage.

Add 5 because Tyreke Evans figures to take over at least that many games down the stretch.

Subtract 2 because Evans still can't figure out how get his teammates involved on a consistent basis.

Subtract 9 because coach Paul Westphal seems incapable of getting his players to A.) run an unselfish offense and B.) play defense without hacking the other team.

Add 4 because the Maloof Brothers seem like genuinely nice guys.

Subtract 6 because the Maloof Brothers have a sister who agreed to be on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Subtract 4 because Luther Head and Pooh Jeter actually made the team.

Add 2 because Carl Landry and Samuel Dalembert give the team some veteran leadership.

Subtract 6 because both will probably be traded by the All-Star break.

There it is.  The numbers have been checked and cross-checked by professors at MIT.  The final tally is in.  Kings fans probably won't like it, but math doesn't lie.  The Kings will win:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stern ain't bullish on Sacramento... but here's my solution to the arena problem

According to news reports, NBA commissioner David Stern's 
optimism for a new arena in Sacramento has "faded completely."

What does this exactly mean?

Well, if the commish is bringing the dark clouds, that's a very ominous sign.  

It probably means that we won't have the Kings next season.

And there's no reason to think otherwise.  There's not a single viable plan on the table right now.

What would I do?

Here's my emergency arena plan:

1. Build the new arena in Natomas.  Forget the downtown plan.  It's too complex and costly.  The land is already there in Natomas.  So is the parking.  So is the infrastructure.  And you don't need a slew of environmental reports.

2. Finance the arena with a 5-5-5 plan.  A $5 ticket surcharge on every ticket to every event for the next 20 years.  If you average 125 events and 16,000 tickets, that's $10 million a year and $200 million over 20 years.   With a modern arena with a capacity of 20,000 or more, that should be a semi-reasonable number to hit.  And with this plan, the only people getting taxed are the people using the arena.   Add $5 million a year in rent from the Maloofs and another $5 million a year in naming and endorsement rights (including luxury box pre-sales) and you've got another $200 million.  That's $400 million and should be more than enough dough since you don't need to buy land and build off-ramps and parking structures.

(This just in: After some research, I discovered Edmonton is considering this exact surcharge idea... READ IT.)

3. Partner with a major entertainment company to build a sports-themed entertainment complex on site.  A sort of theme park/restaurant/retail combo.  Maybe build a year-round venue for extreme sports. 

4.  Pass a series of tax breaks for companies that want to build and invest in the new site, helping to bring a stimulus to the local construction economy.

There you go.  Done deal.

I've saved the team.  Maybe even the world.

 I need a nap

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tyreke Evans has plantar fasciitis? Why was he playing 40 minutes in a preseason game?

Okay, you play the coach of the Kings...

Go back two nights.  You are one week from regular season.

A good start in the first month may make or break the team's future in Sacramento.

You find out your best player is suffering from plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the heel.

You also know the best treatment is rest.

You are playing the Clippers in a meaningless preseason game.

What do you do?

Well, if you're Paul Westphal, you play the injured Tyreke Evans for 40 minutes.

Yup, that's right.  Forty minutes in a preseason games against the Clippers.

Was it a smart move?

You decide.

Oh, and as a public service, we provide you with an article dealing with the latest new technology to deal with the problem.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A vote for Casspi

Sometimes it's very revealing to look at the plus-minus stats in the boxscore.  This stat shows the point differential while a player was on the court.

From last night's slim victory over the Clippers:

Donte Greene: -13
Omri Casspi: +17

That's a huge disparity.

Greene was recently handed the starting job but there's no real reason why the job shouldn't belong to Casspi.   Although a bit selfish, Casspi works harder, shoots better, and brings an attitude.

 Here's one vote for a modification to the starting five.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Secret Memo Revealed: Top 10 Rejected Slogans for Kings

Another preseason game, another up-and-down effort.  The King looked both dreadful and energized during Tuesday night's game against the Clippers.  Using their starters until the bitter end, the Kings needed an all-out effort in the final minutes against the Clippers' second stringers to gain the win.

Once again, Tyreke Evans provided the heroics.

