By Will Robinson
Yes, the relocations talks have been hovering all over the team. Yes, there is now a public pissing match between the owners and the city of Sacramento, but despite all of that, the Sacramento Kings are playing their best overall ball of the year. They have won five of their last six (the lone loss being a blowout in Chicago), including going 4-1 on a five game road trip. There have been some interesting developments going on with the team, so I will highlight a few that I have noticed (and extrapolate from some box scores).
The Kings have DESTROYED in rebounding. They have averaged 48.5 RPG, which would be the top number in the league; however, they are already the third best team in the league rebounding wise. The difference? Rebounds allowed. 37.3 RAPG (Rebounds Allowed per Game). The difference of 11.2 RPG difference is a dominant mark, which is double than the season high average per game (Chicago, with +5.6 RPG).
Samuel Dalembert’s Hot Streak
Dalembert was acquired for his defense and rebounding, but he has been lighting up the stats sheet with his scoring. He actually hasn’t done much during this streak (12.5 PPG), but before the Timberwolves game, he had been putting up good numbers. For comparison, his season average is 7.8 PPG. Slammin’ Sammy has been dominant on the boards, pulling down 12 a game: 4.3 above his season average. DeMarcus Cousins has been inconsistent during this six game stretch, but the play of Dalembert in the middle has kept the Kings rolling. Speaking of another big…
The De-Slumpification of Jason Thompson
Thompson struggled enormously over the month of March, but has come on stronger during these six games. He had one big stinker performance (Bulls game), but has produced good rebounding numbers, as well as a solid percentage shooting (50%), slightly above his season average (48.7%). He’s played well recently, but he has been too hot and cold to jump on the bandwagon yet.
Since joining the Kings back in February, Thornton has lit up the scoreboard. Obviously, in limited time, 18 games, Thornton has posted career high averages in practically category. Since Tyreke Evans had been out, Thornton has been the primary scorer, particularly over this stretch, in which he is averaging 24.3 PPG. He has looked absolutely great and unstoppable at times, and has been the Kings best player as of late. He has succeeded very well without Evans in the lineup, which was a concern of mine; they have played well in the three games with Evans’ return. With Evans coming off the bench, he has received limited minutes and has become more of the game manager I doubt he could be. Granted, it has only been three games, but he messed around and ALMOST got a triple double against Phoenix last night (11-10-8). The Kings would be fools not to resign Thornton.
I believe the future for the (location in question) Kings/Royals is particularly bright, especially if they can finish this season off strong. They need five more wins to top last year’s total, and with another lottery pick, should have a nice core of talent for the future. I clearly hope the Kings stay in town, but it’s not looking too good, especially with the dire situation with the letter to Anaheim and all. Let’s focus on now, though: beat the Nuggets tonight!