Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings
Sleep Train Arena
7:00 p.m. PST
November 29, 2013
FOX Prime Ticket
1. What kind of a job has rookie head coach Mike Malone done so far in his short time in Sacramento?
Fred Katz, (@FredKatz): The ball movement is better than it’s been in years past. Maybe that’s a product of the Kings saying bye to Tyreke Evans and letting Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas now handle the ball most often. But maybe it’s a product of Malone, who went to Golden State as an assistant last year and immediately improved the Warriors’ offense as well.
Davis Vo, (@davisvo): Mike Malone is well respected for his previous work and was brought in to stabilize the Kings’ organization. This was never going to be an easy task, and while we’ve seen flashes of excellence from the Kings, they have often resorted back to their selfish brand of basketball. But players have spoken kindly of Malone, and I’ve never seen DeMarcus Cousins so consistently engaged, so there’s progress being made.
Jacob Frankel, (@jacob_frankel): It hasn’t been great. Sacramento is still miserable on defense and hasn’t shown that much creativity on the offensive end. But this is one of the most poorly constructed rosters in the league and we’re only 12 games in. It could take Malone a while to get his system fully implemented and the players buying in.
2. Is Isaiah Thomas’ production sustainable through the season?
Katz: Thomas probably won’t have a 23.1 PER and a 60 percent true shooting percentage by the end of the year, but his highly productive season is hardly a fluke. Thomas is running lots of pick-and-roll, getting to the rim well, and hitting 42 percent of his threes. He has one of the quickest releases in the league, which makes it even harder for players to defend him when he goes around picks. You just can’t go under screens against him. Are the raw numbers sustainable? Likely no. But is Thomas becoming a very good player capable of running an offense and doing it productively? Likely yes.
Vo: His 3-point percentage might dip a bit, but why not? The problem for Thomas has always been opportunity, and now with more consistent burn, he is getting the chance to showcase his energetic and dazzling offensive game. The Clippers have had trouble containing Thomas in their meetings this season, and I’ve been more than happy about it. Count me in as an Isaiah Thomas fan.
Frankel: The level of production he is at now isn’t sustainable, but this is a process and results thing. Thomas is doing a lot of what he does best – the pick and roll – and while this level of shooting isn’t sustainable, he’ll continue to succeed to a slightly lesser degree.
3. Does Jared Dudley or J.J. Redick finish the season with a better three-point percentage?
Katz: I’ll say Dudley if only because Redick will likely edge Dudley in volume. The more shots you take, the more you miss. The Clippers run plays for Redick. He actually takes contested shots, unlike Dudley, who hasn’t taken a bad shot all season. All of Dudley’s shots are open, which means he probably has the better chance at edging Redick in three-point percentage.
Vo: They’re even right now, but I got Dudley for his more consistent shooting history. Redick is the better offensive player so he’s been getting more plays run for him (5.5 3PA to Dudley’s 3.6), but Dudley gets easier looks. For seasons where Dudley has averaged 3.0 3PA, he has never shot under 38 percent. Redick’s two seasons of averaging 5.0 3PA are a bit more dicey: he’s shot ~32 percent and 39 percent.
Frankel: They’re pretty equal right now but Dudley edges Redick in career three-point percentage. Dudley will also take fewer and easier shots which should boost his efficiency over of that of Redick.