Last night was one of the greatest basketball games I’ve ever watched in person, and I’m at an all-time high about my expectations for the Kings’ season going forward. I still would like to think of myself as an honest and realistic fan, however, so I’m still on my way back down to Earth.
It’s been a rough season. We’re currently 3-8 and have witnessed a two-game winning streak along with a seven-game losing streak. Tonight was our second win of that streak, and despite being considered one of the worst teams in the league in the power rankings and record department, last night’s win defined the Kings’ season so far perfectly.
1. George Hill
You may find this hard to believe if you’re not watching all of the games, but the guy we signed this offseason to be our leader on and off the court is playing like the worst player on the team. That’s right. George Hill already deserves to have his starting duties relieved by De’Aaron Fox who is clearly the better player.
Coming into the season, I thought Hill was perfect for us. He would be able to start and run our offense. If we wanted Fox to start alongside him, he would be able to spot-up in the corners as well, providing our promising young star with another shooter. Unfortunately for the Kings, however, Hill is averaging the least amounts of points on the worst shooting percentages since his rookie season.
We are seeing a George Hill that hasn’t been seen before (and not in a good way). Hill was always known as the efficient, three-point shooting, defensive point guard who could fit seamlessly into any system without demanding the ball. From what I’ve seen this season, those observations are clearly incorrect. Often times, he stalls the ball at the top of the key for 5+ seconds, only to pass it off to one of our young guys to iso the rest of the clock away.
2. Zach Randolph
Not to the extent of George Hill, Zach Randolph has also not looked like himself. I understand he’s getting older and we can’t expect him to be the same guy he was with the Grizzlies, but like George Hill, he is averaging near career lows in both points and rebounds. His mobility is at an all-time low, and often times he looks lost on defense. Leading perfectly into quite possibly the biggest disappointment this season…
3. Dave Joerger
Last season, I was pumped for Dave Joerger. He became the coach of a team who was on the rise with a relatively young superstar in Demarcus Cousins. For the majority of the year, he looked to be leading his team to the playoffs until the trade deadline struck. Demarcus Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, and Joerger’s job was immediately shifted into a rebuilding effort.
Following the trade, Joerger really impressed me. He gave increased minutes to Malachi Richardson and Skal Labissiere and despite not winning a lot of games, fans saw improvements and a really fun product on the floor. Transitioning into this year, Joerger has shown me an absolute 180 in regards to his coaching style from last year.
Due to his past relationship with Zach Randolph, he is consistently giving him increased minutes over many of our young bigs like Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis. Not only this, but Joerger continues to give increased starting minutes to George Hill. I’m all about playing veterans over young players to teach them, but when the young players are already better than the veterans, what’s the point?