Stats & Info: Sacramento Kings

What to expect from top-10 in NBA Draft

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
11:10
AM ET
Lofty expectations from ownership make the NBA Draft a high-stakes affair for general managers and coaches. The perceived wrong move can doom the job of the guy who makes the final decision.

What can teams rightly expect to get with the top pick in the NBA Draft? What about the rest of the top 10?

To come up with an expectation for each pick, we developed a profile for each pick in the top 10 using average win shares per season and career games played. Looking at all players drafted from the NBA-ABA merger in 1976 to 2010, we identified a player who best matches that statistical profile.

Profiles were built using Basketball-Reference’s win shares, which measure a player’s contributions to a team in the wins his performance is expected to add. Average wins per season, listed with each pick below, are defined as the average win shares a player produced in each season he played in the NBA.

No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers – 5.6 wins per season, 745 games

Comparable players: James Worthy (5.4 wins/season), Yao Ming (5.5 wins/season)

James Worthy was a steady scorer in the NBA, as he averaged between 17.7 and 22.0 points per game in all 12 of his NBA seasons. He put up 14.8 career win shares in the playoffs.

Best-case scenario: LeBron James (CLE), 15.3 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Michael Olowokandi (LAC), 0.2 wins/season

No. 2 Milwaukee Bucks – 3.8 wins per season, 696 games

Comparable players: Marvin Williams (4.1 wins/season), Steve Francis (3.6 wins/season)

Steve Francis averaged 19.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game over the first six years of his career. He ranks 55th all-time with 6.0 assists per game in his career.

Best-case scenario: Kevin Durant (SEA), 12.7 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Darko Milicic (DET), 0.6 wins/season

No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers – 4.5 wins per season, 692 games

Comparable players: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (4.7 wins/season), Baron Davis (4.2 wins/season)

Before his career ended at the age of 31,Shareef Abdur-Rahim averaged 34.8 minutes per game, which is in the top 100 all-time.

Best-case scenario: Michael Jordan (CHI), 14.3 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Adam Morrison (CHA), -0.2 wins/season

No. 4 Orlando Magic – 3.8 wins per season, 695 games

Comparable players: Donyell Marshall (3.9 wins/season), Byron Scott (5.0 wins/season)

In his best seasons, between 1998 and 2004, Donyell Marshall averaged 14.0 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. He also reached a career-high 5.5 defensive win shares in 2003-04.

Best-case scenario: Chris Paul (NOH), 12.8 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Marcus Fizer (CHI), 0.2 wins/season

No. 5 Utah Jazz – 4.1 wins per season, 728 games

Comparable players: Devin Harris (4.2 wins/season), Juwan Howard (4.0 wins/season)

Juwan Howard ranks 33rd all-time with 1,208 career games played. He is in the top 100 all-time in field goals, rebounds, and points.

Best-case scenario: Kevin Garnett (MIN), 12.6 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Nikoloz Tskitishvili (DEN), -0.1 wins/season

No. 6 Boston Celtics – 2.3 wins per season, 535 games

Comparable players: Trent Tucker (2.3 wins/season), Martell Webster (2.7 wins/season)

Trent Tucker made a living as a bench player for most of his career, averaging 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per 36 minutes. He ranks 20th all-time with a 9.1 percent career turnover percentage.

Best-case scenario: Larry Bird (BOS), 9.7 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Jonny Flynn (MIN), -0.2 wins/season

No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers – 2.9 wins per season, 640 games

Comparable players: Eric Gordon (2.9 wins/season), Randy Foye (2.7 wins/season)

Eric Gordon has averaged 17.5 points per game in his career, including two seasons of 20 or more. Gordon made the All-NBA rookie team in 2008-09.

Best-case scenario: Stephen Curry (GSW), 7.6 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Quintin Dailey (CHI), 0.8 wins/season

No. 8 Sacramento Kings - 2.7 wins per season, 610 games

Comparable players: Chris Wilcox (2.2 wins/season), Brandan Wright (2.4 wins/season)

Although Chris Wilcox had an 11.9 usage percentage with the Celtics in the 2012-13 season, he was extremely efficient in the half-court on offense, averaging 1.17 points per such play, which led all players with at least 100 plays.

