Lowly Kings full of surprises

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Lowly Kings full of surprises

You cant make this stuff up. No really, you cant. Eight games into the season for the Sacramento Kings, the fans have been treated to a comedy of errors, something straight out of Hollywood. Consider:Opening night, amidst all the off-season chatter about a new arena that has plagued this city for years now, and four (FOUR) banners come tumbling down from the scoreboard during the game. The fact that the banners not only werent championship banners, but were covering up a former sponsor (Thunder Valley Casino) was poetic in a tragic fashion. Blue-chip pick Thomas Robinson picks up the NBAs first two game suspension for elbowing Jonas Jerebko of the Detroit Pistons in the throat. The THROAT.
RELATED: Kings Robinson suspended two games for elbow
You know Jonas Jerebko, the intimidating, gets-in-your-head agitator famous the world round? The second coming of Bill Laimbeer? Oh, maybe hes none of those things, but that didnt stop Robinson from dropping a Jon Bones Jones bow to his adams apple. Other than his stellar play at Kansas, Robinson was known for his incredible story coming into the draft. Suffering a litany of tragedies, and raising his young sister with the help of a community, starting his first NBA month with a suspension for a violent cheap shot was near the bottom of the Vegas odds sheet. But remember, were talking about the Sacramento Kings. Remember, you cant talk about crazy Kings happenings without DeMarcus Cousins getting involved. Cousins had spent the offseason staying in shape, and honing his skills vs the US Olympic squad. His demeanor seemed a little lighter (to match his body) coming into training camp, and he seemed to be finding his regular double-double groove after a tough start. Well, um. Yeah.Former Spur and current San Antonio TV announcer Sean Elliott took exception to Cousins talking a little trash to Tim Duncan during their matchup at Sleep Train Arena last Friday. So Elliott said what he thought was appropriate, that Cousins needed to grow up and shut his mouth.
RELATED: Kings' Cousins suspended two games for altercation with Elliott
Cousins apparently checked his cellphone before he hopped in the shower and read something like this, perhaps:Yo. Elliott is dogging you on TV. You gonna take that?Of course hes not gonna take that. So Cousins, doing what any smart mature NBA player would do, went back onto the court. He passed a group of children taking pictures with the Kings PA announcer, and confronted Elliott. What exactly was said will more than likely remain a mystery. According to those who were within earshot, Cousins informed Elliott that he was not at all happy with his comments, and the rest gets a bit blurry. Kings fans were in an uproar that Cousins got the same punishment that his teammate Robinson got for damn near killing a guy, but conventional wisdom says DMC crossed a few lines. My money is on the conversation NOT going anything like this:Excuse me, Mr. Elliott? DeMarcus Cousins, good to meet you. I know you are a former All-Star and have a championship ring, but would you pretty please mind not calling me out on TV? It hurts my feelings.Yeah. Nope. Obviously there were things said that the NBA considers a no-no. And not the Crash Davis mustve called him a blankety-blank type of no-nos either. Bad stuff. In an NBA uniform. On an NBA floor. Would it have been hard for Cousins to talk with Elliott in the tunnel? Visiting players at Sleep Train Arena MUST walk past the Kings locker room entrance to get to the team bus, and Cousins conversation wouldve been seen only by team personnel and a smattering of media members. Even better, he could have taken him into any of several private rooms nearby. Nope, lets do this in front of everyone, because thats what a mature player does. No Thomas Robinson, and the Kings lost to the Spurs on Friday. No Robinson or Cousins, and the Kings lost to the Lakers in LA on Sunday. No DeMarcus Cousins, and the Kings got blown away by the Blazers at home Tuesday evening. One could make an argument that they wouldve lost all three regardless, but you could also bet smartly they may have picked one out of the three up. For a team projected to win 20-30 games this season, any win is a big win. Unfortunately, the suspensions all came after a two-game mini-win streak earlier in the week. Coach Keith Smart is doing the best he can, but his rotations are questionable at times. Quick to take a timeout in certain situations, he also will let opposing runs get way out of hand before he draws on his bench. 2-6 on the young season, and it actually seems worse. The Kings sales and marketing staff worked tirelessly in the offseason trying to secure both ticket sales and new sponsorships in a market that is tough to impossible at the kindest. Blue-chippers like Nokia and Wal-Mart came on board, not to mention selling naming rights (once again) to their arena. Attendance Tuesday night was reported at just over 10 thousand, which is about seven thousand short of capacity. And, as the old saying goes, it looked like about half of that 10 were dressed as empty seats. The city of Sacramento and its fans were hoping for a surprising start to the season. They got it, but as an even more popular saying goes- Be careful what you wish for.This wasnt the surprise anyone wanted to see. Images supplied by US Presswire and the Associated Press
Carmichael Dave hosts two radio shows on his podcasting channel, thecdnetworks.com.You can tweet him questions or comments @carmichaeldave.

