USA TODAY Sports
Malone needs to stress better awareness to players, such Ben McLemore, when they're guarding three-point shooters.
Beyond struggling to defend the rim, the Kings also have issues stopping three-point shots.
Opponents shot a sizzling 38 percent from downtown against the Kings, which was 29th in the league. The Milwaukee Bucks—who allowed opponents to shoot 38.2 percent from three-point range—were the only worse team.
Furthermore, it's not like Sacramento's opponents just happened to get hot on the occasions when they shot from deep. The Kings also gave up 696 three-pointers, which ranks 25th. So not only did the team's opponents display efficiency from downtown, but they also hit three-pointers frequently.
The Kings allowed opponents to hit 15 or more three-pointers on six occasions, including a night in which the Los Angeles Lakers nailed 19 from downtown.
A large part of this can be remedied by better awareness. One game, in particular, comes to mind as an example.
Against the Toronto Raptors on Feb. 5, the team allowed Steve Novak to hit three treys during the fourth quarter. It wasn't so much that his output was noteworthy. What did stand out, however, was who did it.
Novak's only discernible skill is three-point shooting, yet Ben McLemore, who was guarding him, kept leaving him to help double-team elsewhere. With a little awareness, McLemore would have realized that Novak is the one guy you don't leave open in that situation.
The Kings ended up winning that game, so it didn't come back to haunt them that night, but it has on other occasions. On Feb. 28, the Lakers' Jordan Farmar hit eight three-pointers in a Sacramento loss.
Adding better perimeter defenders would help, but that's not necessary. The Kings just need to be more aware of their surroundings when they provide help defense. Part of that should improve with more time in head coach Mike Malone's system and with more experience from players such as McLemore.