Still, you have to wonder just how good or bad the Kings are going to be this season.  The Maloofs had to hope the preseason would bring more buzz for the team.

With only one game remaining before the regular season, the Kings might need to re-think this whole "Here We Rise" campaign.  So what were the other options?

We were lucky enough to receive a secret email containing the top 10 rejected slogans.  As a public service, we offer them for your perusal...

1.  We'll Stink Less.

2.  Buy Us an Arena and Then We'll Talk.

3.  These Aren't The Good Old Days.

4.  Winning Is Not As Important As You Think.

5.  Buy One Luxury Box, Get One Free.

6.  We'll Win The Race -- Especially if Tyreke is Driving.

7.  Eight Seed or Bust.

8.  It Could Be Worse.  We Could Be The Timberwolves.

9. Don't Make Us Beg.

10.  Please come -- or we're gone!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Does Tyreke Evans have bad balance? His ankles say maybe yes

Why do some people have chronic ankle injuries?

That's a question that Kings' guard Tyreke Evans would love answered.

Well, according to the New York Times. researchers says bad balance is the reason.  And that a simple set of exercises can help prevent future injuries.

Now on the face of it, the thought of Tyreke having bad balance seems odd, but has anyone ever seen Tyreke on a surf board?

Read this, Tyreke.  Then send me a check.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Donte Greene wins, er, handed small forward spot

Donte Greene is the Kings' starting small forward.

Nobody else had a chance.

Guy was lights out.   Earned it.

Of course, I should have been given a shot, based on the criteria used by Paul Westphal to make his decision.  I've put on a few pounds lately and I've shown little or no ability to hit an outside shot.  But I can defend Shaq.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Injuries and the Doomsday Scenario (don't read if you have a queasy stomach)

The injury bug is not just bothersome...

It could spell doom for the franchise in Sacramento.

Follow this disaster scenario...

Without Samuel Dalembert to add depth and provide quality minutes, DeMarcus Cousins struggles mightily.

Nagging injuries to Tyreke Evans and Beno Udrih linger until December.
They get out of the gate by losing eight of their first 10 games.

The early losing dampens the hope of the Kings fans. 

Arco Arena is soon half full and there is no buzz in town.

A deal for a new arena is virtually dead.

Geoff Petrie's hands are tied and he can't make a trade to turn the team's fortunes.

The Maloofs begin to ponder their options.

The midseason deadline for relocation approaches fast...

What happens then?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Cousins needs a crash course in defense - fast

Look, we all know that DeMarcus fella has offensive skills.  He can post, dish, even hit the three.

But the Kings better hope he learns to play position defense very quickly or he is going to be a very annoyed young man come the middle of November.

Cousins has looked hopelessly lost on defense in his short NBA career, picking up foul after foul after foul.   The referees don't figure to get much kinder once the regular season comes around.

Now this wouldn't be too big a deal except for one very important fact:

On Tuesday night, the Kings announced that they had lost their biggest offseason acquisition -- center Samuel Dalembert -- for 4-6 weeks with a left abductor strain.  I'd tell you what a left abductor strain is, but I'm too lazy to Google it.

So where does this leave the Kings and their high hopes for rejuvenation?

In a bit of a pickle.  A sour pickle.

Cousins is not ready to play 35 minutes a night in the NBA, no matter how good he has looked in spurts.   And even if he was ready, he can't possibly stay of the floor for that long.  Not with the refs blowing their whistles in his ear every two minutes.

Frustration may set in a little too soon.  And that's not good for a player who needs to get his emotions under control.

The Kings are going to have to tap-dance, ad-lib, and pray if they hope to get through the first couple of months of the season and make that big leap back to respectability.

For now, it's time for DeMarcus to work on three things.

Defense.  Defense.  Defense.

Excuse me, it's time for me to go Google.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Donte Greene named top sideline cheerleader

The accolades have begun to role in for the Kings.  And this one is a biggie.

Forward Donte Greene has been named Top Sideline Cheerleader in the NBA.  This is huge.  An award like this come around once in a century.   And for the Kings, it's a game changer.