Source: Kings hire Perry as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

Source: Kings hire Perry as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

SACRAMENTO -- The changes keep coming in Sacramento. NBC Sports California has confirmed that the Kings have hired former Orlando Magic executive, Scott Perry, to fill the role of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

Perry will report directly to Vlade Divac, who will retain final say in player personnel decisions.

Perry spent the last five seasons in Orlando as Vice President of Basketball Operations and Assistant General Manager. He was let go from the Magic last week following the dismissal of General Manager Rob Hennigan.

Perry, 53, began his career as an executive with the Detroit Pistons where he held the position of Director of Player Personnel from 2000-2007. He briefly left the Pistons, joining the Seattle Supersonics organization as an Assistant General Manager of the team for the 2007-08 season, before spending another four years as Detroit’s Vice President of Basketball Operations from 2008-2012.

Highly regarded around the league, Perry adds another experienced basketball mind to the Kings front office.

During his postseason media availability last week, Vlade Divac spoke openly about his willingness to accept additional help.

“We’re open always to improve - the team, the front office, everything is open for improvement,” Divac said. “I’m very happy and confident in what we have right now, but like I said, we should be open if something can you better.”

With the addition of Luke Bornn on Wednesday to head up the team’s analytics department, and Perry on Friday, the Kings appear to be building a stronger infrastructure as they move into a full youth movement.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first with the information.

Kings add new stat guru Luke Bornn to front office

Kings add new stat guru Luke Bornn to front office

SACRAMENTO -- Changes are coming to the Sacramento Kings. The team quietly made news on Monday evening when it was reported that Roland Beech, the Kings VP of Basketball Results, will not return after two years on the job.

But Sacramento hasn’t abandoned the analytics movement. In fact, they are about to invest heavily in a new group, with a new face at the helm. -- Luke Bornn, who will join the Kings front office as the new VP of Analytics and Strategy, NBC Sports California has learned.

In accepting the role, Bornn, 31, will leave soccer giant A.S. Roma as well as his positions as an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University and visiting scholar at Harvard University. He’ll be taxed with building a new department in Sacramento that will look to bring in some of the brightest minds in the field of analytics.

He is a stat head for sure, but one with a focus on creating a system of sketching and mapping the spatial movements of players using the incredible technologies now available to teams through the NBA’s SportVU system.

“We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told NBC Sports California. “There is a lot of what happens on the court that really is not picked up by the box score. A lot of players that make big contributions make it in ways that don’t appear. It’s not an assist, it’s not a rebound, it’s not a block.”

According to their site, “SportVU utilizes a six-camera system installed in basketball arenas to track the real-time positions of players and the ball 25 times per second. Utilizing this tracking data, STATS is able to create a wealth of innovative statistics based on speed, distance, player separation and ball possession.”

Introduced to the basketball data world while working at Harvard in 2012 by Kirk Goldsberry, who now works for the San Antonio Spurs front office, Bornn is already well known in the basketball world for his work.

“Kirk and I sort of hit it off,” Bornn said. “He had just gotten SportVU data and he basically said to me, ‘I have this data, but I have no idea what to do with it, I have the basketball side, but I don’t have the technical side.’ I had the technical side and so it started a long collaboration of working with player tracking data.”

Bornn has co-authored papers presented at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in each of the previous four years, including four straight Sloan finalist papers.

Every team in the league has someone looking over this data, but Bornn hopes to tailor the information to the needs of the Kings’ staff.

“It’s not about me coming in and saying, ‘Here is how to think about the game and here’s the magic numbers,’” Bornn said. “It’s really about me going to them and saying, ‘How do you think about the game, what is it that you care about, is there questions you want answered and can I help you with that?’”  

The plan is for Bornn and his team to build a database of sorts that is accessible to players, coaches and the front office that relies heavily on video to show information, instead of just numbers on a page. They will have your conventional statistics, but an array of other options as well specifically created for the team.

“My role with the Kings will be all encompassing,” Bornn said. “It’s player evaluation, opponent scouting, it’s performance - with the sports science group there. We’ll be looking at all aspects, from the basics of stats, all the way to the more advanced metrics.”

From developing oncourt strategies to charting player health, Bornn and his team will make information accessible to the Kings’ front office, coaching and medical staff with the hope of adding yet another resource for the franchise.

Predicting player injuries is one of the hot button topics in the NBA at this moment with the league going as far as elongating the All-Star break and taking another 10 days onto the schedule to help spread out back-to-back games. It’s a complex issue that is in its fledgling stages.

“In terms of injuries, that’s where everyone wants to go and I think that’s where we’ll aim to go as well, but right now, that’s very much an unsolved problem,” Bornn said.

It appears that the Kings are jumping into the analytics field with both feet. Bornn is moving to Sacramento with his family and will be on the ground as the Kings prepare for a very important 2017 NBA Draft and then free agency.