In what has become a sporadic game day tradition, various beat writers, bloggers, online journalist and columnists will join me throughout the season in bringing you an inside look at teams from around the league as they prepare to take on the Portland Trail Blazers. Today it’s all Amick with the Blazers (7-5) visiting the Kings (5-8) on Friday.
Man, Reggie Theus looks like a young Lando Calrissian in that throwback….
Is this how you thought the season would start for you guys?
Well I’d obviously be a liar if I said yes. The injuries (Kevin Martin and Francisco Garcia mainly) have opened up minutes for some of the young guys, and they have mostly surprised in a big way. Rookie forward Jason Thompson has been very good, fellow rookie Donte’ Greene just broke out for 15 points in his first start and second-year center Spencer Hawes has taken a quantum leap from last season.
Now as to their recent Jekyl and Hyde road trip (lose to Memphis and beat New Orleans) that happened time and again last season when they fell to horrible teams and downed great ones.
That was my next question….the Kings lose to the Grizzlies and then turn around and beat the Hornets. Who are these Kings right now?
It’s something else though, that phenomenon. On the one hand, you’ve got to call it a lack of focus against bad teams and some complacency there. On the flip side, I wonder if the lack of pressure or expectation when they face good teams allows them to play much more free. I can’t explain it, though.
You mentioned Martin and Garcia, who else should Portland be concerned with?
I’d say (Jason) Thompson. Considering there was a time not too long ago when the Kings were pondering ways to get the Blazers’ own LaMarcus Aldridge via trade, they’re now hoping the rookie out of Rider University is the answer to a power forward problem that has been there since Chris Webber left town.
Portland and Sacramento last met in the preseason at the Rose Garden when Greg Oden had his way with both Spencer Hawes and Mikki Moore. How do they contain him this time around?
I think they may just ask Greg to lighten up a bit. Other than that, there’s not much they can do other than agitate him right when he gets the ball on offense and surround him on the glass with the intent of poking the ball wherever he’s not. The Kings have been getting killed by the three-ball, so you won’t see much doubling down low.
Last one for you….former NBA point guard Kevin Johnson was recently elected Mayor of Sacramento. How does Johnson being in office benefit the Kings’ future in Sacramento? Or does it?
Without knowing all of his politics (I don’t vote because I live outside the city), I do see it as a good thing. On image alone, he brings a major boost to a city that needs it right now. What’s more, the backdrop is that of an incumbent mayor in Heather Fargo who is widely perceived as solid but far from dynamic. I know the Maloofs love the pick, as it certainly doesn’t hurt their efforts to get a new arena built in Sacramento if only because Johnson places great value on the Kings being here. It’ll be interesting.
pic via: nbrpa.com