This past Thursday, Greene's sideline cheering antics were on full display before the team's preseason game with the Clippers.  He danced and hugged every teammate.  He fist-bumped every person on press row.  It was impressive.

Greene's added weight gave him even more of a presence.  He moved fluidly from teammate to teammate.  He never fumbled a gregarious slap.  He smiled and laughed with the skill of a veteran twice his age.

Yes, the offseason has been kind to Greene.  His cheerleading skills have exploded.  Remember Mark Madsen on the Lakers' bench?  Stinkin' piker compared to Donte.

Of course, most players would be frustrated, angry and downright surly about seemingly being shuffled to the back of he pack in the race for a starting role.   And maybe he is.   But Donte ain't showing it.  In fact, he's acting like it's not bothering him a bit.

So now Greene is being rightly rewarded.  The AWP doesn't bestow this award on just anyone. You have to earn it.  And when I got the call from the Association for Wasted Potential, I knew it was a once-in-lifetime scoop.

Congrats, Donte.

We expect to see lots more of you on the bench this season.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Preseason Game Live Report: The Kings don't like to share

I witnessed the Kings live for the first time this year on Thursday night.

I think I have retinal damage.  My eyes are still burning.  It was that ugly to watch.

You see, the Kings have a problem.  It was evident last year and it's starting to become evident again.

The do not like to share the ball.  They do not play well with others -- others notably being their teammates.

This was in clear evidence in Thursday night's preseason car wreck against the Clippers.

Take the second quarter...

For an 11-minute stretch, I kept track of every possession, the number of passes made by Kings players,  and the result.

Here's how it broke down:

Zero passes.  Four possessions.  Result: One basket, One drawn foul, One turnover, One missed basket.

One pass.  Eight possessions. Result: Five Turnovers, Two misses, One drawn foul.

Two passes. Eight possessions. Result: Three misses, Two turnovers, Two drawn fouls, One basket.

Three passes.  One possession.  Result: One miss.

Four passes.  Four possessions.  Two misses, Two drawn fouls.

That was it in 11 minutes.  Of a grand total of 25 possessions, the team passed twice or less 20 times.

Now, part of the blame has to rest with coach Paul Westphal.  The offense is stagnant.  There is almost no player movement and almost no reversing of the ball.  There seems to be virtually no improvement from last year's lethargic offensive sets.  There are very few sharp cuts to the hoop, almost nothing in the way of smooth, crisp passing.

But perhaps the players must take the brunt of the blame.  Almost all of them would rather fire up a shot than dish for an assist.

Let's go down the list:

Tyreke Evans: Okay, this guy probably doesn't need to look for anyone else because he can simply take it to the hoop most every time he desires.  Still, he only looks for teammates as a last resort.  And that's not good for keeping his teammates happy and hearty.

Jason Thomspon:  Not sure he actually knows how to pass.

Omri Casspi:  Once passed the ball during a pickup game in East Jerusalem, but he hasn't since.  Just refuses to pass.   Plays with an odd chip on his shoulder.

DeMarcus Cousins:  He can pass, but he likes to score more.  And his impatience is not a virtue.  You can see the frustration in his body language when things don't go his way -- and that means more forces to the basket and fewer passes.

Carl Landry:  He has averaged 0.7 assists for his career.  Nuff said.

Donte Greene:  He occasionally passes, but I'm just not sure he knows where it's going.

Francisco Garcia:  A savvy veteran but never a guy who was much of a set-up man for teammates.

Beno Udrih:  Ding, ding, ding -- a guy who can actually pass.  He missed Thursday night's game with an injury, but the Kings may not realize how much they need this guy on the court.

So there you have it.   Yes, it's only preseason and, yes, this team should get more cohesive.  But there doesn't seem to be a well-rooted philosophy of sharing the ball.

And that could be a big problem if this team really wants to take the next step.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Video: Beno Udrih guarantees a playoff spot for Kings (with plenty of prodding)

Let's face it.   Nobody is gonna compare Beno Udrih to Joe Namath, but when I badgered the Kings guard about whether he was willing to guarantee a playoff spot for Sacramento this year, he came through.

So have a look as Beno plays "Stud or Cop-Out"

Sure thing: Kings win NBA title

Okay, let's get all carried away after one trivial, meaningless, preseason game.

