Luc Mbah a Moute’s statistical impact might not have been eye-catching, but it will take all the Kings to replace what he provided.
The Kings were happy to welcome Derrick Williams for Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. To acquire Williams, the Kings traded Mbah a Moute, their best one-on-one defender, to Minnesota on Tuesday.
Williams replaced Mbah a Moute in the starting lineup at small forward, but he won’t be asked to replace Mbah a Moute’s defensive prowess by himself.
“That’s where our team defense has to be that much better,” Kings coach Michael Malone said. “We don’t have that one great defensive stopper that Luc gave us. What’s required is five guys working as one on defense.”
Mbah a Moute also was valuable because of his versatility. When the Kings played the Clippers last Saturday in Los Angeles, Mbah a Moute guarded All-Star power forward Blake Griffin and All-Star point guard Chris Paul.
Nevertheless, Malone, a coach who preaches defense first, was happy to have Williams.
Williams should help the Kings become more athletic and boost their offense, which has shown a tendency to become stagnant. That doesn’t make the loss of Mbah a Moute easier to absorb, especially in the immediate future.
“When you lose a guy like Luc who can guard Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the same game, you’re taking a hit on the defensive end of the floor,” Malone said.
Kidd did that in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday when he told Nets guard Tyshawn Taylor to bump into him to cause the spill.
The NBA didn’t find it funny and fined Kidd $50,000.
Rivers wasn’t surprised a coach would try some sort of delay strategy with no timeouts.
“It’s been thought of, put it that way,” Rivers said. “I just don’t know if anyone’s done it. Now someone’s done it.”
Rivers was then asked if he’d ever try such a tactic.
“No, no,” he said. “I’m just an honest, clean person.”
After not playing the previous four games, Marcus Thornton was back in the rotation as the backup to Ben McLemore. Jimmer Fredette had been playing the backup minutes the previous four games.