SAN ANTONIO - It's a wonder I don't lose more things on the road.
To steal the recent phrase from Kenny Natt, it's a whirlwind existence, one in which it's tough to keep the hotel room numbers straight in your head and where there's not always time to triple-check under the bed for that stray sock. The point is that I lost my voice recorder after last night's Kings game at San Antonio in which Beno Udrih had a humbling homecoming.
If I hadn't, you would be reading revealing comments from the locker room scene after the latest loss: John Salmons saying Udrih needs to know his teammates still have his back despite his recent struggles, Natt - the Kings' interim coach - saying that Udrih's intensity and effort were there even if the execution was not, Natt adding that Udrih's career-high six steals were a silver lining that "exposed" (I remember that part) his ability to agitate his opponent and mean he could be doing it more often.
But I did manage to transcribe one particular quote before my digital turnover, a comment from Spencer Hawes regarding the Kings' impotent offense and how the issues go beyond one player. On the four-game trip, they averaged just 87 points and shot 41 percent (123 of 300) overall.
"We've got plenty of scorers," Hawes said when asked about how he perceives the problem. "The majority of the people on the team are offensive-minded guys. We've just got to figure out some cohesion, and play a little bit more unselfish."
Hawes, especially, continues to struggle from the power forward spot. And assuming holiday delays en route to Sacramento (through Vegas) don't keep me from making practice this afternoon, I'll be picking a few brains as to whether the decision to move him away from his natural center position back on Dec. 2 should be addressed again.
It seemed logical at the time as a way to get him in the lineup, but former coach Reggie Theus had often talked about how he liked the rotations better with Hawes coming off the bench and right now the numbers support his argument.
HAWES' PER-GAME PRODUCTION...
...IN 19 GAMES BEFORE HE TOOK MIKKI MOORE'S SPOT: 28.6 minutes, 12.4 points on 49.7 percent shooting overall (98 of 197) and 41 percent shooting from three-point range (16 of 39), 7.1 rebounds, two turnovers, 1.9 blocks.
...IN NINE GAMES AS A STARTER SINCE THE MOVE: 30.8 minutes, 9.8 points on 35 percent shooting (35 of 100) overall and 12.5 percent from three-point range (1 of 8), 7.8 rebounds per game, two turnovers, 1.4 blocks.
At the moment, I'm falling on the side of saying let Hawes be himself, which is to say get him outside more often again since he is one of the league's sweetest-shooting bigs. That fact contrasted with watching him die a slow death recently down low may call for an adjustment. Now a happy medium is certainly needed, as Hawes most certainly needs to get more proficient in the post and there are lessons to be learned by failing.
I'll stop there, as the answers from Hawes, the coaches etc. will matter far more than my take in a follow-up story.
* I'd meant to share this picture yesterday, but better late than never. Regardless of what you thought of my piece looking at Natt's promotion, this pic from the team's media guide falls just short of being worth a thousand words (there were 982 in the story) as it pertains to the relevant dynamic of Theus' staff.
- Sam Amick