This team is unstoppable.

A force underneath.

Great talent at every position.

We are the champions of the world.

Then again... maybe not.  

I'm gonna wait until the second preseason game before I take a flying leap onto the bandwagon.

I'm gonna wait to see if anyone can hit a deep three beyond Marcus Landry.  Marcus Landry?

I'm gonna wait and see if Donte Greene has regressed again or if he's mature enough to step up and finally produce consistently.

I'm gonna wait and see if Omri Casspi can take a deep breath and become a team player.

I'm gonna wait and see if Samuel Dalembert has anything left in his tank.

I'm gonna wait and see if Jason Thompson can make it through a game without the histrionics.

But let me tell you.  If they all produce Thursday, I'm buying playoff tickets.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Video: Donte Greene talks his future, guarding Kobe, and bad teammate dancers

Donte Greene figures to play a big role for the Kings this season.  We put him to an early test by quizzing him in a game of "Stud or Cop-Out."

He talks about where he expects to be in three years in the NBA, playing defense against Kobe, and bad dancing teammates.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Video: DeMarcus Cousins vows revenge (in a fun kinda way)

Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins may actually end up being a futue media darling. 

Yes, he usually sports a surly look and he's tough to crack, but he's got something.  Call it charisma.  Call it an odd type of charm.  There's something there if you can get him to open up a bit.

Mr. Cousins played a little "Stud or Cop-Out" with Kings Talking Points.  Watch for the very end of the video.  You get a real glimpse of his playful side and what he may become off the court.

Will he become like the jovial and sometimes controversial Charles Barkley?  You never know.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's time for the Maloofs to unleash "The Threat"

Grant Napear and his cohort on KHTK, Mike Lamb, have have been spending a lot of time recently on the arena issue (or should we say the dead arena issue).

Both of these broadcasters have blasted the city for its ineptitude. No argument there.

But here's where they both go horribly wrong.

Both think Joe and Gavin Maloof should come out and say that they are here to stay for the forseeable future. Grant and Mike seem to believe this would comfort the loyal Sacramento fans and make it an easier atmosphere to reach a deal.

Wrong. Very wrong.

Here's what the Maloofs should say:

"Ladies and gentlemen of Sacramento, we have been patient and loyal to Sacramento for more than a decade. We have watched you fumble various attempts to build a world-class entertainment complex. We are losing money. Our arena is half full. We have no name for our arena.

We want to stay in Sacramento. We'd love to stay in Sacramento. But under these conditions, we can't.

That's why today we are giving the city of Sacramento a deadline of Jan. 15 to come up with a viable plan to build an arena or we will announce our intention to move the franchise."

Yes, Kings fans would likely collapse in a pool of their own vomit upon hearing this, but it's the only course of action.

You have to make the threat public. You have to establish real ramifications for failure. If not, there's no impetus to make a deal.

That's why tough labor deals only get made with the threat of strike.

I don't want the Kings to leave, but it's time for Shock and Awe.

It's time to break out The Threat.

Make the move, Maloof brothers.

And let's see what happens.

Video: Can Jason Thompson solve the Middle East problem?

Jason Thompon plays a game of  "Stud or Cop-Out" with Kings Talking Points and answers some very tough questions, including whether he will convert to Judaism after his trip to Israel and predicting the number of technical fouls he'll receive next year.

And as a bonus:  Jason gives us his best dirty look after a referee's bad call.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Demarcus Cousins has a big body, small hands

Surprising fact: Kings rookie center DeMarcus Cousins can barely palm a basketball.  I watched as he struggled to hold a basketball with one hand during a photo shoot. He told me he had small hands.

Will that be a problem in the NBA?  Maybe, but he's no Duane Causwell so his superior basketball skills should overcome that shortcoming.

By the way, where is Duane Causwell?  I miss him so.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Video: Omri Casspi answers some very important questions - and some not so important

Omri Casspi stepped to the plate for a little "Stud or Cop-Out" with Kings Talking Points.  The results were very revealing.  You'll learn about which player in the NBA he'd most like to be compared to, his verdict on Sacramento vs. Tel Aviv women, and whether he's a Durant Guy or a Lebron guy.

