Is it time to panic yet? Checking in on the Sydney Kings after a confusing weekend
Through 14 games, the Kings are clearly less than the sum of their parts.
Credit: Clusterpix Sports Photography
After losses to Melbourne United and the Perth Wildcats, round ten was set to be a telling one for Sydney, with an away matchup to the in-form Cairns Taipans, as well as an undermanned South East Melbourne Phoenix. A win against the Taipans appeared to be a step in the right direction, before the Phoenix buried that narrative and highlighted some real concerns.
Mahmoud Abdelfattah after the loss on Sunday:
“We just didn’t come out to compete [defensively]. It’s been the same thing. I feel like I’m just repeating myself over and over for the first 13-14 games… I’ll go back and think about it, see what I’m doing. Individually as a coach, am I putting the players in a position to succeed? Just look at everything; lineups, rotations, and what we’re doing on both ends of the floor. At the end of the day for me, we’re scoring enough points. You’ve got to play both ends. If you don’t score, you’ve got to sprint back and get stops.”
Giving up 32 points and seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter to an S.E.M. team that was down an import and two more rotation players was alarming, but it wasn’t just the beginning of the game where the team lacked competitiveness and cohesion on the defensive side.
Take this for example, one minute into the third quarter, when instead of being locked in and communicating after a half time break you give up a wide open three to an elite shooter in Ben Ayre:
And then this a minute into the fourth quarter, where Creek luckily missed the shot but the defence was embarrassingly disorganised:
Beginning quarters like this isn’t something you’d see from a dialled in defensive group that believes in and knows what they’re doing.
The Kings defence is trending in the wrong direction for a contender.