By Dave “Deuce” Mason
The Kings are off to a 2-8 start with Los Angeles Lakers coming to Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m. tip-off on 1140 The Fan).
It’s fair to say Kings fans are searching for answers as to why the team is off to a sluggish start.
One of the most glaring issues has been the Kings’ offensive struggles along with the inconsistency from Sacramento’s top three best players—DeMarcus Cousins, Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans.
The regression of Evans has been one of the most puzzling story lines over the last two seasons.
Evans, who is in contract year, averaged 20.1 points, 5.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds during his Rookie of the Year campaign in the 2009-10 season, but is posting career-low numbers through the first 10 games of the season (12.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3 APG).
What’s the biggest difference between his rookie season and his fourth year?
His outside shot hasn’t improved after spending all offseason working on it and the numbers suggest that it’s the easy shots (shots at the rim) that are keeping Tyreke from being as effective on the offensive end.
These statistics from HoopData.com break down Evans’ shot from all spots on the floor:
Rookie season: (37.2 minutes per game)
8.4 shot attempts per game at the rim (59.3 percent)
1.9 from 3-9 feet (33.3 percent)
0.5 from 10-15 feet (43.2 percent)
3.5 from 16-23 feet (32 percent)
2.0 from 3-point range (25 percent)
This season: (32.1 minutes per game)
5.0 shot attempts per game at the rim (60 percent)
1.4 from 3-9 feet (23.1 percent)
0 at 10-15 feet (0)
3.6 from 16-23 (25 percent)
1.4 from 3-point range (14.3 percent)
What the numbers suggest:
Evans is not getting to the rim like he did during his rookie season and is taking about the same amount of shots from 16-23 feet this season as he did in his rookie season, but he’s playing five fewer minutes per game.
The Kings could definitely benefit from Evans getting to the rim as they’re near the bottom of the NBA in field goal percentage (41.8 percent).
D’Antoni and Lakers coming to town-
The Kings four-game homestand wraps up on Wednesday night with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni will look to push the tempo against a Kings defense that has struggled after a solid start to the season.
Sacramento is allowing 100 points per game (tied for 24th in the NBA) and opponents are shooting 44.8 percent from the field (23rd in the NBA).
Dwight Howard struggled during his last regular season appearance in Sacramento. The former Magic center was limited to 20 minutes due to foul trouble and finished with five points and four rebounds.
Cousins will matchup with Howard for the first time this season. The third-year center was serving a two-game suspension when the Kings and Lakers played at the Staples Center on Nov. 11.
Hear Dave “Deuce” Mason on The Jason Ross Show and follow him on Twitter: @DeuceMason