You thought the 2008 economic crisis was bad? The Sacramento Kings are in a years-long downturn, but the team does possess assets performing surprisingly well. The Kings own junk stocks too, but with the 2013-14 season about 30 percent finished, we can review the club’s two best and worst producers in respect to their cost.
Isaiah Thomas: Thomas continues to defy expectations with a torrid start to 2013-14. The sixtieth pick in 2011 didn’t start this season until the nineteenth game, but through 24 contests he is recording a career-high 30.4 minutes a night. Thomas is also setting career-marks with an 18.9 points-per-game average on 46.3 percent shooting (41.8 percent from downtown) while recording an eye-popping 22.8 Player Efficiency Rating (the NBA average is roughly 15). The second coming of Damon Stoudamire remains an inconsistent facilitator and subpar defender, but he is the making the most of a contract year.
DeMarcus Cousins: Cousins (see: the franchise) is becoming a smarter player and wasting less time floating around the perimeter. The center is currently taking 70.1 percent of his shots within nine feet (in 2012-13 he took 66.3 percent) while lowering his attempts between 15 and 24 feet from 27.5 percent last season to 23.7 percent now (per NBA.com). The result of Cousins’ commitment to smashing the paint is a career-high 49.2 percent shooting accuracy along with an average of 22.7 points-per-game. The pivot is also hauling in 10.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals a contest, and his ceiling seems limitless.
Marcus Thornton: Hold your nose. In 18 appearances, Thornton is connecting only 35.3 percent from the floor and 28.2 percent from 3 while producing a dismal 8.1 points-per-game and 10.2 PER. Far from pleasant numbers for a 2-guard paid $8 million annually to fill buckets and appear adequate on defense (which he can’t sell too well). Thornton’s mega slump has resulted in four straight DNP’s in November and a trip to the second unit where he currently resides.
Jason Thompson: How the steady have fallen. Thompson regained his starting job at the four after starting the year behind Patrick Patterson, but the sixth-year King is playing arguably his worst NBA ball. On offense the big can’t seem to effectively share the court with Cousins, and that’s before considering the inconvenience how the Rider alum is a fifth option. Thompson isn’t hitting his open looks anymore (33.3 percent on 81 jumpshot attempts according to NBA.com), and the lack of a go-to move has allowed his shooting percentage (47.4) and points-per-game (7.3) to sink to career-lows. Throw in his maddening rim protection, and it’s hard to see the forward turn it around this season.
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