One thing that I didn’t really touch on during my individual player grades is how truly, truly awful this team is on defense.
Offensively, the Kings are capable of keeping up with anyone in stretches. They are athletic, they can run and their fast breaks and offensive sets are visibly improving with every game they play together.
But defensively they are, and I write this without any sense of hyperbole or exaggeration, consistently the worst team I have ever seen.
Opponents don’t just get quality shots against the Kings. They get shots that are completely unguarded. Shots that are taken without a defender within a five-foot radius of them. It is truly frustrating.
It is frustrating because defense is all about hustle and effort. There are teams right now in the NBA who don’t have great defensive players, but manage to put together solid team defense because they hustle back after missed shots, don’t complain about no-calls, communicate with each other and never leave the man with the ball.
These are all things that the Kings do on a nightly basis.
Offensively, the Kings have as much potential as any team in the league. But basketball is played on both ends of the floor.
So even though the future of the Kings might be bright (then again, it might not be), even though Tyreke is back and Demarcus has flashes of brilliance and Thornton is a gifted scorer, I can’t give this team a passing grade.
They are close. Very close. And I think with time and more practice (and the addition of a true point guard), they will get there.
But at this moment, they aren’t there. At this moment, they are an incomplete, one-dimensional team. And I have to grade them as such.