The 10-22 Sacramento Kings are in town to take on the 7-25 Wizards, and believe it or not, this is the first meeting between John Calipari disciples John Wall and Tyreke Evans (Evans was out due to injury for the game in Washington, Wall out for the game in Sacramento on Dec. 8, 2010). But between a Wizards team that’s horrible on the defensive boards and a Kings team that’s good on the offensive boards, who knows where this game will go; the Wizards are favored by three points. For tonight’s 3-on-3 we have Jonathan Santiago (@itsjonsantiago) from Kings TrueHoop blog Cowbell Kingdom, along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley (@rashad20) and Kyle Weidie (@truth_about_it)… three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Rank DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans, JaVale McGee, John Wall in the order that you would draft them… What’s the reasoning behind your order?
SANTIAGO: DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall, Tyreke Evans and JaVale McGee. Outside of Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, there is no other center in the league that can dominate a game like Cousins. Both Wall and Evans play the same position, but Wall is more of a true point guard than Evans. McGee is gifted athletically and physically, but does he have the basketball IQ to put it all together?
MOBLEY: Wall is first, because of his tremendous speed, his ability to get to the line at will, and lately, he seems to understand how to play the point guard position now (his application of that knowledge is still inconsistent). Then there is Evans, who is playing much better under the Keith Smart regime and seems to thrive as a 2-guard instead of the point. I still think Wall can have more of an impact on any given night. JaVale McGee gets the number three ranking, because his positives (shot blocking, a hook shot in its embryonic stages and semi-improved court awareness) are starting to emerge victorious over his negatives (excessive dribbling, susceptibility to pump fakes and bad decision making). DeMarcus Cousins has the potential to lap this field, but he disappears at times (like he did last night against Heat with just nine points and seven rebounds), and he’s a threat to meltdown at any moment; he’s not a player you want to have to depend on nightly.
WEIDIE: If JaVale McGee or DeMarcus Cousins weren’t themselves, either could go first. But seeing as both have more knuckles than a flash mob street fight coming out of their heads, I’d have to go with Wall. Tyreke Evans obviously has less true PG skills and falls into a tweener category, which means I’d draft him fourth. McGee would go third because Cousins is simply more of a beast than he is… which is almost as rare as McGee’s athletic length these days. Cousins goes second because of mental instability (although this is a very close second in front of McGee). And Wall would be my first selection. His one-man fast-break blazing speed combined with his willingness to pass first could be scary given the right teammates.
#2) Which bench player from either team will have the most impact on the game? (Note: a 3-guard lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins have started the last three games for Sacramento; John Wall, Nick Young, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker and JaVale McGee have started the last eight games for Washington.)
SANTIAGO: Jordan Crawford. Per 36 minutes, the guy is averaging 17.9 points per game. I could see him coming off the bench to provide some firepower, just as he did Monday against Phoenix when he led Washington in scoring with 20 points.
MOBLEY: It is tempting to say Jordan Crawford because a) he’s been playing well as of late, and b) he’s a volume shooter who can will his way to a 20-point night. But the safer bet is Chuck Hayes, simply because he will be the strongest guy on the floor by far. He’s stronger than McGee and Booker, and he knows how to use his body much better than Kevin Seraphin. I could see Chuck Hayes putting up 10 points with 13 to 17 rebounds—mostly on the offensive end.
WEIDIE: Would you blame me if I chose the Jimmer? Outside shooters give the Wizards fits, and with Fredette leading the Kings, shooting 37.3-percent from deep, he just might get the run to establish a new career high in points (which is currently 20, coming in a 128-95 blowout loss to the Grizzlies on Jan. 21).
#3) Combined, the Wizards (15.7) and the Kings (15.3) average over 30 turnovers per game. Each team is also tied for playing at the fifth fastest pace in the NBA (average of 93.4 possessions per 48 minutes). Which squad is better equipped to limit the potential sloppiness (and win)? NOTE: Give a final score prediction after you answer.
SANTIAGO: The Kings. Last night Sacramento was only outscored 19-17 in fastbreak points by the Miami Heat. They racked up 15 turnovers, but dished out 24 assists. That’s pretty impressive considering the Heat are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Prediction: 92-87 Kings over Wizards
MOBLEY: The Kings average 15.3 turnovers, but they’ve been able to shrink that average to 11 since Isaiah Thomas moved into the starting lineup (the rookie is only averaging 2.3 turnovers per game), so I expect that trend to continue. Wall has averaged four turnovers in the month of February (including consecutive seven-turnover games against the Heat and the Pistons), and it cannot be discounted that he’s facing off against his main man, DeMarcus Cousins. That may inflate the turnover number a bit as well. I expect the Cousins to bounce back from last night and have a big game, and the Kings will win, 103-93.
WEIDIE: I think the Wizards are better equipped. The Kings are starting a rookie, Isaiah Thomas, at the point. Sacramento’s other top two usage guys, Evans and Cousins, are also their biggest turnovers per 36 minutes culprits. Plus, the Kings are on the second night of a back-to-back (lost in Miami last night), as this is also the last contest of a six game road trip (Kings are 0-5). The Wizards, with an off day Tuesday, should have the fresher legs… but we’ve heard that one before. And not like John Wall isn’t apt to turn the ball over, but I see him as leading his team to a win in this last game before the All-Star break. Wizards 107, Kings 101.