Best-case scenario: Robert Parish (BOS), 9.8 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Lancaster Gordon (LAC), -0.2 wins/season

No. 9 Charlotte Hornets - 3.4 wins per season, 650 Games

Comparable players: Gordon Hayward (3.8 wins/season), Rodney Rogers (2.6 wins/season)

Gordon Hayward has averaged 15.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game over the last two years. Last year, Hayward finished in the top 10 in the league with 36.4 minutes played per game.

Best-case scenario: Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), 12.3 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Patrick O’Bryant (GSW), 0.1 wins/season

No. 10 Philadelphia 76ers – 2.8 wins per season, 574 games

Comparable players: Spencer Hawes (2.5 wins/season), Andrew Bynum (4.2 wins/season)

Hawes finished tenth in the NBA by shooting 41.6 percent from behind the 3-point line last season. Hawes is averaging 14.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per 36 minutes in his career.

Best-case scenario: Paul Pierce (BOS), 9.6 wins/season
Worst-case scenario: Roy Hamilton (DET), 0.0 wins/season

Spurs advance to NBA Finals

June, 1, 2014
Jun 1
1:04
AM ET

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)Gregg Popovich (left) and Tim Duncan (right) advanced to the NBA Finals for the sixth time.
Game 6 was different than any other contest in the 2014 Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. After the first five games were decided by an average margin of 20.4 points per game, Game 6 was decided in overtime. After 23 lead changes and ties over the first five games, Game 6 featured 31 lead changes and ties. And that was just the beginning.

Spurs share the ball well, Thunder do not
The Spurs won the game by sharing the basketball, while the Thunder got 95 percent of their points from four players: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka. Only five players scored for the Thunder in Game 6, and those players attempted 78 of the team's 82 field goals. All 11 players who logged time for the Spurs in Game 6 shot the ball, and all but one scored.

San Antonio scored 51 bench points compared to just 5 for Oklahoma City, with the 46-point bench differential setting the mark for the largest in any game this season (regular season and playoffs).

A breakdown of each team’s half-court offense illustrates the offensive contrast. The Spurs had 288 passes on 105 half-court plays, while the Thunder had 137 on 100 half-court plays. One one hand, the 1.4 passes per play for the Thunder in Game 6 was their lowest of the series. On the other hand, the 2.7 passes per play for the Spurs was just above their average (2.5). Oklahoma City had 62 plays with one or fewer passes, while San Antonio had 31.

Thunder duo still dynamic
Lost in the shadow of defeat was a tremendous scoring effort from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Both scored at least 30 points in the same game for the eighth time in their postseason careers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that surpasses Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal for the second-most such games by a pair of teammates in NBA playoff history.

Westbrook had another stellar game in his own right. For the second time this postseason, Westbrook posted at least 30 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals in the same game, joining Michael Jordan as the only players with multiple 30-5-5-5 games in a single postseason. Jordan did so twice, in both 1989 (4) and 1990 (3).

Spurs reach NBA Finals
For the first time in franchise history, the Spurs will make back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals. This marks the sixth NBA Finals appearance in franchise history, all of which have come in the Tim Duncan-Gregg Popovich era.

Lurking in the NBA Finals are familiar foes in the Miami Heat, who defeated the Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals in seven games. This marks the first NBA Finals rematch since the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz met in consecutive Finals in 1997 and 1998.

San Antonio displayed great resilience, becoming the first team since 1988-89 Pistons to make it back to the NBA Finals after losing a Game 7 in the Finals the prior year. Spurs fans are hoping they emulate the success of the Bad Boys, as the Pistons won the 1989 Finals after suffering that Game 7 defeat in 1988.

Two best All-Star scorers take the floor

February, 16, 2013
2/16/13
9:03
PM ET

NBAE/Getty Images
Kevin Durant (left) and LeBron James have the two highest scoring averages in All-Star Game history.
We preview the NBA All-Star Game with 10 facts you need to know.

• Kevin Durant won his first All-Star Game MVP award last year after scoring 36 points. He’s scored 30 or more points in two straight All-Star Games, the only player in NBA history to accomplish that feat. His career scoring average (28.3 points) is an All-Star record (minimum 60 career points).

