The Kings would love to run more and score in transition.
Their opponents know it, too.
In their first game since trading DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento came out running with 11 fast-break points in the first half Thursday against the Denver Nuggets. The Kings have three fast-break points in the six quarters since.
The Kings have struggled to score in transition all season. Entering Sunday, they were 26th in the NBA in fast-break points with 10.4 per game. Improving that mark will be difficult because opponents realize the Kings will try to run as much as possible while adjusting their halfcourt offense minus Cousins.
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We’ve got to to be a good halfcourt offensive team. ... They know we want to run. They know guys who can try to get out in transition. (The Hornets) did a good job of getting back in transition, clogged the paint on us, so we’ve got to do a better job of trying to move the ball and having better spacing.
Darren Collison, Kings guard
Injuries and new players make it difficult to reconfigure the halfcourt strategy.
“I know we have a lot more plays that coach wants to put in, but we’re still trying to work the new guys in,” guard Darren Collison said. “Once we work that in, we can go into a variety of sets instead of just being simplified. It’s tough right now.”
The Kings have plenty of wing players, with at least three more (Arron Afflalo, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson) due back from injuries at various times.
Coach Dave Joerger must rely on younger players while asking everyone to assume a bigger role on offense.
The Kings can expect opponents to mimic what the Charlotte Hornets did in beating the Kings on Saturday – get physical with the younger players and flood the lane with defenders to reduce easy scoring chances.
10.4 Kings’ fast-break points per game, 26th in the NBA
Joerger said part of his job is to get players more comfortable with expanded roles.
“It’s harder to go the other way – from when you think you’re a feature guy to your coach saying you should dial it back here a little bit,” Joerger said. “Our job is to try to get better every day, and we saw some improvement ... We get back and watch some tape and see some of the things that (Marco) Belinelli and (Nicolas) Batum and those guys that have more experience that do certain things to our younger guys where you’re like, ‘OK, now I just need to try to keep getting better,’ and you keep trying to learn.”
Collison said the Kings must create more transition points with their defense. But teams will get back on defense as quickly as possible to force the Kings to execute their halfcourt offense.
“We’ve got to to be a good halfcourt offensive team,” Collison said. “ ... They know we want to run. They know guys who can try to get out in transition. (The Hornets) did a good job of getting back in transition, clogged the paint on us, so we’ve got to do a better job of trying to move the ball and having better spacing.”