Kings’ veteran players dropping the ball
The Kings appear to lack meaningful leadership.
Playing defense, carrying out assignments and beating opponents down the floor are in large part the result of focus and desire, the kind of steely-eyed, hard-nosed, uncompromising approach that can raise mediocre to good, good to excellent.
So far, the Kings have shown little of that.
Veterans often are catalysts, the guys who show how to get it done, but they need to have more than character and a steady demeanor to get others to follow. They need to make big defensive plays and make open jumpers when it counts most.
Pros will follow nice guys to dinner, but unless nice guys can string together quality minutes that turn games around, all they do is make for a sedate locker room.
Six Kings players are in at least their fifth NBA season. Of those, three — Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and Jason Thompson — are getting significant minutes, from about 19 (Thompson) to about 28 (Thornton) a game. None scores or rebounds at a rate that could be called game-changing or even significant.
So far, expectations of the veterans are not being met. There's nothing around which to coalesce, no one guy with a dependable 3-pointer or timely offensive rebound in his back pocket.
Someone might emerge as that canny veteran leader. But more likely a small handful of young players are going to have to shoulder the load and try to figure out how to keep it together through what could be a very trying season.
And, ultimately, Kings personnel experts will need to do their jobs better and find – and sign – those very important missing pieces.