Time to Make Like Brian Boru and Subjugate some Kings

Matchup: Hornets(45-27) @ Kings(16-56)

Off Efficiency: Hornets 106.4(11th), Kings 102.4(25th)
Def Efficiency: Hornets 103.4(8th), Kings 111.3(30th)

Like all bad teams, the Kings are capable of surprising nights.  Earlier this year, they took one against the Hornets, and in their last game, they scored 105 points through the first three quarters, finishing with 126 points in a win against the Suns.

When you look at their team stats, it stands out just how few of their baskets are assisted, despite a pretty solid True Shooting %.  Only 13.7% of the King’s possessions end in an assisted basket, tying for second to last in the league behind woeful Memphis.  This isn’t too surprising of a number, considering the Kings are made up of a bunch of very young players, their primary scorers are slashers who dominate the ball, and their point guard isn’t much of a creator. 

The Kings will push opponents that don’t have solid one on one defenders and big men able to rotate and cover penetration.  An example is the Suns, a notoriously weak bunch of individual defenders backed up by the lumbering Shaq in the paint.  The Hornets should be able to win this game fairly handily – but only if they come in willing to move their feet – which sometimes they seem loathe to do.


Hornets: Chandler Out, Posey Out, Peja listed Day to Day, but you know how that is.
Kings: None

Positional Analysis

PG: Beno Udrih v Chris Paul
Advantage: Hornets
Beno has the talent to be a career backup at point guard, but has been given the starting role in Sacramento.  His outside shot is weak, but he does have a nice ability to get in the lane and finish at times.  He’s just not much of an impact player.  I don’t really need to say anything about Paul here.

SG: Kevin Martin v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Kings
This is a tough matchup.  Martin has a bit more speed than I think Butler handles easily defensively, and he is very, very good at drawing contact, managing a crazy 10 free throw attempts per game.  His 1.53 points per shot efficiency is easily top amongst guards.  His defense isn’t much to write home about, but Butler has been in a terrible slump.  Maybe this game will cure him of it.  If it doesn’t, this position could be a problem.

SF: Andres Nocioni v Julian Wright
Advantage: Kings
Both of these guys are high energy players who will work hard, cut happily to the basket, and play aggressive one on one defense.  Both are also mistake prone, loving to follow the ball, and frequently leaving their guy open on the perimeter.  Julian is a better one on one defender – but Nocioni can shoot the hell out of the ball.  That will probably cause a few problems when Julian goes roaming.  When Nocioni goes roaming, Julian isn’t a major threat to score from the perimeter.  Advantage Kings.

PF: Jason Thompson v David West
Advantage: Hornets
Thompson is a nice young player, posting better than average rebounding numbers for a power forward, and showing a solid ability to finish around the basket.  His defense isn’t fantastic, and David West should be able to post him pretty effectively.  West has slowly been returning to last years form after his back problems re-surfaced in January, and I haven’t seen him bouncing on that ball to keep his back loose for a couple weeks.  He should control this position.

C: Spencer Hawes v Hilton Armstrong
Advantage: Even
The truth about Hawes is he’s not much of a Center right now, despite Sacramento’s hope he is the answer in the pivot.  Hilton Armstrong has been coming on the last month and playing with more confidence then I’ve ever seen from him.  It’s been quite refreshing, though I’d still like a few more rebounds.  Hawes has had one of his most productive months as well.  Here’s how the two stack up during March, if they both played 36 minutes.

Hawes: 15.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, .4 steals, .5 blocks, 4.0 fouls with 55% shooting.
Armstrong: 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, .8 steals, 2.1 blocks, 5.4 fouls with 65% shooting.

Those fouls are a big problem for Hilton, but Hilton’s defense is a few notches higher than Hawes’s defense.  Sure, Hawes is only 20 and Armstrong 24, but there isn’t much different between the two right now.

Advantage: Even
Franciso Garcia, Rashad McCants, Bobby Jackson, and Calvin Booth take on the Hornet’s depleted bench of Daniels, Marks, Devin Brown and Morris Peterson.  Garcia and McCants have both shown a nice ability to drive and score on their own, shooting at a pretty nice clip.  Bobby is old, but still has one good game out of every six or seven he plays.  However, Calvin Booth is terrible, and there isn’t any other big man on this team that gets minutes – or is worth any minutes.  That will make it easier on the Hornets when they go small with West in the center and Julian at the power forward spot.  It should also make it even easier to dominate the boards.

Enjoy the game.  Points to anyone not named Niall who knew who Brian Boru was without going to Wikipedia!

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