Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

December 3, 2008
And One: The local basketball factory, Newell, Kings meltdowns, and more

*This has turned historically bad for the Kings. There have been far worse beatings and many longer stretches wandering aimlessly in the dark, as if any veterans of this roller coaster need reminding. For lack of heart and lack of judgment, though, for really going it without a flashlight, the last four games hold up for the generations: the missed free throws, the perimeter defense, the overtime technical against the Nets; giving up 44 points in the third quarter against the Nets Jazz; scoring 78 points, having defenders quit on plays and losing to the Mavericks by 23; and seeing the chance to beat Utah disappear when Quincy Douby is thrown in the game cold. That was a poor impersonation of the Jazz -- no Carlos Boozer, no Andrei Kirilenko, no Matt Harpring -- but a flailing team simply needs to give itself a better chance for a much-needed emotional lift than a guy who played 33 minutes the previous seven games taking so many big shots.

*Jamal Crawford was a logical trade target for the Warriors, and not just because anyone was a logical trade target if it meant getting away from Al Harrington. Golden State needed a point guard and, better, a big point guard because the newcomer would be paired with a 6-3 shooting guard, Monta Ellis. Crawford is 6-5. The Warriors also considered 6-7 Shaun Livingston when he was a free agent and 6-5 Javaris Crittenton of the Grizzlies. Crawford definitely won't help them on defense, but his size will prevent the Warriors from getting run over in the backcourt once Ellis returns. Stephen Jackson would move to small forward in that scenario, but undoubtedly guard a lot of the opponents' best backcourt threats.

*And then there's Harrington. He missed six consecutive Warriors games with a strained lower back while unhappy with his role in the offense and hoping for a trade. He was dealt to the Knicks ... and played the first game after the move became official. He's cured! It's a miracle!

*Not merely a giant of the college game, the broader legacy of the late Pete Newell is that he may have touched basketball in California more than anyone. He grew up in Los Angeles, played at what is now Loyola Marymount, coached at Cal and USF, was general manager of the then-San Diego Rockets and the Lakers, worked as a consultant for the Warriors, and at the time of his passing lived in San Diego County. Though the impact in the pros gets little attention compared to his college work, the turn as coach of the Jerry West-Oscar Robertson 1960 Olympic team and the later years with the Big Man's Camp, Newell helped swing the trade with the Milwaukee Bucks that brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Los Angeles, the first step toward five Lakers championships.

*The Thunder trailed the Phoenix 99-98 last week. Suns ball in the backcourt, 8.4 seconds to go, Oklahoma City fans passionately into the moment, the hometown team knowing it can quickly foul and get another chance down three points at most with about seven seconds left. The Suns throw the ball in and... the Thunder never fouls. Matt Barnes to Raja Bell near the top of the three-point arc in the backcourt, Bell to Steve Nash just across halfcourt in a press break, Nash dribbling clear of defenders disguised as pylons and passing to Bell, Bell back to Nash. Game over. Four passes, six dribbles and nothing quite like the sight of Oklahoma City's Chris Wilcox in the lane and backing away from Nash as if to defend the basket when the Phoenix guard obviously had no intention of going to the hoop. Brutal. Absolutely brutal.

*Seven Sacramento State products are playing professionally overseas: Angel Alamo (Puerto Rico), Jason Davis (Portugal), Pablo Gonzales (Belgium), Haron Hargrave (Romania), Sean Houston (Australia), Joel Jones (Poland) and Davon Roberts (Germany). Jones has had the most-decorated post-Hornets career, playing for Puerto Rico in the 2007 Pan-American Games, the only time someone from Sac State has made a national team. Additionally, three former Hornets were in camp with D-League teams, but got cut before the start of the season: Alex Bausley in Reno, Tony Champion in Colorado and Jason Harris in Anaheim.

*There may be no greater condemnation of Stephon Marbury than from Marbury himself if the statement to the New York Post is true and no Knicks teammate is standing by him during this season of exile. Players most always publicly back players, whether the same support comes in private or not, just as coaches stand with coaches, thus coaches-turned-commentators going on TV and leading the outcry any time one of their own gets fired. But, said Marbury: "They left me out for dead. It's like we're in a foxhole and I'm facing the other way. If I got shot in the head, at least you want to get shot by the enemy. I got shot in the head by my own guys in my foxhole. And they didn't even give me an honorable death." Not stopping at setting a record for tackiest metaphor, Starbury outed himself as a bad teammate. That's in addition to the history of not getting along with coaches: Larry Brown in 2006-07, Isiah Thomas last season, Mike D'Antoni this season.

*The Nets like the early work of El Dorado Hills' Ryan Anderson, but love what they see from another rookie big man via Northern California. Brook Lopez, from Fresno and Stanford, immediately established himself as a versatile offensive threat and an interior presence to complement the perimeter game of Devin Harris and Vince Carter. That's the kind of young talent in the toughest positions to fill -- Harris at point guard and Lopez at center -- New Jersey will use with massive cap space in summer 2010 to convince one of the star free agents they won't be joining a gutted roster.

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