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  • Isaiah Thomas: "Offensively, our spacing is horrible," he says.

  • Hector Amezcua / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com Kings guard Marcus Thornton hopes things start looking up soon. Sacramento, 25th in the NBA in scoring at 90.8 points per game, has been held to 86 points in each of its past two home games.

Kings plagued by poor shooting again

Published: Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 - 1:39 pm

It's early in the season, but the Kings are one of the worst-shooting teams in the NBA again.

In case the players didn't know their numbers, the coaching staff presented them with their shooting percentages for the season Thursday.

"Sometimes as you move through the season, players get away from really looking at their numbers," said Kings coach Keith Smart. "I bet you half of them probably really didn't know what they were shooting."

It would be hard to blame the players for not wanting to know.

The Kings are shooting 40.8 percent, 27th in the NBA entering Thursday. And they're making just 27.9 percent of their three-point shots, tied for last.

The Kings shot 43.6 percent last season, 26th in the NBA, but averaged 98.8 points, sixth overall, by playing at a fast pace. This season, they are averaging just 90.8 points, 25th in the league.

"Offensively, our spacing is horrible," guard Isaiah Thomas said. "Everyone is on top of each other, and that's what we need to fix first and foremost."

Smart has added more motion sets to the halfcourt offense in an effort to improve spacing and ball movement. But it doesn't matter what plays are run if the players can't make shots.

"When we get layups in the paint, floaters, whatever they might be, we're not making them," Thomas said. "I know we can."

The Kings do better near the rim, making 57.7 percent (150 of 260) of their shots from five feet and closer, according to NBA.com/stats. But they've made just 36.1 percent of shots (35 of 91) in the paint in the non-restricted area near the rim. And on mid-range jump shots, they're shooting only 30.2 percent (60 of 199).

Considering the Kings' poor shooting, it's no surprise they also are last in assists at 16.9 per game.

"I have talks with (Smart) every day, like, 'Man, I can't get any assists,' " Thomas said. "He's like, 'For the most part, it's not your fault. We're not making shots.' "

Aside from poor spacing and ball movement, the Kings often settle for what the defense wants them to take, even a poor-percentage shot.

"The next part of (improving on offense) is the player being smarter and knowing when a team is baiting him," Smart said. "What's next (is), can I get to the free-throw line? Can I make a pass to a player that is a higher-percentage shooter?"

That also means knowing when to get out of the way for a teammate who has an advantage, and that's problematic when ball movement stalls and players try to get the ball by moving closer to whoever has it.

"Letting guys get active on the offensive end (is important)," Thomas said. "A guy like Tyreke (Evans) needs space to make his moves and get to the hole, and we need to know that."

The Kings have topped 100 points only once in eight games and have been held to 86 points in each of their past two home games.

If the Kings hope to win more often, they must make shots more consistently.

"Eighty six points is not us," Evans said. "We've just got to get better."

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Read more articles by Jason Jones



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