Kings have best offense in the JBL a third of the way through the season
- By Andrew Seitz, Day 57, 2023
Despite numerous injuries, the Kings are in a good position heading into the second third of the season, sitting at 20-7. Despite having zero likely all-stars, the Kings have the third best net rating and the most efficient offense in the JBL, with an ortg of 116.5. The offense is fueled by the best three point shooting percentage in the league, and the fourth best offensive rebounding. There is room for improvement as well, as the Kings are near the bottom third of the league in turnovers. The offensive efficiency is a little puzzling to Kings management, as the team is running mostly the same sets as last season but is seeing much better results. Hopefully it is the result of the natural age progression of the young Kings, with better things to come.
The early season team MVPs have been Christian Vickery and Richmond Benson. Every year pundits predict that Vickery’s age will catch up to him, but every year he continues to be a strong contributor. He currently leads the JBL going away in assist% at 43. No player has had an assist% over 40 since 2019. His .197 WS/48 is 7th in the JBL, between Q and Sowder, and his .469 3P% is 4th in the league.
After committing long-term to the Kings in the offseason, Benson currently has the 15th best PER in the league at 22.4 and is 16th in WS/48 at .184. Forced to play more minutes at center this year due to Woodley’s injury, Benson has responded very well. The Kings had played him there a good bit two seasons ago but didn’t like the results. The extra weight he has put on since then probably has made a large difference in his ability to play the position as a 6’8 player. Benson doesn’t put up glamourous numbers, but his efficiency and defensive presence is extremely valuable to the Kings.
The rookies have played very well for first year players. DeMarco “Machiavelli” Prince leads the team in +/- at 135 and is a reliable 3&D player off of the bench. Eli Custer played a lot of minutes while Olojakpoke was out injured and per36 put up 18-5-6 with a .526 eFG%. His solid play has the Kings thinking he could be the future starting point guard. The Kings’ third rookie, Devion Jensen, just returned from injury and is working his way into the lineup.
The LVP of the year has been the Kings’ trainer. Omari Woodley, Victor Olojakpoke, JaMarcus Thybulle, and Devion Jensen have all missed significant time this year already (even though Jensen was injured in college, the Kings had hoped he would be available earlier). This parade of injuries has tested the Kings’ depth, and though most of the deep bench players stepped up and played well, no team can survive that number of injuries come playoff time.
Overall, the Kings have made some good forward strides this season, and should be on their way to becoming contenders in the East. However, their 0-4 record against the Huskies/Warriors/Jailbirds so far this season shows that they are not there yet, and have a way to go.