• LeBron James, making his ninth All-Star appearance, ranks second in career scoring average (25.9 points) in the game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, James has scored at least 20 points in each of his past seven All-Star Games, the longest such streak for any player in NBA history.

• Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett were selected to the All-Star Game for the 15th time. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has more career selections (19). Bryant’s 15 selections have come consecutively, the longest active streak. His 271 career points are the most in NBA history and his four MVPs are tied with Bob Pettit for most all time.

• Bryant and Dwight Howard are slated to start for the Western Conference, but the Los Angeles Lakers enter the All-Star break in 10th place in the West. According to Elias, the Lakers could be the fourth team since the merger (1976-77 season) to miss the playoffs in a season with two All-Star starters on the roster. The last team to do so was the 2005-06 Rockets (Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming).

The Lakers will also become the first team in All-Star Game history to start two different centers in back-to-back years (Andrew Bynum in 2012).

• The Miami Heat lead the way with three All-Star selections -- all three of whom will start -- becoming one of eight teams with multiple selections. According to Elias, they’ll be the sixth trio of teammates to start the All-Star Game following a championship season, and the first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy in 1986.

• Kyrie Irving is the sixth-youngest player ever selected to an All-Star team (he’ll be 20 years, 331 days old on Sunday).

• David Lee earned the Golden State Warriors' first All-Star selection since 1997 (Latrell Sprewell). That leaves the Milwaukee Bucks and the Sacramento Kings as the teams with the longest active streaks without an All-Star (nine seasons).

• Stephen Curry is averaging 21.0 points per game this season, the highest average for a player not selected to an All-Star team. Monta Ellis is fourth on that list (18.4), but he’s got the highest career points per game without ever being selected to the All-Star Game (minimum 400 games played).

Jeremy Lin
Lin
• Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets was the only player among the top 10 vote-getters who was not selected to the All-Star Game. He finished ninth, between Howard and Blake Griffin. Bryant led the way with more than 1.5 million votes, just ahead of James.

• The Eastern Conference leads the series 36-25, but the West has won two straight and three of the past four games. A third straight victory by the West would be tied for its longest win streak (three straight from 2002 to '04).

Kings draft targets: shooting and defense

June, 28, 2012
6/28/12
11:22
AM ET
The Sacramento Kings have needs across the board. With the No. 5 pick, will they be able to find a player to fill those needs? Here's a look at areas in which they struggled during the 2011-12 season:

SHOOTING
The Kings attempted more 3-pointers than most teams this season, but they had the second-worst 3-point percentage. They had the third-fewest points per jump shot, the second-fewest points per catch-and-shoot jumper, and the third-fewest points per jump shot off the dribble.

DEFENSE
The Kings allowed the most points and the highest field-goal percentage in the NBA this season. They played at the fastest pace in the league, so that had something to do with it, but they still allowed the third-most points per 100 possessions.

POST-UP PLAY
The Kings averaged the fourth-fewest points per post-up play this season. Only the Charlotte Bobcats, Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers were less efficient in the post, where the Kings shot just 39 percent. Their primary post player was DeMarcus Cousins, but of the 18 players with at least 300 post-up plays, nobody averaged fewer points per post-up play than Cousins.

TOP DRAFT TARGETS
Based on their statistical weaknesses, the Kings could use a a good shooter who can lock up defensively.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who's currently projected to go fourth to Cleveland in Chad Ford's latest mock draft, would certainly help defensively. At Kentucky, he held opponents to 30 percent shooting as an on-ball defender.

He excelled defending both the pick-and-roll and isolation plays. On those particular play types, he held opponents below 26 percent shooting. Of the 285 players who defended at least 50 pick-and-roll ball-handler plays, Kidd-Gilchrist allowed the fourth-fewest points per play.

But MKG isn't without some room for improvement himself. He shot just 25 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers and 20 percent on jumpers off the dribble.


Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.

Bobcats are not at odds with NBA lottery

May, 29, 2012
5/29/12
4:55
PM ET
With the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday (8 ET on ESPN), each non-playoff team’s fans are hoping that the ping-pong balls come out in their favor, giving them the No. 1 overall pick and a chance to select likely top choice, Anthony Davis.

