Kings Blog and Q&A

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

March 15, 2009
Opening tip: More on JT and Spencer in Kings Plus-plus

Kings (14-50) at Washington (15-51)

Scoring: Kings 13th (99.8), Wizards 26th (94.8)
Shooting: Kings 25th (44.8 percent), Wizards 26th (44.8)
Scoring defense: Kings 29th (108.5), Wizards 22nd (102.4)
Shooting defense: Kings 29th (48.0 percent), Wizards 29th (48.0)
Rebound differential: Kings 30th (minus-5.13), Wizards 23rd (minus-1.89)

The link: Wizards coverage in the The Washington Post and The Washington Times; Kings coverage in The Bee (Kings Plus story; Kings Plus Week ahead; Notes; Game preview).
The almanac: On this date 1991, Moses Malone of Atlanta picked up his 15,000th career rebound in the NBA during the Hawks' 127-117 win over Dallas at Reunion Arena. On this date in 1992, Cleveland Coach Lenny Wilkens became only the fifth coach in NBA history (joining Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsay, Dick Motta and Bill Fitch) to record 800 career victories after the Cavs defeated Denver 100-91 at Richfield Coliseum.

***

WASHINGTON - Today's matchup is pretty cut and dried. Two bad teams whose players would love nothing more than to pulverize the other team but whose respective organizations could benefit from putting another 'L' on their record. Although really, if the Kings compete like they did against Cleveland the other night then the Wiz will be routed by 20. They are a better and more interesting team post-trades.

On the update front, Bobby Jackson (fractured left cheek) did not make the trip and will be re-evaluated on Monday. I'm curious to hear what becomes of B-Jax, as I wouldn't be surprised if surgery was needed or if he at least has to don a "Phantom of the Opera" mask to protect his face. Meanwhile, I spoke with Beno Udrih last night and he said he will "probably" play. Not sure if he starts or if Will Solomon gets the nod. Lastly, I'll be offering random thoughts and updates on my Twitter page during the game (already have a few up, as a matter of fact).

But rather than dissect the rest of this matchup, let's rewind a bit and go over some extra material from today's piece on Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes. I didn't quote either player all that extensively, and that was almost unfortunate because they were pretty good. It was a joint interview that said quite a bit about where their relationship is even when they weren't talking. As always, Pete Carril put it best when I asked about the current status of the JT-Hawes dynamic: "They are rivals in a teammate way."

Hawes is endlessly sarcastic and Thompson simply laughs with him and at him. During the interview, one reference to "The Donte' Greene show" and how Thompson is virtually a co-host sparked Hawes to chime in with "That show is horrible." Then when Thompson was talking about how the flurry of trades means he has the elevated status typically reserved for veterans of parking inside Arco Arena on game days as opposed to by the practice facility, Hawes interjected with, "Yeah, that (distinction) really lost its appeal once he started parking in there."

But when the topic of working with Carril was discussed, there were no disagreements. They are both loving it.

"He has been so great since we've had him here," Hawes said. "You look at the guys Geoff (Petrie) historically likes, and he likes bigs who can shoot and pass and handle the ball like Jason and I can. That's a reflection of what 'Coachie' (Carril) instilled in him through the years."

Hawes and Thompson have both been amazed at Carril's memory, as he is frequently pinpointing specific plays and telling the youngsters where they went wrong and how they could have gone right. What's more, they were surprised to learn that Carril was scouting the Kings even before he was re-hired and often references games from early this season.

"His memory of games and individual plays is amazing," Hawes said. "He'll talk to me the next day and say, 'I want you to go right here now. You remember this play in the first quarter, you saw this guy, you tried this pass and you should've done this.' The details he picks up on and emphasizes really make a huge difference. Correcting those little things, I think, has really helped Jason and I a lot. It's paying dividends already, and it's only going to continue."

With Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Carril, Thompson and Hawes pushing to form the Kings' new frontcourt, the dynamic and chemistry couldn't be better right now. And when somebody is missing - as Carril was on a recent road trip - both players are still making a concerted effort to remember the lessons.

"I was working on passing it from the elbow, and the guard getting it to me and then looping it around," Thompson said. "So (in a game at Memphis in which Carril was not with the team) I threw it over to Kev (Martin) and I kind of pointed to the camera for 'Coachie.' Even though he wasn't at the game, I pointed to the camera and told him that was for him."

After talking to each member of the foursome, Abdur-Rahim was officially the only one who left me wanting more. I asked Reef to give me the No. 1 weakness for both player in great detail and explain why and how they need to get better, and he declined. Hawes and Thompson know the answer to that, he said, and that's really all that matters.

"I think if I had anything to say to them or a message to get to them, it would be that you have an opportunity now to play more and learn, but it's also a responsibility now that you have to come prepared to play every night and be locked in," Abdur-Rahim finally offered. "What happens now depends a lot more on what they do. It's on them.
"They're both really young. Who they are now and who they might be three years from now could be tremendous. They're going to get a lot better, a lot stronger, a lot more comfortable with what they do."

Yes, indeed, one part of the Kings' grand plan seems to be working fairly well. - Sam Amick



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