It’s difficult to predict an enigma. Enigmatic: The Warriors stand 7 games above 0.500 heading into tonight’s match with the Sacramento Kings, yet on the season, GSW is something of a Pythagorean W-L outlier, having been outscored by their opponents. Enigmatic: While we’ve seen our Warriors defeat the Spurs, Heat, Thunder, Clippers and Nuggets, five teams who collectively represent the only franchises to have thus far reached 40 wins, we’ve dropped a pair to Orlando, and a pair to the Kings. The quality of wins and losses has also been at od
Those two losses to the Kings come into focus tonight as the Warriors hope to add a second win to the homestand. Both previous meetings with tonight’s opponent occurred on the in Sacramento and the Kings presently possess the league’s worst road record. (Perhaps empty seats --Sacramento is last in home attendance-- inspire the Kings.) This bodes well for tonight’s matchup as the Warriors aim to add a second win against a weaker opponent on the current 7-game homestand.
But the Kings are still "young" and have some players with "potential". Front and center should be DeMarcus Cousins. The center is huge and can suck in rebounds with the league’s best and is a reasonably effective passer in the post. If he’s not having his typically large volume of missed shots, Cousins can hurt an opponent. However, the 3rd year big man seems to have limited self-awareness when it comes to his own weaknesses as a player. Cousins often finds himself far from ‘front and center’ on the court. Roughly a quarter of his shots can be classified as "long twos", though he’s not particularly accurate from this range. Cousins also seems to wear down late in games. Second nights in back-to-backs (Sacramento lost last night to the Nuggets) are typically problematic. The Warriors’ multi-headed center would do well to challenge him inside and allow him to be his own worst enemy from longer range.
Former rookie-of-the-year Tyreke Evans is also dangerous. The talented guard has played fewer minutes (31.2mpg) in this his fourth season than in year’s past, but he has been a more efficient scorer.
But to delve much deeper into the Kings roster is to see their limitations. Evans’ starting back-court mate Isaiah Thomas is amongst the league’s shortest players. Consequently, one might be inclined to think him a defensive liability, but reserves Jimmer Fredette and Aaron Brooks have not been any improvement. Marcus Thornton, hot of late on offense, has also had a negative impact on both ends of the court. Especially if Steph Curry can continue his post-All-Star-snub spite-fest, this looks to be a contest where theWarriors backcourt should dominate. The Kings lack size off the bench and have to rely on Chuck Hayes to back up Cousins. David Lee and Carl Landry should look to capitalize on this and put points on the board, and our centers should find points easier to come by as well.
Two previous losses? Small.Sample.Size. On any given night, any team in the Association can win. But on glance, this should be a W for the W’s, two previous losses notwithstanding. The homestand does not look to get easier. It’s time to put points on the board. The Kings own the league’s worst defense. The Warriors can look to try to right themselves with Pythagoras.