Given each team's probability of winning the top pick in the lottery, here is a similar event related to that team that has approximately the same frequency.

Charlotte Bobcats (25.0 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Bobcats losing a game last season by at least 25 points. In 2011-12, the Bobcats lost 16 of 66 games (24.2 percent) of their games by at least 25 points.

Washington Wizards (19.9 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: John Wall scoring at least 24 points in a game last season.

New Orleans Hornets (14.8 percent, includes their own pick and the Timberwolves' pick)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Hornets winning a game by at least eight points last season.

Cleveland Cavaliers (13.8 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Kyrie Irving scoring more than 10 points in the fourth quarter of a game.

Sacramento Kings (7.6 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins combining for 50 points in a game last season.

Brooklyn Nets (7.5 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Deron Williams scoring at least 25 points and also having 10 assists in a game last season.

Golden State Warriors (3.6 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Stephen Curry scoring at least 25 points and also having 10 assists in a game last season.

Toronto Raptors (3.5 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Andrea Bargnani scoring at least 35 points in a game in 2011-12.

Detroit Pistons (1.7 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Greg Monroe having a 30-point, 15-rebound game last season.

Portland Trail Blazers (0.8 pecent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: LaMarcus Aldridge scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in a half last season.

Milwaukee Bucks (0.7 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Brandon Jennings making five 3-point field goals in a half in 2011-12.

Phoenix Suns (0.6 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: Steve Nash making 50 straight free throws during his career.

Houston Rockets (0.5 percent)
Team-Related Event with Similar Frequency: NBA team finishing two to four games above .500 and missing playoffs in three straight seasons (which the Rockets have, in fact, done the last three seasons).

Defense in decline since Rubio's injury

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
1:09
PM ET
Ever since point guard Ricky Rubio was lost for the season with a torn ACL on March 9, the Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled. They were 21-20 when he got hurt and are 4-11 since then, and much of the Timberwolves’ struggles are on the defensive end.
Ricky Rubio
Rubio

Rubio is not the quickest player, but his length and size helped cover a lot of ground. Without Rubio -- who ranks third in the league in steals per game (2.22) -- the Timberwolves have had to rely more on smaller guards like J.J. Barea (6-0) and Luke Ridnour (6-2), both of whom rank in the bottom 40 percent in points per play allowed.

The Timberwolves are fine offensively without Rubio. In fact, they've scored two more points per 100 possessions with Rubio off the floor. Defensively they've allowed seven more points per 100 possessions without him and are allowing 11 more points per game.

Minnesota’s opponents have scored 100 or more points in nine of the last 15 games after scoring at least 100 in 17 of 41 games that Rubio played.

But how are opponents scoring so much more lately?

Without Rubio on the court this season, Minnesota’s opponents are scoring 22 percent more fast-break points, 11 percent more second-chance points and 4 percent more points in the paint.

However, with Rubio not on the court at all anymore, those numbers have been amplified even more over the last 15 games. Minnesota’s opponents are scoring 30 percent more fast-break points, 14 percent more second-chance points and 14 percent more points in the paint.

Some of those increased easy baskets -- fast breaks, second-chance points, points in the paint -- can be attributed to Nikola Pekovic missing eight of the last 15 games with an ankle injury. But more of it can be attributed to Rubio's injury; the Timberwolves have had trouble stopping opposing guards from penetrating and dishing.

Over the last 15 games, opposing guards have an assist-to-turnover ratio better than three-to-one. In the 15 games before Rubio’s injury, that ratio was less than two-to-one.

On March 12, the Phoenix Suns guards combined for 74 points, 16 assists and two turnovers. On April 2 against the Sacramento Kings, Isaiah Thomas had 17 points, five assists and no turnovers.

In Wednesday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors, guard Charles Jenkins had 19 points, seven assists and two turnovers as Golden State erased a 20-point deficit with 58 second-half points.

Not having Rubio also impacts the Timberwolves on the boards. He averaged 4.2 rebounds per game, which ranks 10th among guards.

The Timberwolves were strong playoff contenders before Rubio’s injury. Now, they're in last place in the Northwest Division, five games out of the playoffs with 10 games left to play.

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