Kings Blog and Q&A

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

January 13, 2009
Opening tip: Jason Thompson could miss All-Star weekend

Magic (30-8) at Kings (9-29)

Scoring: Kings 20th (96.8), Magic ninth (101.1).
Shooting: Kings 22nd (44.5 percent), Magic tied for eighth (45.8).
Scoring defense: Kings 27th (105.3), Magic fourth (93.3).
Shooting defense: Kings tied for 26th (47.2 percent), Magic third (42.8).
Rebound differential: Kings 28th (minus-3.5), Magic 18th (minus-0.5).

The link: Magic coverage in the Orlando Sentinel.
The almanac: On this date in 1962, Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors scored 73 points in a 135-117 win over the Chicago Packers, at the time the most points by a player in a regulation game. It remains tied for third-most. On this date in 1999, Michael Jordan announced his second retirement, just before the start of the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. On this date in 2001, the Hawks retired jersey No. 21 in honor of Dominique Wilkins.

_________


Not a screaming headline and not a shock, but a step back from about a little more than a month ago with the possibility of becoming an official disappointment in a couple weeks.


Rosters for the rookie-sophomore game at All-Star weekend in Phoenix are announced Jan. 28. To be played Feb. 13 at US Airways Center. Nine players in their first season vs. nine in their second, chosen by a leaguewide vote of assistant coaches.

Jason Thompson wants to be among the rookie selections, perhaps opposing and even matching up against Kings teammate Spencer Hawes. Thompson set it as a goal at the start of the season. It means something to him as a measure against others from the draft class and as personal vindication for anyone who said the Kings reached by taking the relative unknown at No. 12.

In November, it looked like a real possibility. Thompson averaged 10.4 points and 6.3 rebounds in 26.2 minutes and shot 54.5 percent that month. He broke into the starting lineup, albeit slightly out of position at small forward because of injuries to Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia. JT broke out as one of the best rookies.

In January, after the December reality check, he's very much on the bubble, if that. In an informal poll of a handful of assistant coaches, obviously nothing like a leaguewide sampling but hopefully a barometer of the general mood, none said he was in. A couple gave some version of maybe, a few a flat-out no.

Thompson is 11th among rookies in scoring (9.1), fifth in rebounding (6.7), third in shooting (47.5 percent) and 13th in blocks (.58). Credible resume.

But Derrick Rose of the Bulls and O.J. Mayo of the Grizzlies are clearly ahead of the pack for Rookie of the Year, Brook Lopez of the Nets, Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies, Kevin Love of the Timberwolves and Michael Beasley of the Heat are the best big men, and that's six spots right there. Russell Westbrook of the Thunder, Eric Gordon of the Clippers, D.J. Augustin of the Bobcats, Rudy Fernandez of the Trail Blazers, Mario Chalmers of the Heat, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute of the Bucks, Greg Oden of the Trail Blazers, Thompson -- all in the mix from there for three openings.

Of course, weighing Thompson is nothing compared to the real debate with klieg lights: Oden.

Think of the fun day for the Blazers and the league if the No. 1 pick in 2007, officially part of the rookie class because he missed all last season with a knee injury, is left out. Oden is already losing the former fun-loving spirit by the day as he gets routinely criticized, and that was before people with credibility started kicking him too.

He is 14th in scoring, which looks like a big deal but really isn't because he was never supposed to tilt the scoreboard with offense. He is not the best center on his team -- Joel Przybilla is -- which is a big deal. But Oden is at 7.2 rebounds, third-best among rookies, and 7.2 rebounds in just 22.9 minutes is very encouraging for the Blazers. He's also second in blocks.

Thompson is interesting to track in Sacramento. Oden is good watching everywhere.



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