Plus, a special guest appearance by Samuel Dalembert, who joins in on the fun.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Video: Does Tyreke Evans think anyone can stop him one-on-one?

Tyreke Evans was kind enough to play a little "Stud or Cop-out" with Kings Talking Points. Here's how the game works: Five questions. Five tough questions. Answer each honestly and you're a stud. Refuse to answer one and you've copped out.

In this version, we learn which Kings like to look in the the mirror the most, what Tyreke thinks of Brandon Jennings, and whether Tyreke would ever use a little fact to help him with women.

Oh, and he also tells us whether he thinks anyone in the NBA can stop him one-one-one. Have a look:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Official Wildly Optimistic (and probably delusional) Pre-Camp Happy Talk

Camp is here. And wow I'm excited.

Well, not really. Maybe a tad pumped? Nah.

But hey, it's here, okay, so let's get it on.

And I'm going to be stay positive (in loving memory of Positive Dave).

But first a note of pessimism.


Run for the hills. The Maloofs are already packed and ready to leave town. The Kings will be playing in Pensacola by this time next year. Nothing but cobwebs here instead of C-Webb. All is lost. Including this season, which will mean nothing when the team leaves us high and dry.

There. Now back to our Positivity. Here are some reasons to get motivated:

Demarcus Cousins: A big load of talent. He puts us back on the basketball map with his sheer force of will. Love the attitude. Hates to lose. Leaves no prisoners. And he's got skills.

Samuel Dalembert: Lookee here. A shot blocker. Haven't seen one of those around these parts since, well, uh... you get the picture. No more driving the lane against the Kings like a carefree toddler in the park.

Tyreke Evans: Stud rookie. Bigger stud with a season under his belt. And a jump shot. Now if he could just learn to look for his teammates just a teeny-weeny more.

Omri Casspi: Guy hates to be off the court and that's a huge plus. Might have the most need to succeed of anybody. And my biggest prediction: Helps solve the Mideast problem during All-Star break.

Donte Green: This is exactly where Gerald Wallace was after two years in the league. We all know what happened to him. This time, Kings are patient and turn the potential into stardom.

Hassan Whiteside: A tall leaper project with more basketball ability than more tall leaper projects. Reportedly battled Attention Deficit Disorder. Kings must figure out a way to keep his head in the game. I'm doing my part by making him an honorary correspondent.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kings re-name arena - We have a Situation

Arco is history.  The naming rights have expired for the aging arena.  But no need to fear about all those lost monetary considerations associated with sponsorship.  The money will continue to flow.

You see, a new name is already bought and paid for.   The glowing neon letters are being crafted as you read this.

In the first scoop of the season for Kings Talking Points, my clandestine sources tell me that a new name has been  chosen for the arena.

And it's perfect.

Ladies and gentleman, welcome to...


Yup, there you have it.  After an exhaustive 2-day search, the Maloof brothers settled on a new arena  name that pays tribute to the shiny six-pack abs of the ape-like reality star.

Why, you ask?

Why not, I say.  This a brilliant stroke by the Maloofs.   A TV tie-in.   Appeal to the youth market.  Season-ticket bundles for Guidos.

It's a slam dunk.  And best of all, we don't have to worry about getting some awful-sounding company to plant their name on the building and make us feel awkward just saying the name.

"Hey dad, let's get going, I don't want to be late to Mucinex Arena."

"Meet you at  Orkin Pest Control Arena for a snack before the game"

And don't even think about local companies chipping in.   Bonney Plumbing Arena?  Wasn't gonna happen.

Now, The Situation, that's an arena name with panache.

"Let's hit The Situation tonight to watch some hoops."  "What a situation at The Situation last night"

And what about Grant Napear's new catch phrase:  "The Situation is off the hook.  Just watch out for grenades" (that one was for Jersey Shore fans only)

So there you go, Kings fans.

A new era for the team.

A new name for the arena.

And I hesitate to reveal my little secret about who's going to be singing the national anthem on opening night.

But here's a hyphenated hint from my extremely semi-informed sources: