Analyzing the numbers on the Kings' 29-53 season offers insight into the squad’s performance.
For simplicity sake, here’s a look at Sacramento’s rank in the NBA this year, last year, before George Karl, after George Karl and under Michael Malone in a few statistical areas.
Points per game - 14th/17th, With Karl 7th, Before Karl 16th, Under Malone 17th
Karl’s uptempo offense catapulted Sacramento into the top 10 in scoring in the NBA during his 30-game tenure.
DeMarcus Cousins (24.1 ppg) and Rudy Gay (21.1 ppg) both averaged career-highs in points per game, ranking fifth and 12th in the NBA, respectively and under Karl’s tutelage, the numbers increased slightly - Cousins (24.8 ppg) and Gay (23.9 ppg).
Omri Casspi's and Derrick Williams' production increased particularly late in the season.
Casspi averaged 19.9 over his last seven games of the season, up from 8.9 points per game overall on the campaign.
Williams’ production jumped as well as the 23-year old averaged 14.8 points per game in April, 10.8 under Karl and 8.3 points per night overall on the season.
One caveat to be aware of are the injuries to Cousins and Gay that kept the tandem out of the last five games of the season and changed the offensive dynamics.
Also, Ray McCallum averaged 11.2 points per game after the All-Star break in the absence of starting point guard Darren Collison. Collison, who averaged 16.1 points per game in 45 contests never returned from the core muscle injury sustained on Feb. 5 that resulted in surgery and has yet to play for Karl.
3-point FG% - 20th/T27th, With Karl 7th, Before Karl 26th, Under Malone 21st
Under Karl, and adhering to the adage of “three or in the key,” Sacramento placed more of an emphasis on shooting from downtown.
After the All-Star break Casspi led the way shooting 46 percent from 3-point range followed by rookie Nik Stauskas (42 percent), Gay (39 percent), Ben McLemore (35 percent) and Ray McCallum (34 percent) and Williams (34 percent).
Assists - 26th/30th, With Karl 13th, before Karl 30th, Under Malone 30th
Karl has stressed spacing and simplicity on offense and it paid dividends. Mid-season acquisition, Andre Miller, who toiled for Karl in Denver, led Sacramento with 4.7 assists per game after the All-Star break. No doubt Miller’s familiarity with Karl’s system paid dividends on the floor as well as grooming second-year point guard McCallum, who averaged 4.3 assists over the final 30 games of the season.
Cousins, who Karl has praised as perhaps the Kings best passer, had 4.1 dishes per game over his final 19 games of the season en route to a career-high average of 3.6 assists per night while Gay also averaged a career-high of 3.9 assists per game.
Turnovers - 27th/23rd, With Karl 27th, Before Karl 27th, Under Malone 27th
Without the benefit of training camp, speeding the Kings up under Karl’s offense has exacerbated the turnover conundrum that existed with Malone. This is clearly an area of improvement and not having Collison clearly was a detriment in this category.
Karl abhors not taking care of the ball and says “don’t make the Magic Johnson pass” and has reiterated that one of the responsibilities of being a pro is taking care of the ball.
Part of the changing culture in Sacramento will be if you turn it over, you will not get minutes. Karl eased into the role with an emotionally fragile team, but buckle up because the Kings will get the real Karl in training camp.
PACE - 8th/14th, With Karl 5th, Before Karl 9th, Under Malone 18th
Dean Oliver in the Kings front office is likely pleased, but remember balance is important as the Kings led the NBA in pace in 2012 - and had 22 wins.
eFG%* - 19th/23th, With Karl 11th, Befor Karl 22nd, Under Malone 22nd
As the Kings 3-point shooting percentage rises, so too will eFG percentage.
*Effective Field Goal Percentage. This statistic adjusts for value of a 3-point field goal relative to a 2-point field goal. ((FGM + (0.5 * 3PM)) / FGA
Points allowed - 28th/24th, With Karl 28th, Before Karl 26th, Under Malone 20th
Another conundrum for Sacramento. Too many times the Kings allowed career-highs and the opposition garnered NBA player of the week accolades at their expense.
Tobias Harris, Jabari Parker, James Harden are just a few that scorched the Kings not too mention Klay Thompson’s NBA record setting 37 points in a quarter.
3FG%A - 16th/29th, With Karl 29th, Before Karl 5th, Under Malone 5th
An egregious example here of the Kings completely losing focus and falling off the map after a strong start under Malone’s watch.
Rebounding -- 9th/9th, With Karl 21st, Before Karl 8th, Under Malone 5th
The Kings were a top five team in the NBA all season long in rebound margin finishing tied for third with Washington at + 3.0. However, the propensity late in the season for allowing double rebounds is a cause for concern.
Getting out in transition is not an excuse as Karl will hammer home in training camp that uptempo offense starts with controlling the defensive glass.